How I Met Your Father Premiere Review – “Pilot” and “FOMO”

How I Met Your Father will premiere on Hulu with two episodes, “Pilot” and “FOMO,” on January 18.

They say the third time is the charm. In the case of how I Met Your Mother spin-off How I Met Your Father – which follows the unaired 2014 pilot How i met your father, and a pair of shows not produced in 2016 and 2017 also titled How i met your father – the third time is the one that finally airs. Created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who were also set to direct the previous version, the series’ first two episodes will premiere on Hulu on January 18, with eight more arriving individually. Its weekly release schedule could pose a problem, as its characters and situations often struggle to be engaging. However, his long-term hook could very well be what brings audiences back.

In 2005, How I Met Your Mother debuted with a new twist. A long-running story with a definitive end goal in mind – as its title teases – it opened with a dreamy, picture-perfect encounter, not between protagonist Ted (Josh Radnor) and the titular mother, but between Ted and a woman he refers to, via the narration of his future self (Bob Saget) to his future children, as their “Aunt Robin” (Cobie Smulders). How I Met Your Father immediately comes across as a reflection of HIMYM, with its multi-camera laugh track format and female-led cover of the original opening theme. In 2050, a middle-aged, wine-drunk Sophie (Kim Cattrall) tells her son how she met his father, starting with a Tinder date in 2022 – where she played, with a spring in her step , by Hilary Duff – which soon turns into a comedy of errors, crossed wires, almost romances and brand new friendships in the bustling Big Apple. However, when the pilot finally plays his hand, he reveals a narrative conceit that not only mirrors that of the original, but departs from it in an intriguing way.

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It’s an incredibly effective linchpin, and in the story of the pilot episode, circumstances could both prevent or facilitate virtually any romantic pairing – permanent or otherwise – over the course of the series. Three of his four main men also have a lot to do. There’s chipper marine biologist Ian (Daniel Augustin), Sophie’s date who she gets along with, but who lives in Australia. Then there is aristocratic English himbo Charlie (Tom Ainsley), a newcomer to New York and the newest pal of Sophie’s fashionista roommate Valentina (Francia Raisa). And rounding out the trilogy of interesting guys is puppy-eyed Sid (Suraj Sharma), a newly engaged American Indian bar owner in a rocky long-distance relationship, whom Sophie meets by chance. Although, the fourth male lead reads as both the most likely romantic candidate on paper and also happens to be the least interesting of them all: Sid Jesse’s (Chris Lowell) roommate, an Uber driver and musician who recently achieved micro-stardom on the internet for an unfortunate reason.

Jesse is a wry guy, and therefore a perfect foil for Sophie, a starry-eyed romantic. Regardless of where Sophie ends up, her dynamic with Jesse seems to be a central part of the show, given what they might learn from each other as the story goes on. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a red flag. Lowell himself is by no means a problem – his deep voice and flippant charm make him, at the very least, harmless to watch – but in the first two episodes, there’s little Jesse as a person in the world. beyond how it fits into Sophie’s romantic image.

Likewise, Duff brings a wide-eyed glow to Sophie, and Raisa approaches Valentina with an excitable energy, but little in the writing complements them as fully formed people with recognizable personalities beyond the punchlines written for them. To make matters worse, Ian’s status as a potential long-distance boyfriend means he’s pretty much absent from the show, leaving only Charlie and Sid as anything but fun focal points. (Jesse’s sister Ellen, played by Tien Tran, has just moved to the city from Iowa, but she barely registers as an on-screen presence, only coming into scenes to crack a few jokes. ephemeral before exiting quickly).

Charlie and Sid may not be enough to keep the show afloat, but in the second episode – titled ‘FOMO’, in which the newly minted group of friends embark on a nightclub date – the cast Ainsley and Sharma share a surprisingly sweet dynamic. It’s all the more seductive as Charlie feels like a nonsensical work of fiction – a man so dumb and sheltered he couldn’t exist in reality – while Sid, who smiles beyond his difficult romantic situation , brings a concentrated dose of emotional realism to the table. Their odd mix is ​​a treat to watch, but the show has too many other lifeless interpersonal dynamics for its character-based humor to really land. Compared to HIMYM, its cast is perhaps a more realistic reflection of New York City on the surface (i.e. not all main characters are straight, white, and American-born), but it lacks the goofy personality a show about New York should have, like its predecessor did.

It’s hard not to consider it an inferior version of the original.

While it has little to do with HIMYM beyond its narrative structure – and a nostalgic Easter egg that positions it as some kind of loose sequel – it’s hard not to see it as an inferior version of the original. , at least so far. In 2005, all it took was a handful of lines and interactions to learn everything there was to know about Ted, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel), while in How I Met Your Father, it takes a while for even the small number of stars to emerge. Although a more pressing concern is whether he can develop something worth watching beyond his long-term romantic question, for although he is integrated into the visual and narrative image of HIMYM , he’s still not comfortable breaking the rules the original started throwing right out of the gate. That’s especially disappointing, since its two-part premiere was directed by Pamela Fryman, who directed all but 12 of HIMYM’s 208 episodes.

What quickly emerged from HIMYM, beyond its narrative framing, was how much it felt like a breath of fresh air for a form of television that was slowly being left behind. At the time, the multi-camera, canned-laugh sitcom was about to come out — single-camera shows like The Office and Arrested Development had just started, with 30 Rock soon to follow — and HIMYM was the latest series to do. anything new with the format, between its immediate use of perspective shots and other tools that broke the expected visual language, and its clever narrative reworking that jumped and jumped in time. How I Met Your Father has little of that so far, so it can’t help but play like a mechanical recreation of a bygone era, without the charm or self-awareness to feel like a pastiche. Until it finds its footing, it may struggle to be more than an encore of a much better series.

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