TV Recap: “How I Met Your Father” – Season 2, Episode 7 “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Valentine’s Day”

Sophie (Kim Cattrall) is taunting her son. Dancing with an automated animal remembering how the father got her one of these toys for Valentine’s Day, Sophie remembers back to February 14 of 2023.

Back in 2023, Jesse (Christopher Lowell) is opining at Pemberton’s to the group about how terrible Valentine’s Day is. While Jesse is unhappy, his friends are less than surprised by his ‘hot take’. Sophie and Val (Hilary Duff and Francia Raisa) are less than shocked by Jesse’s opinion, and as Charlie (Tom Ainsley) speaks up, he is interrupted by Sid (Suraj Sharma) who tells Jesse that he doesn’t care what the love grinch thinks.

Excited by the return of Hannah (Ashley Reyes) Sid is tired of listening to his friend complain about Valentine’s Day. Sophie and Val explain to Charlie that they love the day because they have jointly made the day their special day.

Ellen (Tien Tran) joins the group declaring her hatred for the day, while carrying an ice sculpture of Rachel (Aby James). Sadly, Rachel had to go to Florida, and won’t be able to join her. Sophie tries to cheer up Ellen with her worst Valentine’s Day ever. Racking her brain with some examples, Sophie fails to satisfy Ellen. (While Ellen may not have been happy with this story, fans get to see the Lizzie McGuire crossover that no one was expecting. Could we have a reboot? Is that still a possibility?)

Charlie jumps in to take over for the failing Sophie. (Listening to Tom Ainsley narrate this story is gold.) Val mocks Charlie and then takes over the story moment describing a bad valentine’s day from college. This story shows how Val and Sophie meet. We also learn that Sophie and Val slept with the same guy in college. Vowing to work together to get revenge on Brendan, they grab some bats and smash his bike.

Ellen isn’t placated. She wants something gut wrenching and looks to her brother Jesse for the heartache. Jesse tells his story about telling a girl in elementary school that he loved her. He also told someone in middle school that he loved them and was turned down. Then Sid describes how Jesse told a girl in college that he loved her, and now Sophie is upset that Jesse has done this before.

Charlie tries to get things back on track by adding to his story of heartache. Deep into his ridiculous fable of love, Sid interrupts as he learns that Hannah’s flight has been diverted. This is a big blow, as he explains to the group why Valentine’s Day is so important to the couple. A flashback to when Sid and Hannah are in med school, and younger Sid is begging Jesse to come out and meet with girls commences this segue.

At the party, Sid admits to Hannah that he wants them to be a couple, and Hannah celebrates with Drew (Josh Peck) because she set him up to share his feelings. (Josh Peck plays Drew for the laughs. His character needs to be in many more episodes.) At the party we see Sid and Hannah have a fight, and Jesse tells another girl that he loves her.

Explaining to Sophie that that doesn’t count because he was given drugs at the party and can’t be held responsible for what he said or to who he said it to. (The callback to a HIMYM phrase was perfectly on point.)

Sophie finally explains why she is mad at Jesse. When he told her that he loved her on their first date, it may have scared her, but it also made her feel special. Knowing that he has done this many times over, the specialness of the moment has been lost.

Hannah surprises Sid at the bar, and he is very excited to see his wife. Charlie tries to redeem himself by shortening his story of lost love. Planning on surprising his girlfriend, Charlie gets stood up, and the group finally praises his story. Ellen gets a pizza from Rachel, with a plan to share a meal together over FaceTime, and Ellen is giddy with joy.

Jesse apologizes to Sophie and clears the air about his reckless use of telling everyone that he loves them. He explains that for a long time he never told anyone that he loved them, and that after Meredith, Jesse never thought he would love anyone again. Then he met Sophie. Sophie feels better about the situation and then finishes her lost love story of third grade.

Sophie describes a heart wrenching story of when she was a kid, she put posters around her neighborhood in hopes that her long lost father would come dance with her at the father daughter dance being held at the school. Her father never showed. (This story is a gut punch, that is played well in a balance of sadness and humor, that makes fans love this series even more.)

Bill’s Final Thoughts:

A great episode with some callbacks to HIMYM, and some depth to Sophie’s life. Valentine’s Day is a tricky episode to portray, with the usually route of everyone having a great time as they celebrate their relationships. It was nice to see a change here with the group trying to cheer up Ellen as she pined for her absent girlfriend.

I was taken aback by the truly sad moment that Sophie shared with Jesse. As much as How I Met Your Father is a comedy, there are some deep moments of human fragility that are just beneath the shiny veneer of laughter.

Hilary Duff continues to soar in the role of Sophie, and the writers are sewing the connective tissue from HIMYM with artistic flair.

Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving