A “stand-alone sequel” to How I Met Your Father is coming out this week, as showrunners Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker have called it. This is the first episode. There’s a lot of talk about how HIMYF will be more like its nine-season predecessor. Hilary Duff plays Sophie, Chris Lowell, Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran, and Suraj Sharma plays her friends Chris, Francia, Tom, Tien, and Suraj. Kim Cattrall plays a future version of Sophie as she tells her son how she met his father.
I, for one, will be watching this new show from Hulu, but I had to do a lot of soul-searching and revisit old wounds that haven’t healed since the controversial, if not devastating, series finale HIMYM that aired nearly eight years ago. A lot of the original CBS sitcom hasn’t worked out well. For example, the show’s all-white friend group or the fact that most of the show is about two men playing ping-pong with a female love interest. None of that even comes close to how cringeworthy the show’s many transphobic or gay jokes were or how often Barney Stinson used questionable, alcohol-heavy methods to get women.
Perhaps the most endearing thing about the show was how it made young adulthood’s earnest stupidity seem real. Despite all the show’s flaws, I can’t deny that I was charmed by the show’s silly chaos like a teenager. Who doesn’t love the story of how Ted Mosby learned what Krav Maga was while dumped by a woman on her birthday for the second time?
HIMYM’s season finale: In case you forgot about it. However, a lot of the show’s legacy was thrown away with its finale, one of the most hated endings to a long-running, popular TV show in 2019. While most of the last season was about Barney and Robin’s wedding, we learned that they divorced a few years later. The group splits up when Robin goes away to work on her career, Ted starts a family with the mother he met at Barney and Robin’s wedding, and Barney goes back to being toxic and sexually predatory. In general, Marshall and Lily are still around. They mostly stay around so that they can have more children. After a long time, we learn that the mother, Tracy, died at some point. At the end of the show, Ted shows up at Robin’s door with that blue French horn, and he wants to pursue her with the help of his kids.
How Ted seemed to go back to his overly romantic, almost delusional ways, as he ended up outside Robin’s apartment right where he started. This caused a lot of people to be furious about the finale. Others said that the mother died, who had been treated as a symbol rather than a natural person, was too soon.
What bothered me was not the implied ending of Ted and Robin getting back together or even Tracy’s death. It was something else. I wouldn’t say I liked how the finale of HIMYM made motherhood, parenthood, and giving birth the most important and life-changing things that could happen to someone.
They split because they disagreed on having kids, which is an excellent reason to break up. Even though we see Robin wistful and regretful about not having children or settling down and choosing her career as a woman, we don’t see this as a one-size-fits-all choice for women. This, on the other hand, makes Barney, a better person when one night stands make him the father of a newborn daughter. This, rather than a thoughtful look at all the women he’s hurt over the years, makes him a better person. If you think Ted and the Mother were happy together, it’s clear that she was only there to give birth to Ted’s two kids and then disappear with the speed of an Amazon delivery driver. Ted has always been in love with Robin, which begs why we had to go through nine years of HIMYM to get back to the beginning of the show.
When did HIMYM first air? It’s been a long time since Hilary Duff was the main character of HIMYF, which takes place in 2022. It’s also been said that the new show is written “in the same world, but not in the same way,” which means there will be a lot of differences.
Not having to be the new Barney, Robin, or Ted means I don’t have to put myself under a lot of stress. You get a lot of room for us to become our characters, and for the show, we make to become our show because of this.
HIMYF, I hope, won’t just keep repeating characters who haven’t aged well. Instead, I hope it will look at pregnancy, parenting, and children in a more modern way and not treat these as the essential things that can happen to an adult, especially a woman. None of these things are wrong on their own. There’s nothing wrong with Robin or Barney changing their lives after having a child or Ted’s obsessive desire for a picture-perfect family of four. In the real world, these things happen all the time. But HIMYM could have told a more complex story, had more complex characters, or just shown that women’s real purpose isn’t to marry a blue French horn-clad dork and have his kids. Having a daughter isn’t the only reason men should work on being better people. I hope that HIMYF will be able to make up for its predecessor’s flaws with a female lead, a more diverse cast, and a setting in the present day.