About five minutes into the first episode of How I Met Your Father, I had my first light chuckle. That was perhaps the extent of my amusement in the two episodes I watched. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the original (How I Met Your Mother). I was excited about the concept initially but felt the show went on for too long and the end wasn’t exactly fitting. If How I Met Your Father is attempting to fix that, it has made a lousy start. The show is unimaginative, dated, unfunny, and frankly, offensive to the senses at times.
And since I watched the two episodes, I consider it my duty to list out the reasons why you should never watch it. In fact, I would say, you shouldn’t be in the room where a TV set/laptop/tablet/mobile is streaming it.
The best thing about How I Met Your Mother was the unique concept. It followed Ted Mosby as he recounted to his two kids how he met their mother. The worst thing was the sheer number of years it dragged on for. By the end, the show could very well have been called How I Dated Half The Women in New York Before Stumbling Into Your Mother.
We have seen how this story goes. We loved it, we hated it. We are done with it. Why would we want it again? Watching How I Met Your Father seems like meeting an ex, who after a makeover, is desperately asking for a second chance. If you want that toxicity back in your life, be my guest. But you and I both know how this ends (with Ted going back to Robin after 200 pointless episodes).
The series is very clearly a gender-inverted spinoff with Ted Mosby replaced by Sophie (Hilary Duff). I am all for representation. We definitely need more shows with women leads and ethnic minorities in prominent roles. So in a way, it was heartening to see a black guy as the lead’s romantic interest and an Indian man and an Asian woman in the main cast. But it all does seem forced. Have we not already had women-led sitcoms in Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City? In fact, we had one forty years ago in Golden Girls and seventy years ago in I Love Lucy. Merely recycling an old successful concept and inverting the gender isn’t representation. It’s a gimmick. Just ask the people who watched the 2016 edition of Ghostbusters.
The series looks like it’s made by someone who has only read about millennials or British people. Because everyone here is a caricature of themselves: the New Yorker who jokes about Tinder dates and Uber rides, the British guy who uses phrases like ‘hoity toity’, and the millennial who uses too many abbreviations. IKR?
And let’s face it, laughter tracks are so last decade. There was a time when laughter tracks were necessary or even tolerable in some cases. But that time is gone. You either film the show in front of a live audience (Friends) or do away with laughter altogether (The Office). But please do not tell me when I need to laugh. Let your characters and writing do that, please.
One of the most pronounced differences from the original is that while the narrator of the original–Bob Saget–was only heard and never seen, here we have the narrator Kim Catrall (as the older Sophie) in full view. Having the kids in focus as they listened to their father’s stories in HIMYM allowed the audience to connect with them and their reactions and be a part of the story. It also allowed us to imagine what an older Ted would look like. There was no dissonance with two actors playing the protagonist. It worked. In HIMYF, having Sophie’s son as the disembodied voice and her played by another actor does disservice to the concept.
If this show achieved anything, it made me miss Bob Saget a lot. Apart from Neil Patrick Harris as Barney, if there was one thing that made How I Met Your Mother the show it promised to be, it was Bob Saget’s brilliant narration as the older Ted. Kim Catrall may be an accomplished actor but she falls flat there. RIP, Bob. We miss you down here.
How I Met Your Father, starring Hilary Duff, Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa and Suraj Sharma, premiered on Hulu in the US and streams on Disney+ Hotstar. The first two episodes were released on January 19 and subsequent episodes will release weekly.
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