How I Met Your Father has been a stable follow-up to How I Met Your Mom. The sitcom places a brand new spin on the identical idea as the unique with a gender reversal: now, it’s the mother telling her son the story of how she met his dad.
It’s the cameo by Neil Patrick Harris, nevertheless, reprising his function because the womanizing Barney Stinson, that has everybody speaking in season 2. The looks was teased within the first episode, and within the midseason finale, his interplay with Sophie (Hilary Duff) is lastly revealed in higher element. However most significantly, so is an try to redeem a personality that, by right now’s societal requirements, would have been canceled a very long time in the past.
A glance again at Barney
How I Met Your Mom was a lighthearted sitcom that generated loads of laughs. Many of those got here on the expense of breakout character Barney. His behaviors, actions, and phrases had been wildly inappropriate, solely squeezing out hearty laughs due to Harris’ spot-on, exaggerated efficiency. He portrayed Barney extra like a caricature of a human than an precise individual. Nonetheless, it could by no means fly right now.
The present first premiered in 2005, lengthy earlier than the #MeToo motion and a renewed and intensified deal with feminism. Barney’s misogynistic feedback and atrocious habits would not be thought-about humorous right now, no matter how humorous the portrayal was. A few of his worst antics ranged from hiding a scale at his doorway to weigh potential mates earlier than granting them entry to his bachelor pad to mendacity about who he was to mattress a number of girls in sooner or later. He had a Rolodex of elaborate schemes to choose up girls, wrote a ebook referred to as The Bro Code, and by no means shied away from a problem to govern and use a girl. The character was creepy, deplorable, and disrespectful.
How I Met Your Mom resulted in 2014, years earlier than the MeToo hashtag and the exposé of Harvey Weinstein kickstarted a firestorm in opposition to the mistreatment of girls and a put a highlight on girls’s rights. It was too late to redeem Barney, leaving a scar on an in any other case hilarious comedy. Or was it?
A cameo with a goal
When he first seems in How I Met Your Father, Barney emerges from his automobile after Sophie rear-ends a car with the license plate LGNDRY. She was preoccupied on a telephone name, frantically revealing to her mom that she thinks she may be courting her father. He buttons up his swimsuit jacket and declares “dude?” when he sees the harm and the scared younger girl who’s accountable.
This places the now single Barney (the timeline in How I Met Your Father would happen lengthy after Barney and Robin had divorced) in an ideal place to attempt to mattress a weak younger girl who now owes him for the harm. However that’s removed from what occurs.
Actually, earlier than Sophie may even communicate, he reads from a bit of paper introducing himself as a “recovering serial womanizer,” delivering an apologetic speech he has doubtless recited extra instances than he can depend in case the lady occurs to be a sufferer exacting revenge. When he makes an inappropriate remark about her chest, his STD (shock remedy machine) goes off and he shudders in ache. He explains it’s an experimental new electro-shock remedy, and the machine is programmed with 1000’s of problematic statements that, ought to he utter one, will set off it.
Barney flubs just a few instances, struggling by means of sufficient electrical energy, as he describes, to “energy Staten Island.” It brings followers again to the outdated Barney who might barely go a second with out saying one thing inappropriate. However extra importantly, he exhibits mercy on the clearly troubled younger girl. He decides to take heed to her sordid story of potential daddy-daughter love and let her off the hook for his automobile if the story is “juicy sufficient.”
The dialog from there introduces followers to a sweeter, extra caring, extra respectful model of Barney. He relates his story about envisioning Bob Barker as his father when he was rising up and mentions how when an “outdated good friend” (Marshall) misplaced his father, it impressed him to trace down his personal. As Sophie opens up about her needs and fears about discovering her personal father, Barney delivers sage recommendation.
The clincher, nevertheless, is when he talks about his daughter, Ellie, who he calls “one of the best factor to ever occur to an fool like me. The second I noticed her,” he continues, “I knew I needed to change.”
His phrases weigh closely on Sophie and persuade her to lastly search for her personal father. On this respect, Barney’s cameo was greater than only a meaningless look to appease followers of the unique. It was an apology.
A path to redemption
If that is the final time followers see Barney Stinson on display, the character has been redeemed in a satisfying means. He made grave errors in judgeent previously. He disrespected girls and his actions and phrases had been unacceptable. However he’s studying, rising, and altering.
It’s an vital lesson about an individual’s capability to look within the mirror and resolve to be a greater model of themselves. The brief cameo will trigger followers to see How I Met Your Mom in an entire new means as soon as they understand Barney’s character arc is much extra significant and progressive than the finale may need let on. That’s a superb factor for each exhibits.
Stream How I Met Your Father on Hulu. The second half of season 2 commences Might 23, 2023.