TV Recap: “How I Met Your Father” – Episode 8 “Rewardishment”

Telling her son that it is never too late to learn a new skill, Sophie (Kim Cattrall) is quickly challenged for her lack of whistling ability.

In 2023, Sophie (Hilary Duff) arrives at the bar in a mess after having completed a photo shoot at a kid’s birthday party. While Ellen (Tien Tran) wonders why she just doesn’t get her license and avoid the creepy Uber drivers and long commutes, Val (Francia Raisa) explains that though they got their learners permit in college, neither of them feel safe driving.

Charlie (Tom Ainsley) is shocked to learn that two fully grown adults don’t know how to drive, and Jesse (Christopher Lowell) makes a mockery of his inability to shave himself. This leads to a hilarious story of Ellen being unable to confront an obnoxious coworker. (Tien Tran is very funny.) Sid (Suraj Sharma) tells her to confront her colleague, but Ellen is too conflict averse, and terrified of her coworker.

Everyone seems to have something that they avoid, and Sid remembers a motivational plan that he and Jesse came up with in college. The guys proceed to explain their “Rewardishment” plan. This would mean that after giving themselves a challenge if they completed it, they would then celebrate, but if they didn’t they would punish themselves. (All I can say is the two guys get tasers. It’s very funny. Christopher Lowell gives everyone a hot tip to pee before you tase. She may cover her laugh with her hands, but Francia Raisa is laughing along with the audience.)

Sid challenges everyone to complete their goals within forty eight hours. If they succeed than everyone gets rewarded. If one fails than everyone is punished. The reward is a group sleep over, but if they fail, each person must take a shot of whatever liquid is in the drip mat at the bar.

Though he tries to get away, Jesse is forced to share his failure, and this is a moment that Christopher Lowell gets to shine. We learn that Jesse was a competitive hula hoop champion, but he never mastered one trick, which kept him from going to nationals. (I have no idea how Lowell kept it together during this scene. This is so funny, and a perfectly nonsensical story that is the heart of this show.)

The timer begins and everyone starts trying to master their failure. Jesse, Sid, and Charlie attempt their own issues, and fail miserably. Ellen runs from her coworker, and while Sophie and Val are shocked by the cost of driving school, it’s the eye test that really worries Val. Sophie is allowed to enroll, but Val is encouraged to get her eyes checked. Val is afraid to put in her contacts, and decides to change her goal because she is afraid of touching her eyes. (HIMYF is the most perfect successor to HIMYM.)

Charlie practices shaving his legs before he gets to his face, and while the first pass is a success, he cuts himself badly and there is massive blood loss. It’s gushing to the point that Charlie tells Sophie that she can have his garden gnome collection because he thinks he’s going to die. Sid takes him to the hospital.

Charlie arrives at the bar having mastered his shaving, thanks to practicing on surgery patients at the hospital. Celebrating his success, Charlie gets Sid to chug a beer, and after trying to help Val with her contacts, Charlie gets pepper juice in her eye, and they leave for the hospital again.

During her driving lesson, Sophie is doing well but does not want to make any left turns. When her driving instructor thinks she is having a heart attack, it forces Sophie to act. (Can a single woman have a widow maker? This might be the best line of television this year.)

At Ellen’s work, Jesse tries to help her confront her coworker, but gets bit by a snake, and now everyone meets up at the hospital. After getting medical attention, Val learns to put her contacts in, Ellen confronts her colleague, and Jesse volunteers to teach Sophie how to drive successfully getting her to make a dreaded left-hand turn.

With only a few minutes left before the time runs out, Sophie learns why Jesse can’t do his hoop trick. (Throughout all the jokes and silliness, Christopher Lowell brought some heart to this moment, that reminds us that not everything is a laugh riot.) A sweet moment between Sophie and Jesse turns a little sour as she learns that Jesse is back on the dating apps.

Back at the bar, everyone celebrates Sophie’s success, and with some peer pressure, Jesse masters his hula hoop trick. (The fact that it is set to Darude’s 1999 hit, “Sandstorm”, makes it all the better. If you don’t know this piece of music by name, you will once you hear it.)

Amidst the celebration, Sid informs everyone that it’s ten minutes past the deadlines, and while Sophie tries to make the case that it’s good enough, Jesse say’s that’s the rules of “Rewardishment”. The drippings are set up to be drank. Each of them takes a shot, and while they all accomplished their tasks, the group ends up back at the hospital because they all got bacterial meningitis.

Bill’s Final Thoughts:

Another great episode for a stellar second season. We get some excellent character development in the history of Sid and Jesse, a sweet intimate moment with Jesse and Sophie that practically screams they will get back together, and a hint of Daniel Augustin’s return as Ian.

Every episode is better than the last. How I Met Your Father is a bold experiment in taking an existing formula, tweaking it, and making a brand new story. There are so many ways that it could fail, yet the show continues to soar. This show brings a necessary moment of joy in the television schedule.  

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