“How I Met Your Father” has yet to find its way // The Observer

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A single person unlucky in love but desperately looking for his “person” faces the New York dating scene with the help of a few goofy friends, one of whom might be a potential love interest. Does this remind you of a certain show? If you’ve been thinking about “How I Met Your Mother,” you’re not far off. “How I Met Your Father,” a Hulu reboot starring Hilary Duff as Sophie — who tells her son how she met his father — shares a nearly identical premise with its predecessor.

Sophie tells her story via video chat (duh, that’s the future), and the encounters she does involve more time on “apps” and less random bar pick-ups. Unlike Ted, she reveals that she met her child’s father at the end of the first episode. The mystery here is not when she met the father, but what a man he really is.

The series’ secondary characters also differ from the original gang members. For now, it’s pretty much just amalgamations of tropes from other shows mixed in with quirks that older millennials probably thought looked funny in the writer’s room. A person of generational wealth who cuts himself off from his parents and has to start over in the big city? Oh good? Tropes and recycled traits aside, however, the writing feels tired, especially in the first two episodes. With few exceptions, the jokes tend to fall flat, and the actors fail to sell corny attempts to appear modern or “up to the mark.”

A few of these references work, bBut most of them—talking about Invisalign, a 30-year-old man’s use of the phrase “sharp AF”—are sure to make “HIMYF” feel totally overwhelmed pretty much immediately. It seems the show has yet to decide whether it wants to poke fun at modern tropes or impress audiences with the fact that they know them in the first place.

There are times when the show gives up a chance to be totally predictable and chooses to be a little less. For example, when Josh Peck’s character Drew forgoes a chance to admit he’s just as much a “mess” as Sophie in favor of simply reassuring her that maturity isn’t all it is. meant to be.

That would be a good sign for the show, except I couldn’t help but think what the “HIMYM” writers would have done instead. Off the top of my head? They reportedly devised a Venn diagram system to measure if there was enough overlap in a couple’s different maturity levels to keep them together. This system would have been introduced by one of the characters (likely Barney) and used as a framing device for the episode, adding an interesting visual element and an extra layer of storytelling and analysis. This kind of narrative flourish was par for the course on “How I Met Your Mother,” which was full of these kinds of fun storytelling techniques.

While most shows don’t use as much unconventional storytelling, I expect a little more from storytelling that shares a theme song and name with its predecessor. The truth is this – if “HIMYF” sticks to its current storytelling format, it will have to rely on good writing and charming performances by ensemble members with real chemistry.

Admittedly, only four episodes of the series have been released so far. Hopefully, the characters will evolve from millennial sets of stereotypes into down-to-earth people, that an interesting dynamic will start to emerge between the band members, and that the writers will dwell on references to modern jargon and cultural oddities. – or, at least, understand how to use them.

If those improvements never materialize, HIMYF will remain what it is now – a surprisingly mediocre, sometimes goofy remake of a show that revolutionized sitcom storytelling.

To show: how i met your father

With : Hilary Duff, Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa

Favorite episode: The repairman

If you liked: how I Met Your Mother

Clovers: 2 out of 5

Tags: drake and josh, hilary duff, how i met your dad, how i met your mom, josh peck, millennials, reboot, sitcom, sitcoms, tinder

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