How I Met Your Father Makes Sophie Everything Ted Mosby Wasn’t

It’s not a secret that Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) was one of the worst things about How I Met Your Mother. Frequently criticized for being one of the most annoying characters of all time, Ted was a tiresome individual whose search for the perfect girl led to him frequently lying, cheating, and manipulating others around him for his own gains. To make matters even worse, there was no apparent time spent on bettering his character during the nine seasons of the show (especially taking the very controversial series finale into account). This is where Hulu’s new How I Met Your Mother spin off How I Met Your Father vastly differs, creating a far more likable protagonist in Sophie (Hilary Duff) in the span of 10 episodes than HIMYM did in nine seasons of the show.


During the entirety of HIMYM‘s run, we saw Ted drive his friends insane with his incredibly high standards and expectations from his soulmate. This included cheating on Victoria (Ashley Williams) until Robin (Cobie Smulders) stopped him from acting on his feelings, and then ruining Victoria’s marriage with another man by driving away with her on her wedding day before he ultimately calls it quits later. Both these times, Robin is the reason why things eventually end, but it is Ted choosing to keep Robin in the mix as a possible romantic interest despite committing to someone else.

While Sophie is also a romantic and believes in finding the one, she acts very differently from Ted when put in a similar situation. In the penultimate episode, she and Jesse (Chris Lowell) kiss when she has a fight with her then-boyfriend Drew (Josh Peck). It’s a bad decision and one the show has the smarts to call out, with Hannah (Ashley Reyes) rightly criticizing Sophie for it and declaring that there’s ‘no good kind of cheating’. Furthermore, when her future with Jesse is put in doubt, she still realizes that the right thing to do is not to hold on to Drew as some sort of placeholder and dumps him. Given that How I Met Your Mother would all but celebrate Ted’s many offenses to women in an ode to his undying romantic spirit, How I Met Your Father‘s critique proves that this take on the rom-com lead is aware of how toxic actions should never be brushed aside. The show even doubles down on this, with Tom Ainsley‘s Charlie confessing that he has a habit of following women he is in love with around the world, something that Valentina (Francia Raisa) is appropriately flabbergasted by.

Picture Via Hulu

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By comparison, Ted’s tendency to put himself first was a character trait that could prove tiresome, especially because of how he treated those he cared about. Asking Robin to give up her dogs upon finding out that many of those were remnants from her past relationships was definitely a step too far — especially since Ted, who had a habit of keeping his exes’ things in his own apartment, never gave them away and instead chose to hide them from Robin. Ted’s unbelievably high expectations from others is a repeated pattern when he himself rarely recalibrates his own values ​​to be more compatible with someone else.

However, HIMYF‘s Sophie is already doing better in this regard. In the season finale, Sophie, with a little unexpected help from Robin, comes to terms with the fact that she can’t regulate the intensity of Jesse’s feelings towards her and that ultimately they’re both after the same thing. This frank discussion about her own skittishness allows her to not bottle her emotions or run away from the relationship blindly. Instead, she gives herself a moment to digest Jesse’s feelings towards her, and she is able to bring herself to a place where she can come to terms with his idea of ​​their relationship.

Picture Via Hulu

Even when things take a turn for the worse, and Sophie sees Jesse with someone else, she doesn’t cause a scene but instead, takes Robin’s advice about timing being their issue to heart and doesn’t seem all that eager to write Jesse off as the villain of her story. Afterward, when she speaks about the incident with Valentina, she appears hurt but also able to put aside her emotions and put on a brave front. All of this maturity is something we never witnessed with Ted, who was instrumental in most of the big problems in his life. Sophie seems a far cry from the kind of person who would sleep with someone under false pretenses or dump someone on their birthday, twice. Nor does she seem capable of breaking up with someone via their answering machine or hitting on married women — all things that Ted did.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with creating flawed characters in sitcoms, and series like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia have done a standup job of demonstrating that truly despicable people can serve as comedic fodder when placed in the right light and presented for who they are instead of characters to root for. The problem mainly stems from the original show giving Ted a pass to do whatever he liked all while indie romantic music played in the background and the characters in the show collectively cheered him on as he made yet another ill-advised and entirely selfish decision. It may also seem unfair to pin Sophie, who we’ve only known for 10 episodes, against Ted, who viewers had a lot more time to familiarize themselves with. But her actions so far, not to mention the writers’ use of other characters in the show to be the voice of reason, serves as proof that the sitcom lead has been updated for the modern audience. HIMYF is still finding its voice and has a long way to go to match the comedic bar of HIMYM but in creating a world where characters aren’t beholden to toxic sitcom and rom-com clichés, the Hulu series is a promising step in the right direction for sitcoms-at-large and a worthy successor to the original series.


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