How I Met Your Father: A Disappointing Spin-Off That Misses the Mark

How I Met Your Father: A Disappointing Spin-Off That Misses the Mark

A Spin-Off Eight Years in the Making

Eight years after the hit show How I Met Your Mother, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor, we finally have the spin-off, How I Met Your Father. This time, the story revolves around a woman named Sophie and a group of friends navigating love in the world of dating apps and limitless options. Now, full disclosure, I have never watched a complete episode of How I Met Your Mother. I saw the first 15 minutes of the pilot episode and never went back. As a result, I’ll likely miss all the easter eggs in the pilot episode, but I came in with an open mindset. On the surface, the premise is actually quite promising. In 2022, most adults have at least tried a dating app, and it’s a fun topic to explore, especially when it comes to romance and how it has evolved over the past decade. How I Met Your Father could have been a hilarious and thought-provoking take on the modern dating scene; however, the pilot was a sheer disappointment.

Too Many Characters, Too Little Development

I understand the challenges of creating a successful pilot episode. The first show needs to introduce us to the world and characters while enticing audiences with its central premise. One of the significant issues with How I Met Your Father is that it introduces too many characters, and their interactions never truly feel organic. It’s just a magical coincidence that Sophie happens to become instant friends with her Uber driver and his best friend. Relationships aren’t as black and white as How I Met Your Father portrays them.

Jesse pretty much trashed Sophie’s extreme optimism regarding her first date. While he was right about Sophie making the mistake of assuming that Ian was the one, their sudden friendship came too fast. In fact, I liked Jesse’s jaded vision of love after his failed proposal, which was showcased in an extremely clunky manner. It’s clear that a will they/won’t they type plot is in store between Sophie and Jesse, but their worldviews should have been explored more before they settled on being friends.

Rushing Through Emotional Beats

The Sid arc was too fast. His proposal to his girlfriend was sweet, but I didn’t particularly care about that moment because I don’t know them as people or a couple. The show tried to nail an emotional beat without establishing why we should be rooting for Sid and Hannah to get married way too soon. The same goes for Valentina and Charlie. Valentina moves in with a guy she barely knows, and we never expect them to last, but we’re cheering for them to work? How I Met Your Father tries to tug at your heartstrings without focusing on the most crucial aspect necessary to get to these big moments: character development.

In terms of Sophie, I like that she’s the hopeless romantic with rose-colored glasses on, but I didn’t care about her and Ian’s relationship. We barely know them. Their relationship needed some time to develop for that send-off to really work. I’m sorry, but a quick montage isn’t going to get me invested in characters I just met within five minutes. In fact, I was more into the date with Sophie and the guy who admitted he had sex with a girl minutes before their date. It’s a missed opportunity because that sequence was ripe with potential. Following Sophie’s failed adventures in Tinder dating could have been a fun avenue.

Where’s the Comedy?

While more subtlety would have been nice – because seriously, who tells their date that they just had sex with someone else – showcasing failed dates like that could have been a fun introduction episode. However, this is a comedy, not some thought-provoking piece, and How I Met Your Father just isn’t funny. I got a chuckle or two out of the pilot, but the jokes are either too on-the-nose or stretched thin.

Charlie’s disgust for New York City is a fun idea. The problem is, the show doesn’t believe in the “show, don’t tell” mantra because we only hear about his experience on the subway. Again, this was another missed opportunity that could have been a fun little arc that helped us understand his character more and provided some genuine hilarity. This also goes for Jesse’s failed proposal. It helps us understand why he was so blunt (but truthful) with Sophie back in the car, but in addition to the clunky introduction, it also wasn’t funny.

Final Thoughts: A Disappointing Start

How I Met Your Father wasn’t the worst pilot I’ve ever seen, but it fails to be funny or insightful. Who knows, Seinfeld wasn’t exactly great in its pilot episode, and that turned out to be a classic. There’s potential for a great romantic comedy here, but the pilot was a major disappointment. How I Met Your Father needs to step up its game if it wants to capture the hearts of viewers and live up to its predecessor.

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