|How I Met Your Mother character|
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
|Created by||Carter Bays
|Portrayed by||Neil Patrick Harris
Riley Thomas Stewart
|Nickname(s)||Mr. Awesome, The Barnacle, Barn Door, The Stinstonian, Swarley, Swarles (Barkley), Swarhili, B-Dawg, Stinson-natti, Barnman, Nestor Diaz, B-Nasty, The Barnstormer|
(Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything)
|Family||Loretta Stinson (mother)
Jerome Whittaker (father)
Cheryl Whittaker (step-mother)
James Stinson (maternal half-brother)
Jerome "J. J." Whittaker, Jr. (paternal half-brother)
Carly Whittaker (paternal half-sister)
|Significant other(s)||Shannon (ex-girlfriend)
Robin Scherbatsky (fiancée)
Quinn Garvey (ex-fiancée)
|Relatives||Eli Stinson (nephew)
Sadie Stinson (niece)
Barnabus "Barney" Stinson (born 1976) is a fictional character created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for the CBS television series How I Met Your Mother, portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris. One of the main characters of the show, Barney is known to enjoy being single, wearing suits, and playing laser tag. He often uses different techniques and ideas to have sex with women, which is one of the show's central themes. During the later seasons, however, he does mature and get involved in serious relationships.
The character has been well received by critics throughout the series' run, and has been credited for much of the show's success. He is credited for the "Lemon Law" of first dates as well as the popularity of the "Suit Up!" concept, and is considered the show's breakout character.
- 1 Development
- 2 Character
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Catchphrases
- 5 Reception
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 External links
The show's creators envisioned Barney as what Bays later described as a "large, John Belushi-type character"; nonetheless, Megan Branman, the casting director for How I Met Your Mother, invited Harris to audition. He assumed that he was invited solely because the two were friends and did not believe he had a chance of winning the role. Harris later said: "Since I [considered] myself the long shot, I didn't care that much, and I think that allowed a freedom." His audition centered on a scene playing laser tag, and Harris attempted a dive roll, accidentally knocking over a chair and slamming into a wall in the process. CBS executives enjoyed his playing, and Harris was quickly offered the part.
Barney Stinson is one of five main characters on How I Met Your Mother. He is a histrionic in his mid-thirties, wears a suit, likes women with "daddy issues" and is frequently willing to offer his (sometimes hypocritical) opinion. Throughout the earlier seasons, Barney is a huge womanizer, and has been described as a "high functioning sociopath" by his best friend, Ted Mosby, who wants to settle down. Stinson has a plethora of strategies and rules designed to meet women, sleep with them, and discard them. Through several seasons of the show, four of the main characters were couples, as Ted began dating Robin Scherbatsky and Ted's roommate Marshall Eriksen became engaged and later married to Lily Aldrin. This left Stinson the only single character, and, according to Harris, Stinson was "resentful" that the other characters had paired up. Later on, in season 5, he dated Robin. They end up breaking up not long after, once they both realize they are making one another miserable.
Harris describes Barney as a man who "likes to create crazy situations and then sit back and watch it all go down." He tends to be opportunistic and manipulative, and will attempt to manipulate a situation so that it goes his way. In the episode "Shelter Island", for example, Barney successfully convinces Robin (in whom he was exhibiting romantic interest) to come to Ted and Stella's wedding, even though it was not in the couple's best interests to do so. He is also highly competitive, and will take on "challenges" to complete (sometimes) outlandish tasks in order to prove his worth. He is proud and stubborn, and attempts to stand by his word no matter what. In "I Heart NJ", for example, he refuses to put down his fist unless someone offers him a fist bump. By the end of the episode, he has the same fist elevated in a sling after struggling to keep his fist up throughout the episode. Although he thinks of himself as worldly, Barney is extremely naive at times, believing many lies his mother told him well into adulthood, such as believing that Bob Barker is his father.
Barney, like Harris, is an illusionist. His favorite types of magic tricks include fire, which his friends seem to hate, as seen in the tenth episode of the second season, "Single Stamina" and in the fourth episode of the fourth season, "Intervention". Barney uses them mostly to pick up women. His most common method of picking up women is telling them elaborate lies about himself, often using an alias. Many of his schemes for picking up women are in a book he has written called "The Playbook", which is exposed in the episode "The Playbook". He has commitment issues, as evidenced in his reluctance to put a label on his relationship with Robin and the fact that she is one of the few women he has actually dated since the show started.
Barney is very well-connected and is the most affluent member of the group. He frequently buys expensive items—such as a last-minute plane ticket to San Francisco, thousands of dollars in postage stamps, or two televisions specifically for smashing in frustration—in the spur of the moment. He is also something of a metrosexual; he waxes his chest, enjoys manicures and has an extensive knowledge of designer labels and gourmet food. However, he is also seen to have a gambling problem that he occasionally gets under control, only to relapse as seen in several episodes such as "Atlantic City", where he has Chinese Triad gambling friends, and "Monday Night Football".
