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how-i-met-your-father-neil.jpg

'How I Met Your Father' Gives Us a Glimpse of Barney Stinson's Present

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 29, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 29, 2023 |


how-i-met-your-father-neil.jpg

The two-part midseason finale of How I Met Your Father streamed on Hulu this week, and for those who are not following along, it’s an OK sitcom. It’s a pale imitation of How I Met Your Mother, largely because several of the characters still don’t feel real 20 episodes into its run. The lead, Hilary Duff, and the Ted Mosby (Christopher Lowell) are good. Still, the rest of the characters feel like stock sitcom tropes: The lesbian, the British one, the promiscuous best friend, and Sid (Suraj Sharma), the married bar owner who sometimes feels real. It is not nearly as good as some of the comedies on networks right now (Abbott, Grand Crew, and American Auto), but — like Night Court — it’s big, broad passable comedy.

Also, characters from How I Met Your Mother occasionally show up. Duff’s Sophie, for instance, had an encounter with Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) in the old bar from Mother last season. In this mid-season finale, there’s an appearance from Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). These guest appearances are fun to see, but they also invite comparisons to the old show, which is to Father’s detriment. Harris stepped right back into that character, and even with the broad jokes, he felt more real than any other of the characters on Father do.

For those wondering what he’s up to, Sophie rear-ended him out in the suburbs, where she was visiting her boyfriend, Robert, played by John Corbett, which was strangely not weird despite the age difference until Sophie found out that Robert was briefly involved with her mother, Lori (Paget Brewster!), the year that Sophie was born. Sophie had a freak-out because she became concerned that Robert was her dad, and in her haste to drive away, she ran into Barney.

Hilariously, Barney — who appears to be living in the suburbs — is wearing a device that shocks him if he uses a problematic word or phrase because he’s trying to clean up his act (it’s a bizarrely funny way to deal with Barney’s cancellable lexicon). Barney ultimately agrees not to make Sophie pay for the damage to his car if she tells him her story of “daddy/daughter lust.” Sophie sort of confides that she doesn’t know her father; Barney tells her a sweet story about meeting his estranged father (played by John Lithgow, for those who have forgotten), and concedes that while uniting with his father did not fix his issues, his daughter Ellie “was the best thing that ever happened to him.” He finally flashes Sophie some sweet pics from his phone (recall that Barney’s daughter was the product of a one-night stand with Number 31 — the woman he slept with on the 31st day of August during a challenge in which he slept with one woman each night of the month).

“The moment I saw her, I knew I had to change,” Barney tells Sophie, before encouraging her to track down her own father. “It probably won’t solve all your problems, but if you get lucky like I did, it’ll be great.”

And that’s how Barney Stinson set up a major Sophie arc in the back half of season 2, which is too bad. Searching for long-lost parents is one of my least favorite TV subplots. Also, Sophie and Robert broke up because it was too weird. After all, he had messed around with Sophie’s mom (again, played by Paget Brewster, because it’s always fun to see her in a comedic context). Elsewhere, Sid is struggling with his long-distance marriage and may be falling for Taylor, played by Caitlin Thompson, who many may remember as the mother of Kevin’s children in This Is Us.



Header Image Source: Hulu