‘How I Met Your Father’: Why There’s No COVID-19 Pandemic in 2022

In the world of How I Met Your Father, “COVID-19” is just a bunch of letters and numbers. There are no masks or quarantines. Despite taking place in 2022, Hulu’s new How I Met Your Mother sequel makes no mention at all of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is still happening in the real world. But, according to star Hilary Duff, there’s a very understandable reason for that.

Daniel Augustin as Ian and Hilary Duff as Sophie have a discussion in a crowded airport in How I Met Your Father
Daniel Augustin as Ian and Hilary Duff as Sophie in ‘How I Met Your Father’ | Patrick Wymore/Hulu

The ‘How I Met Your Father’ timeline begins in 2022

How I Met Your Father follows Sophie (Duff), a 30-year-old woman navigating the dating scene in New York City. While Sophie experiences the ups and downs of Tinder matches, she makes unforgettable memories with a new group of close friends. It’s all narrated by an older version of Sophie (Kim Cattrall), who tells her son the story of how she met his father.

The story begins in 2022 on the night young Sophie meets her new pals, including several contenders for the father. As seen in the trailer below, older Sophie describes the dating scene that year, revealing that she had been on more than 80 Tinder dates within the span of a few months and never had any luck making a connection.

“It was hard to live in the moment in 2022. There was always somewhere else you could be, someone else you could be with,” older Sophie’s voiceover said.

How I Met Your Father is only two episodes in, but Sophie’s stories about 2022 have not yet included anything about COVID-19. And they probably never will.

Why COVID-19 doesn’t exist in ‘How I Met Your Father’

Duff recently guest-starred on Variety‘s Just For Variety podcast, where she discussed How I Met Your Father and its modern take on dating. In real life, Sophie’s dating adventures would probably include a few run-ins with the virus. However, as Duff revealed, that won’t be the case on the show.

“We all have COVID fatigue, and I’m so happy they’re not bringing that into our world,” Duff said.

The former Disney star added that the creators wanted to keep How I Met Your Father light, giving a place for fans to escape from the real-life horror of the pandemic.

“Because our show is lighthearted and fun — it can tug on the heartstrings a tiny bit — but really it’s a comedy and COVID’s not funny anymore,” she continued. “Some of the memes are pretty funny, but we’re all over it. I think the country’s over it.”

Some ‘HIMYM’ fans wondered about COVID-19

COVID-19 in the How I Met Your Mother/Father universe has been a topic of discussion since 2020. Although HIMYM’s events only took place from 2005 to 2013, the show included several flash-forward moments leading up to the year 2030. Again, none o’ those moments Father’d COVID-19.

Of course, HIMYM ended in 2014, so there’s no way the creators could have predicted a global pandemic would happen six years later. Still, the pandemic sparked a debate among fans over whether the virus existed in HIMYM, considering Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) never once mentioned it.

“Ted didn’t mention it for the same reason he’s telling a long, meandering story like he’s got all the time in the world (and why you only see him outside of Robin’s window at the end): THEY’RE STILL IN QUARANTINE,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “This isn’t going away by magic!”

Even HIMYM co-creator Craig Thomas entered the discussion, joking that Ted never talked about the virus because he “didn’t want to make the story overly long.”

Thankfully, if the virus doesn’t exist in How I Met Your Father, it’s safe to say it didn’t exist in How I Met Your Mother, either. Can we all just move over to that universe?

How I Met Your Father is now streaming on Hulu. New episodes drop every Tuesday.

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