As far as talent goes, Barney has exhibited eloquence, wit and creativity numerous times throughout the series. He speaks several languages, using what is said to be Ukrainian (actually Russian) with his tailor, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean at least twice in business deals with shady North Koreans. He has extensive skill with business, as evidenced when thinks that an imprecision in a contract would result in war was "a Tuesday" for him in "The Goat". He apparently also has above-average video-editing skills; he created and edited his entire video resume all by himself. He seems to be a talented website designer, as shown in "The Playbook". As shown on more than one occasion, he is proficient at playing the piano, as are Ted and Marshall. He seems to have a thorough understanding of human behavior and uses this mainly to manipulate situations to his advantage (mostly to pick up women). Several episodes also showcase many of Barney's crazier abilities, such as his physical ability to complete the New York City marathon without a single day of training (although this seems to be through sheer willpower rather than physical strength, as his legs went numb while he took the subway moments later), being able to punch through walls, stay under water for up to 12 minutes and being knowledgeable enough to guess the exact price of prizes on The Price Is Right. He also juggles knives in "Doppelgangers", is able to sense how long it has been since a woman has last had sex and has taken classes to be an expert Teppanyaki chef in the episode "Ducky Tie". Despite his eclectic and prodigious talents, Barney is lacking in several common skills, such as driving a car ("Arrivederci, Fiero") or using a screwdriver ("Legendaddy"), although he seems to have learned the former over the course of the series, as he tries to prove in "As Fast As She Can" that he can get out of a speeding ticket. In "Robin 101", Barney stated "They said I had A-D... something. Can we have class outside?" referring to ADHD, which explains his habit of zoning out when people are talking to him.
Although The Early Show described him as "utterly devoid of morality", Barney lives by the "Bro Code", his own code of rules. Despite his overall questionable character, according to creator Craig Thomas, Barney is "a pretty fragile character who's really afraid of being alone. He just wants people to like him, to be important to people, and to have disciples who follow his word." He has displayed acts of kindness on multiple occasions, such as reuniting Lily and Marshall and preventing Marshall from sleeping with other women. Although coming across as a very strong character with a penchant for committing daring and wild feats, Barney has an extreme fear of spiders, as shown in the season 2 episode "First Time in New York". He also has a habit of eating ice cream when he is upset, although this is common among all the main cast.
Throughout the series' history, one major character development is apparent in Barney: At the beginning of the show, his character is an almost-sociopathic womanizer who completely objectifies sex and women and wants nothing to do with dating and relationships. Although he does date Robin in Season 5, he continues his promiscuous ways immediately after their breakup. But later on, his character undergoes a noticeable maturity period, especially in Seasons 6 and 7, where he begins to confront his personal issues, like his relationship with his father, and his approaches towards dating and relationships with women also change. He realizes that he does indeed have a soft side, who can really love and care about a woman, as apparent when he is dating Nora and then his admittance of wanting to be with Robin. By the time late Season 7 rolls around, Barney has finally "grown up," and has now warmed to the idea of a commitment and marriage, culminating in his proposal to Quinn, which is a major surprise to the rest of the gang. Although he briefly retreats to his escapades after his breakup with Quinn, he does make one major final leap in his maturity when he burns The Playbook and proposes to Robin in Season 8's two-part episode "The Final Page," after finally admitting to himself that he was still in love with her. Robin accepts and they plan their wedding in the second half of the season.
Childhood and family
As revealed in "Zoo or False," Barney was born 7 years after the first man landed on the Moon, thus making 1976 his year of birth. He was raised in Port Richmond, Staten Island by his mother Loretta (younger version voiced by Megan Mullally, played by Frances Conroy), who was apparently very promiscuous. His father proved to be an ongoing mystery in the series. When Barney was young, he asked his mother who his father was, and as The Price is Right happened to be on TV at the time, she pointed to Bob Barker and replied "Oh, I don't know. That guy." Barney believed the lie wholeheartedly, and years later confronted Barker in the season 2 episode "Showdown" with the intention of naming Barker as his father on national television, until he panicked at the last minute and could not go through with it. As a child, Barney was terrible at sports, and from various episodes it is shown he had few friends (one scene shows that no one attended his birthday party). In the episode "The Leap," Lily reveals that Barney planned on being a violinist when he was young.
In "Natural History", it is mentioned that a man named Jerome Whittaker, who up to then Barney believed to be his uncle, signed a form claiming to be Barney's father. Barney finally met Jerome (John Lithgow) again in the episode "Legendaddy" and learned that he is in fact his father. Upon meeting, Jerome felt forced to act in the same confident, womanizing manner as Barney in order to impress him, and also because Barney seemingly refused to see him any other way. Barney eventually broke down and accused Jerome of walking out on him (Barney's mother forbade Jerome from seeing Barney due to his drug use and wild lifestyle). Jerome, who could offer no excuse, apologized and pleaded with Barney to allow him to be a part of his life, which Barney was open to, but apparently not ready for yet. Later in the sixth season, in "Hopeless", Jerome tries to impress Barney by acting like his old self, but later reveals he was just pretending. Barney, nevertheless, willingly listens to advice from Jerome about settling down in his older days.
