How I Met Your Father will always suffer the burden of being compared to How I Met Your Mother, and as a result be judged as inferior. And with good reason – the writing’s not as sharp, and the characters aren’t as developed as they need to be. It’s not going to be scoring points for uniqueness, nor is it good enough to make one of those best TV show lists.
What How I Met Your Father has going for it is the fact that it’s easy, breezy, no-fuss television. It’s the kind of show I can put on while I’m doing chores, or any kind of work, because it doesn’t require my full attention. It won’t bring the heavy laughs, but there’s a kind of charm present, and the cast does have an easy chemistry that allows viewers to believe in these friendships. What also helps is the guest appearances, from former How I Met Your Mother cast, as well as other familiar faces dropping in.
This season, there’s less focus on money problems, as the series takes a turn to focus more on the romantic relationships. Valentina (Francia Raisa) and Charlie (Tom Ainsley) begin to date other people, while trying to find a way to remain friends with each other. Seeing as how they are in the same friend group, they realise they need to be comfortable with each other one on one, but also find it difficult given the chemistry and feelings between them.
Sophie (Hilary Duff) and Jesse (Christopher Lowell) are afraid to revisit their previous attempt at being together, diving into other relationships and refusing to be truthful to the other. Sid (Suraj Sharma) is dealing with the frustrations of a long distance relationship, and the reality of having a whole separate life away from your spouse. Ellen (Tien Tran) is happy with her career and her personal life, but soon has to confront the issues that arise when you live in such close proximity to your girlfriend. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where these narratives end up, but like I said, you aren’t watching this series because of its intricate narrative.
Duff is as charming to watch as ever, with the experience to anchor both the comedic and emotional beats in the storylines. Even though Sophie and Jesse aren’t together, Duff and Lowell still have credible romantic chemistry in the scenes they do have together. There’s enough there to keep viewers invested and rooting for them. They are also the characters that get the most development in the show, while the others all feel like side characters that are conveniently roped in when the plot requires it. Sid, Jesse’s best friend and the owner of Pemberton’s, the bar that the six friends spend all their time in, is the only one who feels a little more real than the rest. I think that’s mainly because of Sharma, who manages to bring some depth to his character in spite of the shallow scripting.
There’s also some interesting storylines, like Sophie’s search for her father, and when the gang decide to do a phone cleanse day. As we follow each character while they go about their day without their phones, we begin to realise how much of our lives now depend on technology and the internet. We use our phones to search up locations, pay our bills and connect with other people. It’s fun to see the kind of shenanigans these characters get up to, and the groovy guest appearances we’ll get along the way. My favourite returning guest star is always Josh Peck as Drew. There’s a geeky charm to him, reminiscent of Ross from Friends, and he never fails to make me snigger a little with all his awkward ways.
As much as I love Kim Cattrall, she doesn’t really contribute anything particularly humourous or meaningful to the proceedings. Her scenes with her off-screen son might as well be a blank wall considering how uninteresting they are. She also doesn’t feel like she’s Sophie. In a show like Yellowjackets, there’s enough there to convince us that the younger and adult counterparts are one in the same, but it’s not the case here. I wish there was more effort to help us believe that she and Duff are the younger and older versions of Sophie, though I’m not sure if it will add much to the spaces of the show.
As of now, it’s still up in the air if the show will get a season 3. The series does culminate in a teaser of sorts, to get viewers invested in a third season, but strangely, I’m not particularly interested in knowing who the father is. Maybe because the show isn’t too interested as well. How I Met Your Mother would constantly tease certain moments and relate it to the mother, but this show doesn’t really do that. It was more a thing in season 1, and isn’t such a preoccupation in the storytelling this season.
Will it get a third season? I guess that depends on how many stream season 2, and how many are won over by the charms of nostalgia.
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I won't belabour the point about it failing to live up to its predecessor, but it does have its own charms if you're in search for some fuss-free TV.
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