Warning: Spoilers ahead for How I Met Your Father season 2, episode 11.
Although How I Met Your Father’s Bryan Cranston reference was a sweet, funny moment, it also creates a pretty major celebrity paradox in the How I Met Your Mother universe. Celebrity paradoxes are nothing new in movies and TV shows. Long before How I Met Your Mother accidentally featured an advertisement for a Jason Segel movie in the background of a scene starring Segel’s fictional character Marshall Erickson, characters in movies and shows were obliquely acknowledging their famous stars with cheeky meta-jokes. In the 1940’s His Girl Friday, Clark Gable notes that another character looks like Ralph Bellamy even though the character is played by Bellamy himself.
Even in the already over-the-top world of sitcoms, How I Met Your Mother’s tricky narration meant that the show could get away with a lot of meta-gags. However, its spinoff How I Met Your Father is not as quick to mess with viewers via misleading narration. Unlike Josh Radnor’s Ted, How I Met Your Father heroine Sophie generally doesn’t twist the truth, change or elide details, or otherwise alter the spinoff’s story through her narration. As such, it is more immediately obvious and harder to ignore when How I Met Your Father accidentally causes a celebrity paradox, as the spinoff did in its mid-season finale.
Bryan Cranston Played Hammond Druthers In How I Met Your Mother
In How I Met Your Father season 2, episode 11, “Daddy,” Sophie meets Barney in a long-awaited cameo that was set up by season 1 of the How I Met Your Mother spinoff. When Sophie spoke to Barney, he asked her if she ever pictured the father while growing up. She said that she did, admitting that she envisioned her father as “Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle — not Breaking Bad.” Sophie then clarified that she couldn’t watch Breaking Bad since she couldn’t watch her imagined father cooking meth. However, this is an odd response since Bryan Cranston played Ted’s boss, Hammond Druthers, in How I Met Your Mother.
HIMYM’s Other Connections To Breaking Bad Explained
Cranston’s Druthers appeared in How I Met Your Mother seasons 2 and 9, playing a nightmarish boss who Ted struggled to work (and later struggled to fire when the tables were turned and Ted was promoted above Druthers). As such, it is weird that How I Met Your Father’s season 2 finale acknowledged the existence of Cranston as a real-life actor when Cranston played a role in the show’s universe. However, the fact that there is a slew of connections between How I Met Your Mother and Breaking Bad could explain this. For example, Bob Odenkirk’s commitment to How I Met Your Mother led to the creation of Breaking Bad’s Mike Ehrmantraut.
Since Odenkirk couldn’t shoot Breaking Bad while he was working on How I Met Your Mother, the character of Mike was invented to act as a middleman between Walt and Saul. Not only that, but a season 3 episode of Breaking Bad saw Saul suggest using Barney’s favorite How I Met Your Mother pastime, laser tag, as a way to launder Walt’s drug money (in an overt nod, Saul even delivered the idea like Barney). These meta-jokes ensured that How I Met Your Mother and Breaking Bad had crossed paths long before How I Met Your Father’s paradoxical nod to Cranston.