Barney has three half-siblings: James (played by Wayne Brady), from his mother's side, a gay African American who is getting a divorce and has with an adopted son and daughter (as revealed in the season seven episode "The Rebound Girl"); Carly (played by Ashley Benson), a university student from his father's side with whom Ted hooks up, on Barney's insistence in "Ring Up!", and Jerome Jr. (JJ), from his father's side, who is 11. He also has a female cousin named Leslie, as seen in the episode "Okay Awesome".
Throughout the series Barney has claimed to have attended MIT. In the final season, Barney explained that MIT is an acronym for the Magicians Institute of Teaneck, not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worn a Cornell Big Red T-Shirt, indicating that he may have gone there, instead.
Adult life prior to 2005 ("Pilot")
"Game Night" reveals that Barney had once been an innocent, idealistic young man who wanted to join the Peace Corps with his first serious girlfriend, Shannon. When she left him for a suit-wearing womanizer, James arranged for the 23-year-old Barney to lose his virginity to their mother's friend, Rhonda "the Man Maker" French. After he slept with Rhonda and was led to believe he satisfied her, he became a similarly suit-wearing womanizer, even going so far as to adopt some of his rival's catchphrases. He lives by a strict code known as the Bro Code.
Barney is also revealed to have had a terrible gambling problem, enabled by his mother, who is a bookmaker. However, he assures the group that it is not a problem because he is so good at it. He revealed in "Atlantic City" that he lost his entire life savings playing a Chinese game. He has also apparently lost every one of his many bets on the Super Bowl. He will go to any lengths to win a bet, even if it takes one year for just $10.
In the series (2005–present)
While Barney's softer, generous side is not often apparent, it is not always relegated to flashbacks. When Marshall and Lily break their engagement in season one, Barney lures women away from Marshall so that he can remain faithful to the woman he truly loves. It is revealed that it was Barney who convinced Lily to come back to New York, even buying her a plane ticket home. Barney's relationship with women evolves throughout the series. He is notoriously the womanizer of the group. However, in the later seasons, he begins to desire a more conventional relationship, as evidenced by his proposal to both Quinn Garvey and Robin Scherbatsky He is also known to write a blog. In an allusion to Harris' role in Doogie Howser, M.D., the music played during his blogging sessions is the theme song from the show.
In the final season, it is revealed that Barney's job is to "Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything" (P.L.E.A.S.E.), setting him up to be the fall guy for his company's nefarious activities. Unknown to his company, he has been conspiring with the federal government as a long-term plan to get revenge on his boss, who stole his girlfriend prior to the start of the series. Although in his blog he also mentions himself as the Director of WHO DID THIS. The company he works for (Altrucell) was said to be the world's largest producer of the felt covers of tennis balls (although Future Ted implies that the company's main profits come from other, less innocuous sources, such as logging, oil drilling, small arms, tobacco farming and missile construction.) Barney states in season 1 episode 16 that as a lawyer, Marshall would make more money in three months than he and Lily make in a year because his company has many lawsuits against it. In the season 3 episode "The Bracket," it was mentioned that he is good enough at lying to avoid perjury charges. As of Season 4, his company was involved in a hostile takeover of Goliath National Bank (GNB) and consequently shifted him to the management team of the bank, but he remains a powerful executive and continues to use the same office he has had since it was first shown in Season 1. Despite this, he has suggested there is the possibility he will one day wash up on shore with no teeth or fingerprints and supposedly has come under attack by ninjas in the past during work. In Season 4, during the episode "Happily Ever After", Barney states to a woman that he is an "Attorney in Law", though this was probably just part of a pick-up line as he immediately followed it with "Let's talk about getting you off". His video resume was published in Season 4 episode "The Possimpible". In a season 8 episode, it was implied that the full extent of Barney's career might never be revealed. Whatever his profession, Barney is apparently quite wealthy and is undeniably the richest out of the five. He lives in an upscale apartment and is rich enough to own two 300 inch televisions shipped from Japan as well as expensive memorabilia, including an Imperial Stormtrooper costume from the Star Wars films. Barney is also shown to be a fan of the rock groups AC/DC, Van Halen and Bon Jovi.
The season 4 final episode "The Leap" sees Barney finally confront Robin about his feelings. Robin attempts to "Mosby" Barney, only to have Lily tell Barney that Robin had deliberately done that to drive him away. Barney and Robin confront each other in a hospital room where Barney finally tells Robin he loves her.
The two continued to date awkwardly, not wanting to give specific names to their relationship. Eventually though, the two embraced their dating life - even considering themselves the best couple (between them and Marshall and Lily). The relationship began to bring out the worst in each other. Barney took on poor eating habits and Robin stopped taking care of herself because of her frustration with Barney. The two eventually decided to break up and resume their friendship.
Episode "Twin Beds" sees Barney reconsidering his relationship with Robin, because Don is now dating Robin and has asked her to move in with him. In spite of Ted, Barney decides he wants Robin back and manages to convince Ted that he does too. The episode ends with neither Barney or Ted managing to get anywhere with Robin who has decided to be with Don and to effectively cut them both out of her life. Barney is still resolved to "get" Robin and she returns in the following episode, "Robots Versus Wrestlers."
