TV Review: How I Met Father, 1×5, “The Good Mom”

User Rating: 9

The great thing about How I Met Your Father is that it takes its time to give the audience a backstory about any of the main characters. In the case of this week, it’s Sophie’s turn. Sophie has the unfortunate task of reuniting with her mother, Lori (Paget Brewster), who is in town for her boyfriend’s new gig. The boyfriend is decidedly much older than Sophie’s mother. Spending time with her mother is in direct contrast with Sophie’s plans to spend time with a new love interest drew. Sophie chooses to spend time with Lori because she rarely gets an opportunity to see her. In her time with her mother, Sophie discovers that the guys that her mother dated were never the problem; her mother was.

The secondary story of this episode involves how each of Sophie’s male friends are getting over specific traumas. In the case of Sid, his fantasy of Sophie’s mother, who happens to be a famous actress, caused the death of his beloved pet. In the case of Jesse, he finally faces his fear of performing in public again. Both men have help from Charlie, who decides he wants to be in psychology. Ellen continues to be a complicated character to root for as she just hits on as many lesbian women as possible in the pursuit of trying to find romance rather than being genuine about why she wants a relationship and why she thinks that person is a good fit for her.

This episode of How I Met Your Father is a great story about moving past your trauma, whether that’s an experience or a person. I love that even though each cast member is experiencing and fighting through their own trauma, they are willing to work together to conquer it. This is something that the original show didn’t do very often unless there was a serious moment. I love the risk the writers are willing to take by making things emotional and compelling early instead of waiting until seasons later when the audience might be fully invested.

The character of Sophie continues to be deeply endearing as she pushes her way through her early 30s. I continue to like the character of Drew as his buttoned-up persona is the perfect contrast to the light, easygoing nature of Sophie. Furthermore, Valentina continues to have great chemistry with Sophie, especially in terms of inside jokes the two share together.

The weakest links of every episode are always Charlie and Ellen. Most of the reason behind them being weak has to do with the fact that they are risk-takers, but in addition to that, they’re also very dumb, and no one at that age range, who has attended any kind of school, would do or propose the types of shenanigans they find themselves getting into. Paget Brewster as Lori is a fantastic portrayal of a dysfunctional mother in a way I don’t think audiences have seen in a very long time. Every time Brewster messed up, Duff acted her butt off to match the emotional complexity of the decades-long relationship between Sophie and her mother.

This is why How I Met Your Father will succeed because it’s constantly navigating in uncharted territory for growing adults and those who have raised them. It’s not enough for this show to succeed. It needs to excel at a high level, and while the writing meets that standard, who needs to promote this show intensely so that audiences can see it. If that doesn’t happen, I don’t see this show getting a second season which would be a tragedy for such a strong comedy. Let’s hope Sophie’s story continues for years to come.

How I Met Your Father is now streaming on Hulu.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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