How I Met Your Dad Repeats Barney’s Sibling Confusion (Only Worse)
How I Met Your Father repeats the mixed-race sibling dynamic of HIMYM’s Barney and James, but the bond between Jesse and Ellen pales in comparison.
how i met your father presents another puzzling sibling dynamic as HIMYMis Barney and James, but worsens Jesse and Ellen’s explanations. As Jesse and Ellen are interrogated as mixed-race siblings, this is one of the first repeated gags of HIMYM, that’s not the only relationship the spin-off draws from the original series. From the start, how i met your father introduces a dynamic that mirrors Robin and Ted with Sophie and Jesse, Sid and Hannah are essentially the new Marshall and Lily, and Sid and Jesse are best friends from college who live together in Ted and Marshall’s old apartment. As Episode 1 only gives a quick glimpse into the characters’ lives, it’s hard to say how these other repeat relationships will compare to HIMYM, but Jesse and Ellen have already made their family bond worse than that of Barney and James.
Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) and his brother James (Wayne Brady) were one of the best side relationships in HIMYM, with their dynamic first introduced in season 2. When Robin meets James, the gang tells him that he and Barney are very different because James is gay and HIMYM‘s Barney is a relentless womanizer. James arrives, and Robin is even more confused because James is black and Barney is white. The story is that James and Barney are half-siblings, with the two sharing a white mother while Barney’s father (John Lithgow) is white and James’s father (Ben Vereen) is black. Even though the Stinson brothers don’t look alike physically, they never let anyone question their belonging to a family, especially since their mother once called them “little racistswhen they asked why they didn’t look alike.
The first episode of how i met your father directly repeats this brotherly relationship with Jesse and Ellen, as Jesse (GLOW actor Chris Lowell) is white and Ellen (Tien Tran) is Asian, but makes their bond and attitude towards their relationship less charming. Ellen first introduces herself as Jesse’s sister, but adds a disclaimer that she is “obviously adopted.” While Barney and James’ mixed-race sibling confusion worked to show how similar they were and it was undeniable that they were brothers despite their appearances, how i met your fatherRepetition is worse as Ellen feels compelled to say they are not blood related. By having to include a disclaimer that they’re siblings, but not actually related, Ellen and Jesse’s family dynamic feels a lot more separate than Barney and James. HIMYMsiblings of wouldn’t let people question their identity as brothers, but how i met your fatherThe characters seem to expect it and welcome it.
Although Barney and James are actually blood-related half-siblings, this likely changes their bond from Jesse and Ellen, how i met your fatherThe confusion between similar siblings is further undermined by giving the impression that they cannot fully claim themselves as family by being adopted. how i met your fathersiblings also reflect HIMYM‘s Stinson brothers in that one is content to be single and doesn’t want to get married, while the other has already been in a fully committed relationship. Barney even felt that James was betraying him upon finding out he was engaged to Tom, since Barney had no intention of getting married before dating Quinn and Robin. While Jesse is opposed to marriage after his viral “proposal failed“, Ellen has just divorced and is looking to find more women in New York.
While Jesse and Ellen’s sibling bond isn’t currently as strong or lovely, how i met your father actually has the ability to do more with the characters than HIMYM, as James was never brought into the group unless it was a big moment for Barney. With Jesse and Ellen also involved in how i met your father‘s gang, the sibling dynamic may actually become more fruitful for the plot and incorporate the family nuances that made Monica and Ross Friends roles so much better. While Jesse and Ellen’s family being back in Ohio means they probably won’t be seen often, how i met your father adds a new layer to the dynamic of its main characters that HIMYM was missing.
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