‘How I Met Your Father’ Season 2, Episode 17 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Is The No-Phone Experiment?

The sixteenth episode of How I Met Your Father concluded with Rachel and Ellen breaking up over the fact that the former needed some space. Sophie discovers that Jesse performs bad parody songs about his colleagues at a bar in New Jersey, which is what led to him being ostracized by them. The only solution that worked for them was to roast Jesse in return. Charlie and Val end up going on a faux date, which is an eye-opener for them about how they feel about each other. They consider themselves friends. It would be interesting to watch how the group moves forward from here, especially Ellen.

Spoilers Ahead


No Phone For A Day

After seeing Ellen obsessing over Rachel through social media and Val mindlessly scrolling the internet, Sophie decides to make a pact with the group about not using phones for a day. Sophie does this because she feels that as a friend, this experiment would bring them closer. The entire group agrees to do so just to keep Sophie happy, even though they know that they cannot stay away from their phones even for a minute, especially Ellen and Val. It is a move to make the group aware of the world around them, which makes sense because by using this method, they would all get a reality check.


Val And Sophie At The Bank

Val is upset because she cannot take any selfies anymore, but Sophie is excited about this challenge because it helps her do the kind things people used to do that were done a decade or two ago. Sophie has to be okay with this challenge because she was the one who initiated it, and her backing out would be embarrassing. Val, on the other hand, has never spent time away from the phone. The best friends head to the bank to deposit Sophie’s salary the old-fashioned way. They run into two members of NSYNC, who invite Sophie and Val to a party at a run down meat factory. This musical guest cameo is for all the music lovers of the 90s, where we get to see Lance Bass and Joey Fatone mildly flirting with the two of them. The besties are elated to be invited, but they are not aware of the location of the meat factory, and since they do not have their phones on them, they will not be able to use their GPS. This is a nightmare for Sophie and Val because they get star-struck very easily, and this is their chance to hang out with their favorite celebrity. Sophie’s no-phone challenge put them on the back foot, and they had no idea what they would do.


Jesse’s Date 

Jesse’s date with Parker does not go as planned because, just like he claimed, he cannot seem to have a decent conversation with her without googling the topics. A nervous wreck, Jesse ends up ordering more food than the two of them can eat, and he realizes that his credit card is on the mobile cover. Jesse always ends up being more anxious because he does not feel confident in himself. He comes across as an emotional guy who always feels the need to be easily liked.


Ellen And Charlie’s Spa Day

Ellen and Charlie, as roommates, make a spa day out of their no-phone challenge. Charlie is excited to be a part of this, but Ellen is still obsessing over Rachel because there was love between the two, and Ellen seems to be having a hard time getting over that. Ellen, just like Jesse, is an anxious person, and this adds to her edgy behavior as she does not have the phone on her to check up on her ex-girlfriend.


Does The Entire Group Survive The No-Phone Experiment For A Day? 

Sophie and Val ask Sid to give them back their phones so that they can locate an old meat factory. They could also locate the venue by checking Lance or Joey’s social media handles. For that they would be needing their phones. The two of them are having a hard time because they probably want to be able to hang out with the NSYNC members just to make memories. Sid happens to be an old meat factory enthusiast and an NSYNC fan, and they head to the party with him because he claims to know the location. Sid finally comes to their rescue, and of all the people, only he adheres to the no-phone policy without panicking, keeping in mind he and Hannah are in a long-distance marriage.

They end up meeting two random men who seem to be wearing the same clothes as the OG members at the bank, and the besties wonder if they faced some kind of withdrawal symptoms. Sophie and Val are disappointed for obvious reasons, but Sophie, who ends up meeting Ian with his new girlfriend, reveals that her no-phone challenge was to keep herself away from the news that her ex-boyfriends, including Jesse, have moved on with life while she feels stuck. She is not in a good state of mind about it because she still feels she has not achieved anything great so far, professionally or personally, and looking at their pictures aggravates her insecurities, which is understandable.

Val also reveals that she mindlessly scrolls through the internet because she wants to keep her mind away from the fact that she still likes Charlie. Val cannot get herself to move on because she has not felt this kind of fondness for anyone else in the past. The two of them, instead of escaping, should have tried to face the fact, endure the pain, and eventually move on, but since this is a sitcom, that will not happen.

Jesse runs away from the date to get his phone, but with Sid out with Sophie and Val, he comes back, having to reveal all the embarrassing stuff about the no-phone challenge he got into. Parker turned out to be cooler than he expected, and she finally understood his predicament. The two of them hit it off for some reason. It is maybe because they work at the same place and the fact that Jesse opened up to her easily. Parker came across as a genuine person; she was able to see through his sincerity.

Ellen, who is frustrated at being away from the phone, lures Charlie into wearing a set of noise-canceling headphones and an eye mask so that she can run away to get her phone because she is desperate. On her way out, she accidentally broke a gas pipeline. On her return from an unsuccessful mission, she is informed about the evacuation of the building. She knew Charlie had no way of finding out about this. Ellen rescues him because she finally acknowledges the amount of  time he spent to cheer her up with a spa day. She realizes she acted insensitively by leaving him home alone. Ellen finally understood how much her friends meant to her, especially Charlie.

The episode ‘Out of Sync’ ends with all of them succeeding in the challenge because, somehow, being adults, they wanted to be able to cross this hurdle and prove that they are not addicted to their devices. Turns out, Sophie and Val did run into Lance Bass and Joey Fatone, as per the NSYNC members’ social media feeds.


What Can We Expect From Episode 18?

The next episode will have Sophie may be on the lookout for a date because she is probably ready for a relationship and to move on from Jesse. Val will probably try to get Charlie back into her life, but by the looks of it, she will be facing another heartbreak. Ellen will move on and stop obsessing over Rachel. Charlie might finally show some interest in Val, but it would be too late for them to reconcile.


Final Thoughts

This episode had nothing much to offer when it comes to humor, just like their previous episodes. The guest appearance also felt like a straight lift from older sitcoms with no originality. The writers could have cleverly used the NSYNC cameo, but this was a squandered opportunity. Six episodes remain before the season finale, and we can only hope the writers do some damage control when it comes to good narrative and humor.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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