The episode "Doppelgangers" has Barney masquerading as a cab driver to further his goal of sleeping with a lady from every country. A task in which he has not yet succeeded and later becomes the object of Lily's fixation with finding a Barney doppelganger. While Barney masquerades as both a cab driver and an Estonian knife juggler, Barney's doppelganger is not seen in this episode. The episode "Bad News" finally revealed Barney's doppelganger, a fertility doctor that Marshall and Lily see.
In 2008, the book The Bro Code, ostensibly written by Barney, was published.
In 2010, Barney was featured in a Super Bowl commercial that showed him in the stands at the Super Bowl with a sign stating "Hey Ladies Call Barney Stinson 1-877-987-6401." A call to the number results in a recorded message inviting you to meet him at McLaren's Pub on Monday, October 12, 2016, even though that date falls on a Wednesday. The number was disconnected as of 2013. The scene was worked into the show itself a day later. The letters in bold, C, B and S, are the name of the show's production house, CBS.
Ted and Barney met in McLaren's bathroom in 2001 and Barney took it upon himself to teach Ted how to live. Barney acts as his wingman, constantly introducing him to women through the game "Have You Met Ted?". When Barney admits to sleeping with Robin, Ted furiously lashes out at him and ends their friendship. They are reunited after Barney is hit by a bus running to the hospital after Ted's cab accident. Despite this hiccup, Ted and Barney's friendship is implied to be long-lasting and with deep roots in Future Ted's life: Ted's future children know Barney as "Uncle Barney", implying a certain degree of closeness, and it's implied in Challenge Accepted that Barney's best man will be Ted, thus giving him the occasion to meet the titular "mother." Although they both at some point were after Robin, Ted ultimately gives Barney his blessing, by setting up the circumstances for their engagement, in The Final Page.
Barney's relationship with Robin was his second major one (that we know of), and the first after becoming a suited-up, well-groomed bachelor. His first ever real relationship though was with Shannon, as shown in the episode "Game Night." After his breakup with Robin his next serious relationship was with Nora and his fourth was with Quinn Garvey before reuniting with Robin.
Signs of some sort of connection between Barney and Robin, could be seen back in the season one episode "Zip, Zip, Zip," where Barney is teamed with Robin because he is unable to use Ted as his wingman. Robin is also alone during this episode and decided to act as Barney's wingman leaving to her attempting to set up Barney. It is perhaps the last part of this episode that lays the groundwork for any future relationship, as Barney decides to go 'bare pickle' in front of Robin as a precursor to sex, only to have Robin state that she has feelings for Ted. Throughout the first three seasons, there were instances such as in "Moving Day" where Barney discovers that Robin isn't wearing makeup and says, "Holy crap, you're beautiful!;" and in "Ten Sessions," where Barney mentioned his proposition to Robin for sex and implied that he was still bothered by its failure, where it was hinted that Barney was attracted to Robin, though he never acted upon the attraction after "Zip, Zip, Zip."
In the season 3 episode, "Sandcastles in the Sand," Barney and Robin sleep together for the first time after watching her second Robin Sparkles music video. However, both are unnerved and Robin eventually reveals what happened to Ted, who tells Barney he does not want to be friends anymore. In the season 3 finale, Barney has a horrible bus accident while rushing to the hospital to see Ted despite their feud, and the gang gets back together. Marshall mentions that during Ted's car accident, Ted had seen his life and the things he loved flash before his eyes. He asks Barney what he saw. As the group laughs at the possibilities, Barney realizes his feelings for Robin.
In the season four premiere, "Do I Know You?," Barney admits to Lily that he has feelings for Robin, and continues to struggle with them throughout the season. Finally, in the season four finale, "The Leap," Robin discovers Barney's feelings for her and eventually decides to "Mosby" him—scaring him off by saying "I love you" too soon. However, Barney discovers her intentions and confronts her, leading to a revealing discussion that ends with a kiss.
This relationship came to realization in season 5 in the episode "Definitions" and continued until "The Rough Patch." This episode concluded with Robin and Barney deciding to "become friends again". After their breakup, Barney dives back into his bachelor life. However, in the episode "Twin Beds," Barney decides despite his better instincts - and Ted's advice - to continue pursuing Robin.
In an interview with the creators of the show, they stated that if they had their time again they would not have broken up the pairing of Barney and Robin so soon. As episodes are written months in advance, the chemistry between the two characters was never realized until it was too late to do anything about it. The writers have stated that they decided the characters would end up together during the summer between the 5th and 6th season, and spent the next two years leading up to their reconciliation.
In Season 6, there are moments where Barney is shown to still have some feelings for Robin although nothing as notable as was depicted in season 4. In the season 6 premiere, "Big Days", Barney makes a comment that Robin who is currently still getting over Don has "lost it". Robin seems to take this message to heart and leaves returning later dressed in a sundress where it appears she is using it as a bait to see if she can still pick up men. This tactic proves successful and seems to have been done for the benefit of Barney. Barney compliments her on her change and beauty which she accepts.
