Star Rating:

How I Met Your Father

Streaming On: Watch How I Met Your Father on Disney+

Release Date: Wednesday 11th May 2022

Genre(s): Comedy

The spin-off based on 'How I Met Your Mother' airs on Disney+ today and it has the potential to be better than the original.

Kim Cattrall's older version of the main character 'Sophie' introduces us to the series, wine in hand, video calling her son to tell him all about her love life as a 30-something.

Though that should sell us on the show immediately, it takes us until halfway through the first episode to get into it. Rinse, repeat for each of the first four episodes we've seen.

Why? The writing feels stilted, cringe, and unrealistic in places; what happened to writing a script reflective of how people actually speak? This show is so jam-packed with one-liners that it feels self-conscious and bumpy.

The reinvention of the story through a 2022 lens is much more modern and "woke" than 'How I Met Your Mother' — it's like one person wrote a humorous, genuine script, and then a second person came along with a big red pen (a woke pen) making sure they were covering their arse.

At times, they are authentic in navigating the booby-traps of society nowadays, which is are quick to 'cancel'.

Hilary Duff's younger 'Sophie' begins to tell her continent-crossed lover that she doesn't just sleep with every Tinder date she goes on, but then starts to stumble over herself explaining that "it's fine for women who do do that".

But elsewhere, they overdo it. Characters are tripping over themselves not only to make sure they're being politically correct, but also to wedge gen Z-isms into any of the breathing room the script possesses.

It's like a parody, but the characters don't know it's a parody. Woke should be a state of mind, not an unrelenting dialogue.

Chris Lowell is the saving grace; most scenes with his character 'Jesse' are just as authentic and cringe as we want our sitcoms to be — his character strikes that balance perfectly.

Any time Hilary Duff's 'Sophie' says something impossibly corny and contrived about finding love in New York, his reaction is realistic, usually resembling "I don't know what you're on about". The cool yin to her cringe yang.

They do include a little more diversity in their cast and characters, with the inclusion of Tien Tran playing 'Ellen', a lesbian divorcee who is trying to get back out there romantically.

But this is the question on everyone's lips: is this the 'Gordo' and 'Miranda'-less 'Lizzie Maguire' reboot that we never got? The answer is: kind of.

The more the series goes on, the more adult-Lizzie fashion we get. Picture space-buns and psychedelic tops, sparkly hot pink cocktail dresses and lots of colour. It's very '13 going on 30' with a definite homage to funky, classic tween Lizzie style even now as the hot, adult 'Sophie'.

But she has her own identity; between Kim Cattrall's mom version of 'Sophie' and Hilary Duff's single gal in the city 'Sophie', we're definitely being brought a new character.

The show is worthy of standalone status and doesn't lean on 'How I Met Your Mother', but we do appreciate the nods to it's sister show. Two swords crisscross over the mantelpiece in 'Jesse' and 'Sid''s apartment. There's a romantic scene on the balcony with 'Sophie' and Josh Peck's character 'Drew'. The bar is the hearth of the show.

Ultimately, it has potential. It could even trump the original, but it just needs to not try so hard. But hey, it's been renewed for a second season, so it has room to flourish.

As for our star of the show? It hurts to say it, but it wasn't Hilary Duff. If we haven't made it clear enough, Chris Lowell is carrying this series, at least for now.

We'll definitely be tuning in for more — especially since Blair Wald-, we mean, Leighton Mesiter will be joining the cast.

Start 'How I Met Your Father' season one on Disney+ now.