Following the massive success of a well-known sitcom isn’t always easy, and while many have failed to recapture the magic, some of them had success like “Young Sheldon” and “Frasier”. Disney’s latest attempt to get a hit comedy series is “How I Met Your Father”, which is a sequel series to the 20th Television comedy series, “How I Met Your Mother”.
The series is set in the near future, where an older version of Sophie (played by Kim Cattrall) tells her son how she met his father. The story then catapults us back to the year 2021, where Sophie (played by Hilary Duff) and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.
“How I Met Your Father” is a strange series, the first episode was really rough, for many reasons, but as I worked my way through a few more episodes, I soon found myself pulled in on this sitcom. It’s like almost every other sitcom out there. It takes a while to find its feet. They’ve got to see how the actors bounce off one another, iron out the kinks etc.
I’ve watched many episodes of the original series, but it never caught my attention in the same way as “Seinfeld”, “Friends”, or “The Big Bang Theory”, which I’ve watched countless times. So I don’t have the established connection to compare this series to the original. And in all honesty, I don’t think it makes much of a difference. There are a few little nods here and there to the original series, but if you didn’t know about it, it doesn’t matter, which I think is a strength of this series.
Now the term “close-knit” group might be pushing it a little, as in the first episode, almost none of the characters know each other, but quickly start bouncing off one another and are acting like they’ve all known each other for years. While in later episodes, this feels more natural, but it’s extremely forced in the first episode and almost feels like the show is rushing to establish the reset point that practically every sitcom has, where you can jump in at any given episode and know the basics.
There is, however, one character, which is so annoying. Charlie. If you could take the most generic British spoilt rich brat stereotype possible, where he literally has a golden spoon and not a clue how to do anything. But more annoying, a British accent that is so condescending and fake, it could be standing outside a tourist spot in London in a Union Flag outfit. It’s such a shame they went in so heavily on his stereotypical British accent, when the actors real British accent is fine. I actually found the accent distracting. It’s that bad.
Other small issues include trying to make this series feel more modern than the original, with little jokes about online dating, unboxing videos and social media profile pictures, which all just fell flat. One of the problems with trying to do a modern sitcom, is trying to incorporate relevant jokes about the internet. By the time the series is made and released, the internet’s already moved on.
But, there are many fun things about this episode. Hilary Duff seems a natural fit for the main character of this show, she grabs all the scenes she is in, and this might be the closest thing we get to the ill-fated Lizzie McQuire series that was promised to us. I also found Christopher Lowell to be a great addition to the cast, as he fills in that nice good guy role that people will connect with. A big stand out for me was Francia Raisa, who I’ve been watching most recently in the “Black-ish” sequel series, “Grown-ish”. She’s fantastic in this series, and I can’t wait to see more of her in future episodes.
One of the biggest problems this series has, is trying to fill in the shoes of a well-known series. Everyone’s going to be looking to see who’s the Barney of this series, which sadly nobody will ever be able to replicate, because he obviously was, wait for it, legendary, in “How I Met Your Mother”. Had this series been called something completely different and they dropped the whole “How I Met” segment of the show at the start of each episode, you’d have a solid, enjoyable sitcom, that might take a while for audiences to warm up to. Still, I think the core basics are there. They just need to tweak some of the characters a little, especially as a couple of them are pretty dull.
Overall: “How I Met Your Father” is an enjoyable comedy series, and I’m going to be coming back for future episodes each week, to see if it improves, since I like the overall premise of the show, and I’m a massive lover of sitcoms. But it’s hard to know if this is going hit with the audience, or if the baggage of being connected to an established comedy series is just going to lead to unfair comparisons. It’s not “How I Met Your Mother”. It’s just taken the basic idea and tried to reboot it with a few “modern” gags. At its core, it still feels like a sitcom from 10+ years ago, with a few internet jokes thrown in. Maybe Disney should have given this franchise another ten years before trying to bring it back, since the original series is still so fondly remembered.
Rating – 3 out of 5.
“How I Met Your Father” is coming to Hulu on Tuesday 18th January 2022. The series will also be released on Disney+ internationally at a later date.