In the season 6 episode, "Subway Wars", Barney is seen to help Robin win the bet to get to a restaurant where Woody Allen is supposedly eating. According to the recollection of Future Ted, Barney deliberately trips Ted as they are running neck to neck with Robin. Future Ted surmises that Barney did this as Robin was feeling quite depressed and sad about her life in New York. Earlier in the same episode, Barney does not listen to Robin as she attempts to talk to him about an unknown topic. He uses her in one of his 'plays' and she reacts badly to this. Barney's actions at the end of the episode could be seen as trying to make up for this, or perhaps because of his latent feelings for Robin.
"Natural History" shows Barney and Robin together as they attend a Black Tie Dinner held at a museum. They spend most of the episode trying to one up each other by touching and misusing items in the museum until finally both are caught by security. Barney is shown to have caused significant damage to some exhibits when younger to the surprise of Robin. Later he learns that the man who took him to the Museum was his father. Barney is seen talking to Robin as she tries to ease his mind, before he asks her to not tell anyone about his potential father.
When Barney reconnected with his father, in "Hopeless", he places the group in false personas meant to impress his father, and hints at remaining feelings for Robin when he says, "My dad will say, 'Why don't you marry Robin? You guys were cute together. Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her.' ...Uh, no thanks." In the same episode, Barney opens up to his father and confesses his dissatisfaction with his life, and his worry that he is too far gone to break out of it. His father tells him that the secret to settling down is to find the right woman, and says, "Maybe you'll meet her tomorrow." Barney replies, "Maybe I've met her already."
During the final episode of the 6th season "Challenge Accepted", Robin and Barney rekindle their chemistry in desperate attempt to prevent Ted Mosby from pursuing a meaningless relationship with Zoey, agreeing that, as far as they both left their past behind, they may still have lingering feelings to each other. However, Robin ultimately decides to pressure Barney into pursuing a more meaningful relationship with Nora. When Barney asks Nora for coffee, Robin is shown to have a smile on her face, but it suddenly changes into a sad look—presumably because it pains her to see Barney have feelings for another woman.
In "Tick Tick Tick", Robin is revealed to have reciprocated feelings for Barney, after the two sleep together, cheating on their significant others at the time. As a result, Barney breaks up with Nora in order for them to be in a relationship. However, Robin decides not to break up with Kevin, leaving Barney heartbroken. In "The Rebound Girl", Robin tells Barney she is pregnant. This is continued in "Symphony of Illumination", with Robin telling him that she hadn't had sex with Kevin yet; if she is pregnant, Barney would be the father. However, they find out she isn't pregnant. (She's infertile, in fact.) This upsets Robin. It is she who tells the story to her 'imaginary' kids. Meanwhile, Barney and Robin declare to be friends again. Later he declares he's moved on from Robin in "No Pressure", resigned that she does not reciprocate his feelings anymore.
As Barney's relationship with Quinn his 'stripper' girlfriend develops, Barney and Robin share fewer scenes together. In "The Broath", Robin is in the plot to break Barney and Quinn up when the group decides that Barney is moving into the relationship too fast. This episode marks the start of a change in Barney's relationship with Quinn as he gets more and more perturbed by the fact she is a stripper.
Despite his engagement to Quinn in the season seven finale, the same episode suggests that Barney may marry Robin. One of the final conversations in the episode occurs between Barney and Robin in Marshall and Lily's apartment. Jokingly Barney suggests that they leave the apartment together and escape across the border (referencing a previous conversation in "Tick Tick Tick"). Robin seems happy for Barney and Quinn. The reveal that it is Robin and not Quinn who is the bride-to-be in the last screen shot indicates that the Quinn engagement will not last (his breakup with Quinn is confirmed in the second episode of the eighth season).
In the season eight episode "The Final Page", Barney proposes to Robin on the rooftop of the World Wide News building after revealing the final page of "The Playbook" is a play known as "The Robin." It is revealed that Barney had staged many incidents (including his fake relationship with Patrice) during the season to further push Robin to pursue him one last time. After Robin freaks out over the play and her inability to trust him, he tells her to turn the page over and reveals the final part of the play, "Hope she says yes". As Barney reveals the ring and proposes, Robin accepts and the two share a kiss on top of the World Wide News building while it begins to snow.
Barney and Robin have some ups and downs in the months leading up to their wedding. Both get cold feet on a few occasions. However, when they leave for their wedding weekend, 56 hours before their wedding, they both hurry off excitedly. From flash forwards, the audience knows that both the bride and groom panic on their wedding day before walking down the aisle.
The final season of HIMYM is the 56 hour weekend leading up to their wedding. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that The Mother is the one who convinces Barney to pursue Robin again in Platonish.
