8-Bit Christmas' Neil Patrick Harris Only Recently Discovered A Link Between His New Movie And How I Met Your Mother

In the scope of Neil Patrick Harris’ career, How I Met Your Mother is undeniable in its significance. The actor signed on to the sitcom in the wake of his beloved cameo in Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, and for nine years he starred as suit-loving lothario Barney Stinson – appearing in over 200 episodes. That’s obviously a lot of time to commit to one project… and yet he was totally surprised earlier this month when I pointed out a link between the show and his newest movie, 8-Bit Christmas.

In the new family comedy, Neil Patrick Harris plays the adult version of protagonist Jake Doyle, and at the start of the film he is featured in the present taking his daughter (Sophia Reid-Gantzert) to his childhood home in Chicago for Christmas. It’s a circumstance that leads him to tell her a story about a particularly eventful holiday season from when he was a kid – and while that doesn’t really describe Harris’ role on How I Met Your Mother, it most certainly does describe the part of the narrator on the CBS show, played by Bob Saget.

The whole structure of the series is based on a father telling his children the story of how he met their mother (hence the title), but Neil Patrick Harris didn’t make that particular connection until I recently pointed it out during the 8-Bit Christmas virtual press day. Chuckling at the observation, he said,

That's so funny! I didn't even think about that. That's so funny. I sort of took it much more in a Christmas Story narrator mode, but yeah, you're totally right, with voiceover adult talking to kids about story from the past.

Of course, further differentiating the movie from the TV show is that 8-Bit Christmas’ main narrative is set in the 1980s – centering on the attempts by young Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley) to get a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. Rather than being about 30-year-old hijinks and romantic relationships, the movie centers on a cast of pre-teen characters who do everything they can to get the year’s ultimate Christmas present.

Considering the link, Neil Patrick Harris continued by throwing a wonderful complement at his How I Met Your Mother co-star, adding,

If I can have the longevity of a Bob Saget and only maybe with a quarter of the filth, I will be a very successful person indeed.

Co-starring Steve Zahn, June Diane Raphael, and David Cross, 8-Bit Christmas is arriving on HBO Max this Wednesday, November 24. To discover more movies that are scheduled to arrive both in theaters and on streaming between now and the end of December, head on over to our 2021 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.