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How I Met Your Father barely seems to know who its characters are: It desperately needs a "Barney"

  • "From How I Met Your Mother’s first episode, there was something special about Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris)," says Kayla Cobb. "He was vulgar, sexist, and problematic, sure. But he was also instantly funny, disarmingly charming, and embodied the unearned confidence this show exhibited from the pilot on. Barney being Barney gave HIMYM the runway it needed to find its own voice. The comedy could fumble with plots and characters, but audiences would keep watching to see what would come out of this cartoon character’s mouth. And if the poorly defined How I Met Your Father doesn’t suit up soon, there’s not going to be a reason to recommend it to anyone. It’s difficult to establish any freshman sitcom. But How I Met Your Father has a particularly obvious confidence problem. When its predecessor, How I Met Your Mother, first premiered, it knew who its main characters were. Ted (Josh Radnor) was the hopeless romantic. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) were the codependent couple. Robin (Cobie Smulders) was the cool career girl. And Barney? Barney was the suit-loving clown you couldn’t stop watching. There was always an addictiveness to Barney. Of course, there were his disturbing and cringe-worthy comments about women, which have not withstood the test of time. But there was a mystery about him." Cobb adds: "Was Robin too icy? Was Ted a secret creep? Were Marshal and Lily actually a good couple or were they just scared to be alone? Who cared? As long as How I Met Your Mother had Barney around to describe his progressively elaborate strategies to get laid, it didn’t matter. He made the show funny enough that the writers had time to figure out the rest. How I Met Your Father doesn’t have that sort of built-in safety net. In fact, it barely seems to know who its characters are."


    TOPICS: How I Met Your Father, Hulu, Hilary Duff