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Barney StinsonBarnabus "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.

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The character has been extremely well received by critics and has been credited for much of the show's success. He is considered the show's breakout character.

Harris was invited to audition for Barney by Megan Branman, the casting director for How I Met Your Mother. 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  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 performance, and Harris was quickly offered the part.

Barney Stinson is one of five main characters on How I Met Your Mother. He is in his early thirties and almost always wears a suit, likes women with daddy issues and is always willing to offer his (sometimes hypocritical) opinion. In contrast to his best friend, Ted Mosby, who wants to settle down, Stinson is a serial womanizer and 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.

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 said 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, just 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 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 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", 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 or using a screwdriver, although he seems to have learned the former, as he tries to prove that he can get out of a speeding ticket. In "Robin 101", Barney stated that he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, probably explaining 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's upset, although this is common among all the main cast.

It is revealed in the episode The Slutty Pumpkin Returns that he's one quarter Canadian.

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