Credit: CBS; Christopher Saunders/Amazon
''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first season of Amazon’s Hunters.

I’ll be honest: Hunters is not normally my kind of show. I prefer not to watch anything depicting a human chess game. But hearing that Al Pacino and Jordan Peele were on board the new Amazon series piqued my interest, and what really decided it for me was Josh Radnor’s involvement. I’m a Radnor stan (hey, we all have our things), so I settled in to watch him embody Lonny Flash, a fictional washed-up actor who’s part of a Nazi-hunting squad in 1970s America.

Just two episodes in, it hit me: Lonny is basically Ted Mosby, the character Radnor became famous for playing on How I Met Your Mother. No, Ted didn’t shoot bad guys or star in movies, but their personalities are so similar I couldn’t miss it. So here I am before you to argue my theory that Ted is just Lonny in a different timeline (one in which he has more balls). Plus, when else am I going to put to use my encyclopedic knowledge of a CBS sitcom that ended six years ago?

The comedic centers (and resident punching bags) of their respective shows

Hear me out: Lonny is Hunters’ comedic engine, and Ted’s quest to find love propelled How I Met Your Mother.

While Hunters centers on Logan Lerman’s Jonah, it’s Lonny who balances out the otherwise grim show with his jokes and groan-inducing analogies. Additionally, much of the humor comes from Lonny’s fellow Nazi hunters ribbing him for his bygone career and vice-loving ways.

Ted was also a popular punching bag for his friends, due to his romantic failures and personal quirks. The gang rightfully teased our protagonist for so many things, like dating a litany of women who were obviously wrong for him (Zoey, Jeanette, Becky, KAREN), or his style choices. Remember the mustache that made him look like a “Persian nightclub owner,” according to Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris)? Or the red cowboy boots that a dozen people told Ted he couldn’t pull off? Or the blond hair?!

How I Met Your Mother
Credit: CBS

A flair for the dramatic

Lonny brings his acting chops to aid the hunters’ missions. Case in point: They hit a bank they believe holds Nazi secrets, and he has to pretend to be a bank robber. Even after he fakes his own death and Harriet (Kate Mulvany) successfully disarms the security guards, Lonny won’t come back to life until she says, “And, scene.” What a drama queen.

On HIMYM, architect Ted was a snobby cinephile (not liking Annie Hall was one of his many dating deal-breakers) and still held on to his theater roots. Even in adulthood, Ted had the tendency to dramatically quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, to the dismay of his friends. In one episode, he captivated an entire room by reciting Dante in the original Italian, until he realized it was pretentious as hell.

Credit: Christopher Saunders/Amazon

A love of puns

Lonny and Ted share a love of wordplay that tends to alienate others around them. Some of Lonny’s highlights: “Tits like vanilla ice cream, [and] I had two scoops,” “Gefilte-d her fish,” and “Jew-per hero.”

Ted also adored punny jokes, and put off at least one potential love interest by calling her “mighty shellfish,” in reference to sharing seafood. He and Robin (Cobie Smulders) also drove the rest of their friends insane as the only two people to enjoy the use of “general” and other military ranks in everyday conversation.

Talking a big talk

When they first meet in episode 2, Lonny tells Jonah that “if any of these dicks mess with you, I will… I’m not gonna f— with them because they scare the s— out of me. But I will definitely be like, ‘They suck,’ behind their backs.”

And with Ted, despite naming his feet “common sense” and “reasonable discourse” and telling girls he could fight, when it came down to it, he often ran away from any real challenges. Like when he and Barney pretended they took down Doug the bartender, but it was actually Marshall (Jason Segel) who singlehandedly beat up the giant.

Serial romancers

Lonny basically hits on everybody and their grandma (like Jonah’s) on Hunters, and Ted was no angel either. While Barney was painted as the Casanova of the group, Ted was just as much of a player. He had so many conquests — under the guise of “finding the one” — that in recounting his stories to his kids, he had to dub one of his flings “blah blah” because he lost count of all the women. It makes you question his self-proclaimed reputation as a starry-eyed romantic, not to mention his decision to regale his children with so many inappropriate stories.

Terrible Spanish skills

If you feel bad about your rusty high-school-level Spanish, take comfort in the fact that at least you’ve never employed the phrase “We got mas grande s— on our plato, hombre” or “Any dia of the semana” (or maybe you have, I don’t know your life), unlike Lonny.

And while Ted bragged to Lily (Alyson Hannigan) about his language skills, what he really said to her, translated in English, was “I’m not half-sick at my name is Spanish.”

Radnor’s forgiven, though, as he gave us Ted’s doppelgänger, the Mexican wrestler who battled robots.

How I Met Your Mother
Credit: CBS

Insecure as hell

In his own words, Lonny is a “Tony Award-winning insecure actor” who constantly seeks validation from his teammates and recognition from strangers. It takes Harriet boosting his ego for Lonny to go through with their plot to foil the Nazis’ plans.

And let’s not even mention Ted, who in season 2 of HIMYM was so threatened by his girlfriend Robin keeping gifts from old flames (even though he did the same thing) that she had to give away her beloved dogs for him. Or the time he scored glowing reviews from nearly all his students, yet one so-so evaluation sent him over the edge. I mean, come on!

The final verdict

I’m right! Think about it: Ted could’ve been Lonny in another era. But another theory is also possible: Ted is half-Jewish and was born in 1978, and with Lonny being a serial schmoozer, a dalliance with Ted’s mom, Virginia, in the ’70s could’ve led to a son who carried many of his traits, unbeknownst to him.

So what have we learned from this, besides that I have way too much time on my hands? In my book, despite all their similarities, Lonny clearly comes out the winner by comparison. He’s working to overcome addiction and puts aside his baggage to fight freakin’ Nazis. I can’t even imagine Ted wielding guns, let alone a butter knife.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…
How I Met Your Mother

Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly remind us all of the joy of slap bets

  • TV Show
  • 7
stream service