Episode 5, How I Met Your Father, makes a specific dig at teen Nickelodeon TV shows. Including a few of the show’s cast members. Aside from Hilary Duff and Kim Cattrall, who both play Sophie. The cast of HIMYF is mainly made up of up-and-coming actors. Or performers who starred in teen shows in the ’00s, from Francia Rasia (Valentina) of Secret Life of the American Teenager fame. And it to Chris Lowell (Jesse) of Veronica Mars fame and Leighton Meester (Meredith) of Gossip Girl fame. HIMYF is brimming with actors best known for their teen roles.
Sophie and Valentina joke about some Nickelodeon TV show’s absurdity in How I Met Your Father episode 5. A meta-reference to the show’s cast members. Valentina says “Teenage Step-Dad” would be a great Nickelodeon series after Sophie says she needs to talk to her “teenage step-dad.” Referring to her mom Lori’s 27-year-old boyfriend. Sophie agrees right away and suggests they add it to the list. She implied that the two have a running gag about ridiculous ideas that sound precisely like a Nickelodeon teen show.
One of Disney Channel’s most popular shows. Josh Peck, who plays HIMYF’s character Drew, rose to fame in the ’00s when he starred in Nickelodeon’s hit TV show Drake & Josh, proving that How I Met Your Father’s joke about Nickelodeon’s teen shows was all in good fun. Surprisingly, Nickelodeon teen TV often overlapped with popular Disney Channel teen shows, which ties back to Hilary Duff. From 2001 to 2004, Duff rose to fame as the title character in Lizzie McGuire.
Josh Peck and Hilary Duff posed on set with Disney Channel’s Suite Life of Zack & Cody actor Phill Lewis, knowing that most How I Met Your Father viewers their age would recognize them from their teen roles.
Given that Disney owns a majority of Hulu, it’s understandable that Sophie and Valentina’s joke about family-friendly teen shows was directed at Nickelodeon rather than their satirical shows. Hilary Duff’s availability for HIMYF could also be due to canceling Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire revival. Because of the similarities in content. Some have compared How I Met Your Father to the Lizzie McGuire revival that never happened. It wouldn’t be surprising if How I Met Your Father made more overt references to teen shows.
It also appears that no one on How I Met Your Father is immune to references to their previous roles. This is also a continuation of what made How I Met Your Mother’s meta-references so entertaining, as the original series frequently referenced Alyson Hannigan’s teen Buffy the Vampire Slayer role, Jason Segel’s Freaks & Geeks past, and Neil Patrick Harris’ Doogie Howser, M.D. fame. Since Sophie and Valentina mentioned having a long list of potential Nickelodeon TV show titles, it’s possible that How I Met Your Father will continue to poke fun at the cast.