In episode 17 of How I Met Your Father, the gang decides to take a break from their phones and embrace the world around them. The episode is streaming on Hulu.
The gang is sitting together at Pemberton’s, with each of them buried deep into their phones and not paying attention to each other. Ellen obsesses over Rachel’s social media, and Sophie calls out Valentina’s phone usage.
She suggests they all spend a phone-free day and asks Sid to keep their phones at the bar until midnight. Jesse says he has nothing to worry about because he reads books and does other things that do not require a phone.
He is also excited because he’s going on a date with Parker, the new gym teacher at his school. Sophie gets home later that day with her paycheck and sees Valentina looking miserable because she cannot share a selfie of how great she looks at that moment.
She tells Valentina that they need to head to the bank so that she can deposit her cheque. They get there and run into Lance Bass and Joey Fatone from NSYNC. Sophie and Valentina are completely starstruck by the encounter, and it gets better than when they are invited to a party at the old Bologna factory.
After Lance and Joey leave, Sophie and Valentina realize that neither of them knows where the factory is, and they don’t have their phones to google the location.
Charlie is trying to set up a spa day for him and Ellen, but she can’t stop herself from peeking through the peephole at Rachel’s door. Charlie insists that she get into the spa day and try and forget about Rachel.
Ellen has trouble doing that, and she comes up with a way to distract Charlie so that she can sneak out. She tells him that they need to try sensory deprivation to fully enjoy the spa day and sticks earmuffs and a sleep mask on him.
She climbs out of the fire escape and knocks a pipe loose on the way down. Jesse is on his date with Parker and finds her very interesting, but he realizes that he doesn’t have anything equally interesting to share.
He ends up ordering a ton of food to compensate, but when he reaches for her card, he remembers that it is in his phone case that is in the bar. He cannot remember anyone’s number by heart, so he rushes out of the restaurant.
Sophie and Valentina have no luck at the library, and Valentina says that she’s done with this pact and wants her phone back. They arrive at Pemberton’s along with Ellen and ask for their phones.
Sid says he’s only going to give their phones back in case of an emergency, and Ellen fails to convince him. Valentina says it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to party with NSYNC, and Sid reveals that he knows exactly where the factory is.
He leaves along with them because he’s an NSYNC superfan and closes the bar. Jesse arrives moments later and finds the closed doors, so he has to rush back.
Ellen returns to her apartment building and sees the fire department there. The pipe she knocked loose caused a gas leak, and Ellen rushes in to save Charlie, who is still in there because of the sensory deprivation.
Jesse gets back to the restaurant just as Parker is getting ready to leave, and he apologizes to her for ditching her with a ton of food. She understands and then scams the restaurant to get their meal comped.
Sophie, Val, and Sid reach the location, but they run into two guys who look like knockoffs of Joey and Lance. They assume that they were so caught up in the excitement that they must not have realized it wasn’t the real members of NSYNC.
Val sees Ian and points him out to Sophie. She says hi to him and meets his girlfriend before slinking away. She reveals to Val that she knew about the girlfriend because she’s been stalking all of the men she’s had relationships with, and most of them have moved on.
Val says that she’s been using her phone as a distraction so that she doesn’t have to think about how difficult it might be to get over Charlie. Everyone gets their phones back at midnight, and Val sees a story from Lance and Joey partying at the old factory and rueing the fact that they missed out because they left too early.
- This is a fun episode with a great concept. Excessive screen time is something that a lot of people can relate to, and seeing an exaggerated version of how things might be without them for a day is mildly amusing.
- Having the star power of Joey Fatone and Lance Bass is a nice touch that slightly enhances the episode. Getting that momentary pop is something the series must aspire to do more often.
- The series has been very inconsistent with major plotlines which is frustrating. Sophie met Nick and had one episode where she got to know him but he hasn’t appeared since. Sid and Hannah’s relationship is occasionally highlighted and then ignored.
How I Met Your Father season 2 episode 17
Gloria Calderón Kellett
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