How I Met Your Father is a great series. I say this because at the beginning of this episode, audiences had no idea how all the characters would connect. This episode of the show completely changed its trajectory from a sad remake to a story that stands on its own two feet. Sophie is gearing up for her 30th birthday party modeled after Christina Aguilera’s “Dirty” music video. Charlie and Valentina continue going through their hiccups of trying to decide whether being together is the right thing for them. Ellen and Jesse are reconciling with their separated past that forced them to be away from each other for several decades. Sophie is also falling very hard for vice principal Drew, who is more mature than she ever imagined. She spends the entire episode trying to impress him and make herself more mature than she actually is.
This is the first great episode of How I Met your Father. Much of the greatness in episode four comes from the relationship between Jesse and Ellen. I love that he spends the first half of Sophie’s party trying to be his adopted sister’s wing woman, only to realize he knows nothing about her. They have a very frank and great conversation about their last memories of each other before their parents separated and discuss their initial reactions when Ellen became a part of the family. It’s the real sweet tender moment that sells the heart of the series and finally makes Sophie’s friends more likable and fun to watch.
The difficulty with Valentina and Charlie’s story can be found in their struggle to label what their relationship is. Honestly, who could blame them because they spend most of the episode trying to have sex or arguing with each other constantly? Josh Peck is probably the most memorable part of this episode because I can truly see his potential as Sophie’s long-term love interest. As mature as he may be, by the episode’s end, we realize he has a playful side just as strong as Sophie’s. It’s to Hilary Duff’s credit as an actress that she can make that romance believable and enjoyable to watch.
My only issue with the episode is that working that hard to impress a man doesn’t feel like it would happen in 2022. If anything, that cliche should be reserved for people 10 years younger who are just about to finish college and don’t yet have professional careers. I can only guess that audiences understand that people mature at their own pace, and Sophie is a little bit behind.
My favorite moment of the episode is the connection between drew and Sophie on the initial first date. You can tell that she is impressed by his maturity and honestly wants to know what he cares about as a person. While that was truly evident during How I Met Your Mother, I didn’t expect that same care to be replicated here. Regardless, the strong writing of this episode helped us invest in Sophie’s love story for future chapters. I can’t wait to watch more.