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‘Kids — Here We Go Again:’ A Look at Hulu’s ‘How I Met Your Father’ From Both the Refreshed and Nostalgic Perspectives

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“How I Met Your Father” — a reboot of the CBS hit show “How I Met Your Mother” — aired on Hulu’s streaming platform on Jan. 18. Brimming with sentimentality for its original inspiration, “How I Met Your Father” (“HIMYF”) attempts to appeal to new and second-round watchers by balancing the line between reinvention and familiarity. 

Many critics speculated that the new series’ success relies entirely on its appeal to previous audiences. 

“Hulu’s 10-episode standalone sequel … will mostly depend on nostalgia for the original,” The Guardian’s Adrian Horton said.

“How I Met Your Mother” (“HIMYM”) held a multitude of lovable qualities, including a strongly organized and well-paced plotline, wonderful on screen chemistry, and a level of humor that was often outrageous, yet still quite legen — wait for it — dary.

Originally airing on CBS in the fall of 2005, “HIMYM” ran for a total of nine seasons before eventually coming to a conclusion with its controversially loved and hated finale on March 31, 2014. The show became a notable sitcom within the genre with immense attention to detail, truly unexpected emotional depth and hilarious running jokes, such as the notorious Slap Bet, Ducky Tie and the secret career of Canadian pop-sensation Robin Sparkles — cue “Let’s Go to the Mall.” Fans appreciated the series when it aired and now, through streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix, a whole new generation of audiences have binge-watched the show and fallen in love. 

Photo provided by “How I Met Your Mother” @OfficalHIMYM/Twitter

In congruence with the original, “How I Met Your Father” follows the same general narrative structure. We begin the reinvention just as we did in “HIMYM” years in the future. Our new narrator, Sophie (Kim Cattrall), decides that it’s time she sat her son down over video call and tell him how young, almost-30, definitely flirty and meekly thriving Sophie (Hilary Duff) met his father. 

While many moments within the first two episodes, “Pilot” and “FOMO,” seemed forced and somewhat cringe-worthy, there were aspects that worked. Ignoring the sprinkles of Gen Z lingo like “bet,” “on brand” and “love that for you,” you’re left with an appropriately updated look at personal, professional and dating life within New York City in 2022. This look is especially a delight due to Cattrall’s retrospective narration as wise Sophie — who doesn’t want Samantha Jones narrating the ups-and-downs of dating in New York City?

Photo provided by “How I Met Your Father” @HIMYFonHulu/Twitter

The transition to current technology and dating platforms seemed like an anticipated progression for the reboot to make, moving out of taxis and landlines and into uber rides and right swipes. Surprisingly, the incorporation of the iPhone as an every-minute accessory was done smoothly and organically in a way that acknowledged the realities of life — endless information at our fingertips — without it completely consuming the plot. 

Having Sophie go on a plethora of terrible Tinder dates — 87 to be exact — in search of “a date so good you don’t even check your phone” created an oddly comforting parallel to the real-life tragedies of modern single life, especially for viewers who’ve attempted to find a significant other through online dating profiles themselves.   

Following the same general premise of Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) story cementing a core friend group together with varying relationship statuses and introducing multiple potential paths for Sophie’s love life to follow all fall in line with what was successful about the original series. 

“Not surprisingly — inevitably, even purposely — there is nothing particularly new here,” the Los Angeles Times’ Robert Lloyd said

 The reboot’s similarity to the original is likely to make many fans fall in love with it. Longtime “HIMYM” fans will enjoy how unchanged the cinematography and directing of the series is from the original. Even the theme song was toned down to match today’s softer, more ethereal aesthetic; it is essentially the same but is now sung by Canadian singer and actress Lennon Stella. Moreover, noticing that group members Sid (Suraj Sharma) and Jesse (Chris Lowell) live in Ted (Josh Radnor), Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily’s (Alyson Hannigan) old apartment, which still has the memorable swords hanging above the never-used fireplace, will bring a smile to familiar viewers. 

Photo provided by “How I Met Your Mother” @OfficalHIMYM/Twitter

One new aspect of the series that is particularly important is its diverse cast. “How I Met Your Father” offers a more diverse representation in its first two episodes than arguably seen throughout the entirety of “HIMYM,” having BIPOC actors anchoring the show and specifically having LGBTQIA+ characters as leads is a positive and necessary transformation for the new series. 

Photo provided by “How I Met Your Father” @HIMYFonHulu/Twitter

In addition, by focusing the story on Sophie’s life, audiences are guided through the narrative from an intelligent, confident, #girlboss feminine perspective, which brings a revitalized life to the show as a whole. It seems that “HIMYF” attempted to incorporate the best aspects of “HIMYM” and excluded the rest, updating errors while adding inclusivity that the original series unfortunately lacked. 

Compared to HIMYM’s metrics, “How I Met Your Father” appears to be less than favorable in the eyes of audiences. While only two episodes have aired thus far, “HIMYF” scored 32% on Rotten Tomato’s Average Tomatometer and an Average Audience Score of 69%. Compare that to Season 1 of “How I Met Your Mother,” which scored a 65% on the Average Tomatometer and an Average Audience Score of 90%, the 2022 series seems off to a less than ideal start. Like any new show, it may need time to implement character development, liven up the narrative and increase chemistry amongst actors. 

Overall, Hulu’s “How I Met Your Father” acts as a somewhat elevated and progressive take on the beloved sitcom it takes inspiration from, offering a perspective that’s fresh and adaptive to the current dating atmosphere and reality of 2022 life. At the same time, it pays homage to the endeared aspects of “How I Met Your Mother” while appealing to the series’ original audience. While nowhere near perfect, the reboot is an enjoyable watch for those who know “HIMYM” well, and potentially even for those just discovering it. 

Photo provided by “How I Met Your Father” @HIMYFonHulu/Twitter

Clairesse Schweig is an Entertainment Intern for the winter 2022 quarter. They can be reached at cschweig@uci.edu