How I Met Your Father premieres January 18 on Hulu.
By Elazar Abrahams
I don’t know what I expected How I Met Your Father to be, but I definitely did not expect it to be a well below-average multi-camera sitcom with a canned laugh track. Yes, that’s the format its legendary predecessor How I Met Your Mother had, but what worked when that show first premiered in 2005 does not work now. It gives me no pleasure to report this, but the most important difference between the two shows is that HIMYM was clever. The writing and gags were genius, and the unique structure elevated it above what would have otherwise blended into the countless other CBS sitcoms that have come and gone. HIMYF (as we’ll call it for length purposes) on the other hand, has some of the most basic scripts you’ve ever seen, and is almost laughably lame. Overall, the long-awaited spinoff is a huge letdown.
Now, I’ve only seen the first four episodes, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. Still, its difficult to not compare this show to what came before it; the dip in quality from the original series is beyond belief. In the opening episodes, expect lots of jokes about online dating (isn’t Tinder crazy?), NYC subways, and true love. You’ve heard them all before.
The cast is alright. Hillary Duff is a very capable lead, and Chris Lowell is charming as her clear endgame. Unfortunately, the whole gang are two-dimensional archetypes. Sophie is just looking for her soulmate, what a hopeless romantic! Her roommate Valentina is sexually liberated but is always having an issue with the guy she’s seeing! Jesse is a down on his luck nice guy who can’t seem to ever find someone that loves him back! With more time, perhaps this crew could develop into more interesting characters, but for now they are stale, and without much to them.
The homages to HIMYM are cute. For example, the guys’ apartment is the same one that Ted, Marshall and Lily lived in. Part of me hopes we get a cameo from some of the old cast, but part of me knows that appearing in this travesty will only cheapen their legacy.
You’ll still get a couple chuckles from the show though. If the title was anything other than what it is, I could see critics going easier on it. The episodes screened for press stand on their own as a story of young people dating and dealing with life in the big city. However, when you explicitly tie yourself to one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, you’ve put a target on your back. How I Met Your Father needs a slap to the face.
I give How I Met Your Father a D-.