It is not known how Barney and Lily officially met, but Barney first spotted her walking into MacLaren's and dares Marshall to hit on her, not knowing that Marshall was already dating her. Though the episode "The Mermaid Theory" shows Lily's reluctance to hang out with Barney alone, the two have shared a good friendship, with Lily taking a weird obsession into Barney's sex life. However, the reluctance to hang with Barney is shown a side-effect of Barney himself mocking openly her pregnancy, thus challenging her traditional view on relationships and family: Barney himself has exploited Lily's traditional side in his dating schemes, as in "The Playbook", where he willingly shocks Lily by showing his craziest pick-up lines to fake afterwards genuine regret and a desire of change, gaining Lily's sympathy enough to score with a girl out of sheer pity. In "World's Greatest Couple", during her and Marshall's separation, Lily moves in with Barney after Ted gives her Barney's spare key. She proves valuable to Barney as she helps ward off clingy one night stands. But the two find themselves waking up one morning in the same bed. Though they did not have sex, Barney realizes that they are in a relationship and has Lily move out. In "Miracles", Lily is the first to hear that Barney was also in an accident on his way to the hospital to visit Ted. Barney goes to Lily as a confidant, revealing to her in "Do I Know You?" that he has feelings for Robin, and that he once planned on being a violinist. In the episode "Stuff" Barney, Ted, Robin, and Marshal go to see a play Lily is performing in. They all agree that the play is awful, but Barney is the only one who admits his true feelings. Lily is hurt and tells Barney that if he were in a bad play she would only say good things about it, prompting Barney to create his own play designed specifically to get back at her entitled "Suck it Lily", which mostly consists of him saying the word moist (a word Lily had previously expressed disgust towards) repeatedly while squirting her with water. Lily eventually admits defeat.
Marshall and Barney boast a good friendship, even though Marshall is sometimes irritated by Barney's actions and Barney's annoyance of Marshall's plan to settle down. Barney is initially hostile towards Marshall, as Barney believes he's Ted's best friend. In "The Best Burger in New York", he gives Marshall a job in Goliath National Banks's legal department after Marshall failed to receive a new job. However, when Marshall joins Zoey's efforts to save the Arcadian, a resentful Barney starts an openly antagonistic campaign of childish pranks and open fights, to which Marshall retaliates by sabotaging Barney's dates: they're able to put their differences aside in "Landmarks", when Marshall, upon being made aware that Barney's work depends from the Arcadian's demolition, willingly agrees to sabotage his own efforts and rush in Barney's help. Despite this major hiccup, and despite Barney's jealousy towards the long-lasting friendship between Ted and Marshall, Barney is also close to Marshall, acting as his wingman in "The Scorpion and the Toad", inadvertently stealing two of Marshall's hookup's and purposely stealing one in a long winded gamble to keep Lily and Marshall from splitting. As Barney pushed his efforts so far to reach Lily and convince her to get back with Marshall,Barney is rewarded by being their co-best man, revealed in "Bachelor Party".
In the season 6 episode, "Desperation Day", Barney meets Nora, Robin's coworker at World Wide News. He is immediately attracted to her, and lies that he wants to settle down as a ploy to get her into bed. When she presses him to make a commitment, he mocks her romanticism as "desperate"; hurt, she breaks up with him. Robin claims that Barney is beginning to like Nora, which he denies. Robin later invites Nora to play laser tag with Barney, and he soon goes on his first ever Valentine's Day date with her. In the next episode, "Garbage Island", Barney tells the gang that his date with Nora went well, but he is not going to call her. Robin catches Barney smiling whenever he mentions Nora, and gives him a napkin with Nora's phone number so he can call her. Robin eventually dares him to sleep with her to prove he does not like Nora. Barney shows up at Ted and Robin's apartment, which infuriates Robin because she had been encouraging him to pursue Nora. However, Barney reveals he had actually come to ask for Nora's phone number; pleased, Robin gives it to him and tells him to go for it. In "A Change of Heart", Barney and Nora are about to go on a date when he catches a cold, and she nurses him back to health. Later when they go on their date, Nora tells him that she wants to settle down and he says he wants to, too. Barney also blackmails the group into lying to Nora in order to play himself up. Nora returns and tells the gang that her parents are in town and invites Barney to meet them at brunch the next day. However, Barney later revealed to Nora that he was lying about wanting to get married and criticized her for telling the other person in a relationship exactly what to expect to happen. In response, Nora slaps him. Later Barney realizes that he really wants to settle down with Nora, and is about to tell this to Nora in front of her parents, but chickens out. In "Challenge Accepted", Barney bumps into Nora and asks her for a cup of coffee when Robin pressures him.
In the season 7 premiere episode, "The Best Man", Barney gets a call back from Nora after he called her five times, and with Robin's help she agrees to meet him. In "The Naked Truth", Barney meets Nora with a neck-brace to get sympathy from her, but she instantly realizes he is lying. She asks him to tell her every lie he told in order for women to sleep with him. When Nora is about to leave, disgusted, he asks her if he can call her, and she asks him how he thinks he still has a chance with her. Barney says that it's because she sat through the date, and he wants to change for her. He also says to prove he isn't lying, he won't leave the diner until he gets a second date with her. Barney stays at the diner for hours and even sleeps there and wakes up to see Nora standing in front of him. After that, Barney and Nora become a full-fledged couple. In the episode, "Tick Tick Tick", Barney cheats on Nora with Robin and confesses his infidelity, but cannot bring himself to say that it meant nothing. They then break up, as Barney now wants to pursue a relationship with Robin.
