LAne’s enjoyment of How I Met Your Father, La secuela independiente de 10 episodios de Hulu de la popular comedia Cómo conocí a vuestra madre, dependerá principalmente de la nostalgia por el original. I don’t have much of it for How I Met Your Mother (often styled HIMYM), a successor to Friends about a group of white twentysomethings, then thirtysomethings, living and dating in Manhattan which ran on CBS from 2005 Hasta que 2014. Everyone has their taste in TV comfort food (I just inhaled Emily in Paris) but HIMYM and its hopeless romanticism was too corny for me, too sweet. Its central conceit of a middle-aged Ted Mosby (the late Bob Saget) telling his children the story of meeting their mother in the most convoluted way possible may have started out fresh but felt overdone, even for a multi-camera network sitcom with a laugh track, by the early 2010s.
This sequel, starring Hilary Duff as the central hopeless romantic, freshens up the cast’s diversity and the timeline – Duff’s Sophie is bumbling through 2022 – but barely warms over anything else, laugh track included. The pitched, jovial performances and homey sets recall the original (there are other, more overt connections, which Hulu has requested not to spoil), y entonces, Desafortunadamente, do the anodyne punchlines, maybe two of which land an episode. The four 25-minute episodes made available for review sprinkle in the likes of Tinder, Uber and the ghosts of viral videos past, but it’s a mechanical, stale simulacrum of friend hangs and dating in 2022, a relic of a bygone era that enters the sitcom uncanny valley. There’s not much reason to continue through unless the beats recalled some past time of curling up with the TV.
The pilot of HIMYF, written by creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger and directed by Pamela Fryman (who directed all but 12 episodes of the original), abre, like HIMYM, en el futuro. En 2050, the older Sophie, played with vigor by Kim Cattrall, regales her son (a disembodied voice on the phone) with the story of how she met his father in 2020s New York (with help from uncooperative digital assistant and wine). De nuevo en 2022, Sophie is a 29-year-old photographer living in Queens with her fashionable, libidinous roommate Valentina (Francia Raisa) and Valentina’s brand-new hunk boyfriend Charlie (Tom Ainsley), a posh and cartoonishly naive Englishman she convinced to hop the pond on a whim. (Sophie turns 30 in the fourth episode with a party she hastily classes up to impress a suitor played by Josh Peck, a familiar face to the Buzzfeed Where Are They Now?-era millennials this show appears to target.)
Sophie is singularly focused on finding her future husband and singularly unlucky at doing so, having struck out on 87 straight Tinder dates. While Ubering to a first date with promising suitor Ian (Daniel Augustin), Sophie – exasperated and starry-eyed, convinced she’s found the right guy after two weeks of Tinder messaging – hits it off with handsome driver Jesse (Chris Lowell), the Robin to Sophie’s Ted. And as with the original, HIMYF contains both a marriage proposal – Jesse’s best friend Sid (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma), a bar owner, to his long-distance girlfriend Hannah (Ashley Reyes) – and a grand romantic gesture. The episode ends with the mishmash friend group walking the Brooklyn Bridge, something Sophie swore she’d only do once she met “the one” but has revised based on whimsy.
For those unfamiliar to the rhythms of HIMYM – and, otra vez, I don’t know why you’d become invested in this otherwise – thus begins a soft-boiled knot of entanglements. Jesse and Sophie become will-they-won’t-they friends; Valentina and Charlie fight and make up (the two enjoy sex in enclosed spaces, a running gag); Valentina and Sid flirt; Charlie befriends Jesse’s adopted sister Ellen (Tien Tran), a recent arrival from Iowa, divorced, and the only queer member of the core group (at least so far). All work to upgrade Jesse’s dating life in the aftermath of a rejected marriage proposal that goes viral.
I’m inclined to root for Hilary Duff as an OG Lizzie McGuire fan, but as endearing as she can be, there’s only so much an actor can do with a character whose personality basically boils down to finding the one; the show mostly served to remind me how disappointing it is that Disney kneecapped to the point of cancellation a planned reboot of Lizzie as a thirty-cusp woman dating in New York. Todavía, what charm this sequel does have it largely owes to Duff – doe eyes, open face, innocent – grounding the shallow Sophie as much as she can, and Lowell, as the warm-eyed, protective Jesse; their sparks provide the show’s little heat.
That might be enough to warm viewers to a couple of episodes, but unlikely to convince those neutral to HIMYM’s flavor to buy in. When the appreciation depends on memories and old routines, past phases, why bother? There’s a lot of light and snacky fare out there, but HIMYF feels more akin to a reheated, juiced-up leftover.