Barney Stinson

Barney Stinson

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Barney Stinson

caption = Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson (2006)
first = Pilot
last =
cause =
nickname = Broda, Barn, The Barnacle, Barnito supreme, Swarley, Swarles, Swar-(wait for it)-ley, Swarhili, Bob Swarley-mon, Swar-lay, Swarles Barkley, Swarlos, Jennifer, Starney Binson
alias = Jack Package, The Commodore, Larney, Ted Mosby - Architect
species =
gender = Male
age = 33
born =
death =
occupation = Employee of AltruCell Corporation [Season 1, Episode 17, "Live Among the Gorillas"] , Undisclosed Position
title =
family = James (brother), Bob Barker (purported father), Leslie (cousin), Unnamed mother, Unnamed Nephew, Tom (brother-in-law)
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer = Neil Patrick Harris
creator = Carter Bays & Craig Thomas

Barney Stinson 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.

Role on How I Met Your Mother

Barney Stinson is one of five main characters on the CBS television series "How I Met Your Mother". The show revolves around Ted Mosby as he falls in love. Despite his opposition to Ted's settling down, Stinson, a womanizer, offers many strategies designed to help Ted meet women.citation|last=Dransfeldt|first=Jeffrey|title=Harris is enjoying Barney's adventures in 'How I Met Your Mother'|newspaper=Ventura County Star|date=April 26, 2008|url=|accessdate=2008-05-02] 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 Neil Patrick Harris, who portrays the character, Stinson was "resentful" that the other characters had paired up.citation|title=Neil Patrick Harris on Playing a Cad|date=October 9, 2006|publisher=The Early Show|url=|accessdate=2008-05-02]

Harris was invited to audition for the character by Megan Branman, the casting director for the show. 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 that "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 of laser tag, and Harris executed a dive roll, accidentally knocking over a chair and slamming into a wall. CBS executives enjoyed his performance, and Harris was quickly offered the part.


Harris describes Barney as a man who "likes to create crazy situations and then sit back and watch it all go down."citation|last=Pierce|first=Scott D.|title=Legen-dary!|newspaper=Deseret Morning News|date=September 3, 2007|url=,5143,695206220,00.html|accessdate=2008-05-02] In the show, Barney is a womanizer who almost always wears a suit and is always willing to offer his opinion. Although The Early Show described him as "utterly devoid of morality", Barney lives by "The Bro Code", his own code of rules, which includes a lemon law for blind dates. However, 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." A flashback in the episode Game Night reveals that Barney had been an innocent young man who wanted to join the Peace Corps with his one and only serious girlfriend Shannon. When she left him for a suit-wearing womanizer, Barney morphed into a similar man.

While Barney's softer side is not seen often, it is not always relegated to flashbacks. When Marshall and Lily broke their engagement in season one, Barney often lured women away from Marshall so that he could remain faithful to the woman he truly loved. It was later revealed in a flashback that it was Barney who had gone to San Francisco and begged Lily to go back to Marshall, even buying her a ticket for the trip back. The softer side is also seen in the beginning of season four when Barney confesses to Lily he believes he is in love with Robin.

Barney's family life was defined in flashbacks in the episode Showdown, which established that Barney's mother (played by Megan Mullally) was a promiscuous woman who claimed that his father was Bob Barker, longtime host of The Price is Right. Barney also has a half-brother, James (played by Wayne Brady), who, unlike Barney, is African American, homosexual and married.

Although Barney's occupation has not been fully specified, the show has revealed that he works for Altrucel, a large company that produces military weaponry, petroleum, and the "fuzzy yellow stuff" on tennis balls. The company is also shrouded in mystery; for example, when Marshall speculates as to why Barney feels bad about sleeping with Robin, Barney responds "If I wanted a psychological evaluation, I'd hire the guy who hypnotizes us before we give depositions". Barney's job within Altrucel also remains unclear; whenever he is asked what his exact profession is, he always replies with a laugh and a "please." He is a native of the borough of Staten Island, having grown up on Staten Island Blvd. Although Barney's alma mater has not been specifically revealed on the show, in the episode How Lily Stole Christmas, Barney is seen wearing a shirt from Cornell University.

He became friends with Ted after meeting at a urinal in the bathroom of a bar, and then sitting down next to him later that night to "teach him how to live". Barney often states that he is Ted's best friend, only to be corrected by Ted, who retorts that he (Ted) and Marshall are best friends.

Barney is also an amateur magician of some skill, this comes from Neil Patrick Harris being very interested in magic himself. Harris and Barney are also proficient at playing the piano. Barney is an avid Star Wars fan, going so far as to display a life-sized Clone Trooper statue in his apartment. Although Barney has many other talents, such as being multilingual, he is often unable to perform seemingly simple tasks such as driving an automobile or apologizing.


In the show's pilot, Barney first utters his most recognizable phrase, "Suit up!", as he tells others to dress like him. 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.

As the show's most popular character, Barney is rewarded with the best catchphrases. 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!"

In the show Barney frequently approaches attractive women with Mosby in tow and asks "Have 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.

Barney also will tell elaborate, outrageous stories or assert his own "awesomeness", followed by "True story." When he makes up a fake statistic he always uses "83%". Also, whenever asked what his job is he replies with a little laugh followed by "please...".


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.citation|last=Weinman|first=Jaime J.|title=Why Barney is the new Fonzie|newspaper=Maclean's|url=|accessdate=2008-05-02|date=December 25, 2006] 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 2007 and 2008, Harris was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work playing Barney. [citation|title=And the nominees are|newspaper=The Daily Telegraph|date=September 14, 2007|url=,22606,22416961-5006343,00.html|accessdate=2008-05-02]


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