Hulu attempts a lighthearted comedy spinoff with “How I Met Your Father” and falls into an oblivion of laugh tracks and bad jokes. Hillary Duff leads the cast in the series as a single woman in New York named Sophie who is searching for love on her Tinder app, hardly an innovative spin on a stereotypical plot. Ultimately the show fails to bring anything new to our streaming screens and falls short in replicating the success of its predecessor “How I Met Your Mother”(2005). We’ve seen the single girl living in the apartment with her bestie and we have seen it done better, take “New Girl” for instance or even HBO’s “Girls”. The show is already following the format of HIMYM and it needs that fandom in order to stay relevant in our suggested watch list.
The show begins with Kim Catrall as Sophie years in the future, calling her son to tell him the story of how her and his father came to be or rather how he came to be. Catrall settles in with her son on speaker to gleefully and out of nowhere divulge her tales of 2022. The son seems disinterested yet stays on the line anyhow, as if he has nothing better to do then to listen to his mother banter on. This scene begs us to question why Catrall chose a goofy unimaginative Manhattan over the ‘Sex in the City’ reboot.
Duff bounces onto the screen in which she appears more like a matured Lizzie Maguire rather than a younger Cattrall. Rooted in sitcoms, Duff delivers her bad lines well but not even the pre-recorded audience guffaws could incite genuine laughter from its viewers. Lines centered around how her date over shared his post sexcapades are an insult to its viewers. One thing that is for sure is we are as disinterested in her painfully daft date as much as Duff was.
What kind of sitcom would this be without the trope missed connections. Oh yes, Duff indeed finds the seemingly perfect man, great job, endearing lame jokes fit for a future dad but our leading lady cannot have it all. Which leads us to our first conflict, he accepts a job in Australia, so their love will never be. You can mark this guy off the list, send in Maury because “he is not the father.” Why do we have to go through the process of narrowing down the trove of bachelors till we finally discover who she winds up with? Since we are monotonously repeating the opening of the HIMYM we already know that most of these initial connections are just a flash in the pan.
The age of sitcoms has outgrown this approach, with much more clever shows such as “Abbot Elementary” and “Parks and Rec”, even “New Girl” was able to accomplish a more rounded show with a cast we care and root for. You just don’t feel for the characters in HIMYF. Why should you? Most of us will never know what it’s like to live in an exorbitant apartment in Manhattan, so why would we ever care about these characters who resemble so little of their target audience?
The first episode catapults us into a lackluster plot with people we know nothing about, meanwhile the actors are giving it their all to resemble vintage sitcom hilarity. There are no easy laughs anymore in the age of Tik Tok and comedic influencers. Audiences have been exposed to new comedy in the form of satirical skits and clever cuts with sound dubs. HIMYF can’t hold up to where comedy is headed, watching it takes its audience back to the 90’s but not so much in the form of nostalgic bliss but more like a played out video cassette in the free bin at Goodwill.