James is Barney's black gay half brother, currently separated from his husband Tom and father to two adopted children. Like Barney, James enjoys Laser Tag, fine suits, and maintaining a blog. Also like Barney, James also grew up not knowing who his father was, although his mother suggested several black celebrities: Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson, James Earl Jones, and Meadowlark Lemon. It wasn't until 2010 when Loretta moved out of James and Barney's childhood home that he discovered a clue that led him to his birth father: a picture of him and Barney with "Your Son" written on the back, addressed to Sam Gibbs. He subsequently was united with his father.
As a young woman, she slept around a lot. As a result, Barney and James grew up not knowing who their fathers were. She also tended to tell outrageous lies to her sons to cover up bad news, such as telling a young Barney that his biological father is Bob Barker when a flashback revealed child Barney asking her about his dad while The Price Is Right happened to be on TV.
Sam Gibbs, the father of Barney's half-brother James, works as a minister at a Long Island church running a program that helps people get back on their feet, providing them with food, a place to live, clothes and job interviews. In "False Positive", Barney makes a large money donation to the program, and donates dozens of suits.
As a child, Barney believed Jerome to be his "Uncle Jerry" with whom he would occasionally spend time. That was until July 23, 1981. On a trip to the New York Museum of Natural History, young Barney used a rib from a dinosaur exhibit and used it to knock down the giant model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling. "Uncle Jerry" picked up Barney from security signing forms indicating that he was actually Barney's father. This was the last time Barney saw Whittaker as Barney's mother was so upset that he let Barney commit such an act of vandalism that he stopped coming to visit. The two were reunited in season six and while the initial meeting was rocky at best ("Legendaddy"), they managed to reconcile later in the season ("Hopeless"). They have kept in contact since then as Jerry calls Barney to check up on him during Hurricane Irene in the season seven episode "Disaster Averted" and Jerry and his wife show up at the inn for Barney's wedding.
In season seven Barney meets a stripper named Quinn, because Ted was on a date and brought Barney for the date's friend, Quinn, who sees right through Barney's schemes. Barney goes on talking about her constantly until he realizes he likes her, with the help of his friends. While he does not initially know that she is a stripper, he finds out when he sees her at the Lusty Leopard, but is still determined to go out with her. As he is trying to get her to go on a date, Barney ends up paying for lap dance after lap dance, being unknowingly played by Quinn. She does this by getting Barney to pay for a lap dance and then letting him try to convince her why they should go out. As a song nears its end she starts to pretend to give an answer, but then says she has to go unless he pays again. Eventually she ends up giving in, and while Barney's friends are initially skeptical about her intentions, they end up realizing that she and Barney are perfect for each other. They date for some time and Barney gets extremely jealous, even offering her a job at GNB to get her to stop stripping. She says she won't stop stripping unless she's getting married. Anyways, Barney, Marshall, and Ted have a thing every year when they watch a star wars series and in a certain episode with goals of the future, Barney realizes he loves Quinn and he doesn't want to date anyone else. They end up moving in together and plan a trip to Hawaii after Barney leaves with Marshall to go to Atlantic City. At the airport guards find that there is a mysterious box in Barney's bag. He refuses to show them what's in the box, claiming it's because of the "Magicians Code". Once detained Quinn reveals that she quit stripping and implores Barney to show the airport security what is in the box. Barney proposes through a magic trick that is related to the box, which is why he wouldn't show it to security. When he makes the announcement of his engagement, Robin is visibly upset. At the end of Season 7, it is revealed that Robin, not Quinn, is Barney's bride. Near the start of the Season 8, Barney and Quinn break off their engagement when they both realize they can't trust each other. Quinn returns at the end of season 8, for a prank at Barney's bachelor party for his engagement to Robin. While she acts upset to see he is engaged to Robin less than a year after their own engagement is called off, when the ruse is up, she ultimately toasts their nuptials.
In the show's pilot, Barney first utters his most recognizable phrase, "Suit up!", as he tells others to dress like him to go out. The phrase "Suit up!" came from an ad for a suit sale in a later episode about his past with Shannon. According to creator Thomas, this is a sign that Barney "thought of his suit as some kind of superhero outfit that separated him from the pack." The phrase is repeated in many episodes, and is often modified to fit whatever clothing Barney is wearing, such as "Flight suit up!" when telling Ted to be his wingman in Halloween or "Snow suit up!" when inviting Ted to build an igloo in Central Park, mid winter or when Ted is waiting for a woman at a Halloween party " I even penguin suited up for you!" or "Slut up!" when Robin and Lily go to a prom. Also when he was getting naked in Robin's apartment and she asked what he was doing he replied "birthday suiting up!" The phrase has also led to an International Suit-Up Day on Facebook. He used the phrase "law-suit up" in an episode in which Marshall passed the Bar exam.
Besides "Suit up!", he often describes schemes as "Legendary!". He also frequently intersperses the phrase "Wait for it" between syllables of a long word. The season two finale closed with Barney saying "Legen — wait for it...", and he opened season three with "...Dary!". Barney often changes his catch phrase slightly to suit his situation or for comic effect such as "It's gonna be legen — wait for it... and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DARY!" In the sixth season finale, Barney modifies his "legendary" catchphrase while arguing with Ted over which of them will push the button to demolish the Arcadian. Barney says that, since Ted will be standing beside him when he (Barney) pushes the button, Ted will be "Legen — wait for it... — dary adjacent. Legendary adjacent." This even leads to Marshall and Lily giving permission for "Wait For It" to be their first child's middle name.
In the show Barney frequently approaches attractive women with Mosby in tow and asks "Haaaaaave you met Ted?" as a way to start a conversation with strangers. Thomas says that this phrase is based in real life, as a one-time friend of his often used a similar line to meet women. He is also prone to using "Daddy's Home" as either a chat-up line or for grand entrances and "True Story" as an ending to stories or theories that are generally erroneous.
Barney also will tell elaborate, outrageous stories or assert his own "awesomeness", followed by "True story"—especially when the story told is implausible. Also, whenever asked what his job is he replies with a little laugh followed by "Please." His brother James reacted similarly when asked how the two were of different races. Barney often makes up statistics in order to make his arguments sound credible. When he makes up a statistic, he always uses the figure 83%, which is not lost on his friends. When Marshall catches him and calls him out on these bogus facts, he begins his own catchphrase in having 'lawyered' (proven wrong) Barney.
Barney is very well-connected, and seems to know people who can help him procure any number of outlandish items or services. When he is questioned how he's gotten some unusual item for one of his elaborate schemes, he'll dismiss it by saying "I've got a ____ guy." For example, in "The Broath", Ted asks about a record playing at Barney's apartment, and Barney says, "I got some local monks to record this -- Yeah, I got a monk guy." Barney even claims to have a "baby guy" in "The Rebound Girl" when he procures a baby girl so that he and Ted can practice being surrogate parents, although the child is revealed to be Barney's niece, whom he had been babysitting.
Barney states: "When I get sad I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead. True story!" in episode 1, season 2, when talking about Marshall and how sad he is. At one point Barney catches a cold and tell this to Robin: "Whenever I start feeling sick, I stop being sick and be awesome instead." This is something he calls "mind over barney."
Barney is frequently asking for high-fives in different variations, similar to Todd Quinlan in Scrubs. 'Relapse five', 'Phone five', 'Cell Five' 'Tiny five', 'Freeze-frame high-five', 'hypothetical high-five', 'wordplay five', 'arthritis five', 'self five', 'foot five', 'claw five', 'solemn low-five', 'door five', 'Motility-five' and 'high-six' are a few. In his early life as a hippie, he only gave "high twos" (peace signs).
After he makes a double entendre or issues a putdown, Barney typically exclaims "What up!" while attempting to high-five whomever he is speaking to.
Barney often uses the phrase "Challenge accepted" in earlier seasons when someone mentions something that supposedly cannot be done. It is usually quickly followed by "the challenger" telling Barney they were not remotely challenging him, but Barney ignores this. This can be seen in "Aldrin Justice" when Marshall mentions his mean constitutional law professor, Barney calls her a cougar and accepts the challenge to tame her. In Murtaugh when Ted mentions the "Murtaugh List" can not be completed, Barney accepts the challenge to do everything on it. In "As Fast As She Can" Barney takes the challenge of talking his way out of a ticket by saying "Challenge accep...", leaving out the last syllable and replacing it by pointing at Ted. In "The Window" Barney challenges himself to pick up a woman while wearing overalls, whilst in "Baby Talk" he challenges himself to pick up whilst only speaking like a little boy. This is the only time he admits to a failure to complete a challenge, though he later manages to pick up a woman whilst speaking like an eight-year-old without even trying.
Another phrase often used by Barney is "Get your head out of your ass, Lily." This phrase is often heard when Lily presents a point Barney interprets as overly idealistic or naive. A variation of this is seen in the song, "Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit" in "Girls Versus Suits."
According to The Early Show, Barney is one of the main reasons that the show has been a success. Maclean's says that Barney is the show's most popular character and explains that the most likeable characters are often those with the best catchphrases. In 2006, TV Land named Barney's "Suit Up" one of the 100 Best Catchphrases. Barney's signature phrase is one of only four from contemporary television shows, as writers are now less likely to have a character repeat a phrase in many episodes. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years. Paste included him in their list of the 20 Best Characters of 2011, ranking him No. 4.
From 2007–10, Harris was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work playing Barney. In 2008, Fireside published The Bro Code. Ostensibly written by Stinson, although actually penned by Matt Kuhn, a writer for the show, the book reveals the code by which the character supposedly lives his life (though he has been shown disregarding and/or violating a large portion of the articles in the book).
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Season 5, episode 17, "Of Course". Said to be 34 years old. Barney also states in "Natural History" that he was 6 years old in 1981 suggesting he could have been born in 1975 and is 35 as opposed to 34.
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