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…There is no girl too pretty, for I am Barney Stinson, Player King of New York City
~ Barney Stinson
Suit Up!
~ Barney's infamous catchphrase

Barney Stinson is the deuteragonist in the TV series How I Met Your Mother. He has since gone on to become one of if not the most popular characters in the show.

He is played by Neil Patrick Harris.


Barney is a serial womanizer. In nearly all of his appearances, he's trying to seduce a total stranger, sleep with her and then dump her immediately afterward. This has earned him both the disgust and the grudging admiration of his friends. Barney is very arrogant and egotistical.

Barney enjoys the finer things in life. His suits are his life and he is rarely seen without one, even spending his Christmas bonus on a suit with pinstripes made of diamonds. He even wrote and performed a song about how much he loves suits.

Despite being the oldest member of the gang, Barney is also the most childish. He has an adolescent sense of humor and enjoys laser tag. He also has a penchant for magic tricks, particularly ones involving fire. He could be considered Ted's dark side, as he enjoys pursuing women but rarely settles down with one, which Ted is sometimes guilty of doing.

Barney is also an incredibly meticulous schemer. He's spent over 10 years exacting revenge on the man who stole his first love and ruined his life. He also took various precautions to ensure that he could corner Marshall into letting him see Lily's breasts.

Underneath his posturing though, Barney is a fairly fragile person whose been hurt far too many times to express his true self. The longer he hangs out with Ted's gang, the more his sensitive side emerges.

Barney has many catchphrases, such as:

  • "Its gonna be legen-... wait for it... -dary! Legendary!
  • "Suit up!"
  • "I'm awesome!"
  • "Haaave you met Ted?"
  • "Challenge accepted!"


Season 1

Barney has been hanging around Ted, Marshall, and Lily for at least three years before they all met Robin. Whilst Ted tries to woo Robin, Barney enjoys the single life. Ted later starts going steady with Victoria, while Robin takes Ted's place as Barney's wingman. Barney initially thinks Robin is attracted to him and tries to have sex with her, but she brushes him off.

Lily finds a mysterious videotape that one of Barney's old flames named Shannon has of him. Barney is horrified that Lily found his Shannon video, making it seem that the contents are especially lurid. When Lily puts it on, the gang sees Barney as this:

Barney's video.png

Its then revealed that Barney was once a hippy who wanted to join the Peace Corps. with his then-girlfriend Shannon, but after she left him he underwent a complete transformation. It's implied that Barney is still that same person underneath, but doesn't want to be hurt again.

Season 2

When Ted and Robin become a couple, Marshall and Lily separate. Barney then takes Marshall under his wing, but when they try to pick up women, Barney steals them away from Marshall. He then reveals this is a trick to help Marshall and Lily realize that they should get back together.

Barney begins looking through Robin's history and finds a video of her from the 90s. He thinks it might be porn and bets with Marshall that if Robin did porn, he could give Marshall 5 slaps across the face. It turns out to be a music video, so Marshall slaps Barney, then promises to deliver the remaining slaps in his own time. The second slap is delivered shortly afterward.

When Marshall and Lily's wedding plans go awry, the gang decides to have a makeshift wedding just between the five of them. Barney, who has a marriage license, weds them. He later finds out that Ted and Robin have split up, making him happy that things have gone back to normal.

Season 3

Barney briefly loses his confidence when he finds out that the woman he lost his virginity to was doing it out of pity. He then spends the rest of the episode unable to speak to women, but after spending time with his first conquest in a non-sexual light, he realizes that sex is all he has to offer women and manages to rock her world that night, restoring things to normal.

Barney receives his third slap on Thanksgiving, starting the Slapsgiving tradition.

When Ted starts seeing Stella for tattoo removal, Barney sleeps with her secretary, Abby. After he dumps her, Abby goes around town telling every woman she sees with Barney that he's a pig. The gang try to help Barney find her among his many previous conquests but come up empty-handed. Later on, Barney finds out that it was in fact Abby who was sabotaging him.

Barney and Robin become close after Robin's old boyfriend dumps her for a second time. The two then sleep together and Robin regrets it immediately. When Ted finds out, he refuses to speak to Barney, seeing how far he would go for sex. This leaves some tension in the gang until Ted gets in a car accident and is put into the hospital. Barney rushes out of a business meeting to be there for his friend, only to get hit by a bus. While in traction, he sees a newly-recovered Ted, and the two patch things up. It's at this point that Barney realizes he has developed feelings for Robin.

Season 4

Barney confides in Lily about his feelings for Robin. Lily sets them up on a date without telling Robin, only to find out that Robin helped Barney hook up with a busty waitress and she was still in his apartment when Lily visited him. Despite this, he still yearns for her, at least on a sexual level as he tried to sleep with her at Ted's doomed wedding.

Robin and Ted start having casual sex as a way to relieve some of the tension that had built up from living together. Barney almost has a nervous breakdown when he hears this. He then tries to make their home life as stress-free as possible to keep them from having sex, only for Ted to catch him in the act and realise that Barney loved Robin. Ted forgives Barney this time, knowing that he really does care for Robin and encourages him to confess his love. After a back-and-forth conflict whereby both Barney and Robin try to diffuse the potential relationship, they finally cave in and start a relationship.

Season 5

Barney and Robin

Barney and Robin's relationship starts out rocky, but gradually evens out. Just when the two seem to have finally settled down with each other, Ted finds a video among Barney's hand-me-down porn stash that urges Ted to prevent him from entering a long-term relationship. Ted, Marshall, and Lily think Barney is just being paranoid, but when they see Barney has gained weight and Robin is looking sickly, they realize Barney was right about himself and try to split the couple apart. Their efforts were wasted, as Barney and Robin saw their reflections and realized they weren't happy together. The two split up amicably, with Barney once again going back to his womanizing ways.

Among Barney's conquests was the coveted Perfect Week (one woman every day for a whole week). He also performs an elaborate seduction that his friends tried to stop, but found out too late he had manipulated them into helping him complete his conquest. He also advertises his phone number on national television as a way of bringing women to him. This works a little too well, as his phone rings every few minutes.

For Thanksgiving, Marshall performs the fourth slap on Barney.

After a while, Barney realizes that Robin hasn't been taking the breakup as well as she initially let on. Feeling bad, he helps set her up with her co-worker and the two have a romantic date. Barney and Ted then get jealous of Robin's new boyfriend, so she stops seeing both of them. After Robin is once again left single, the three agree to just stay friends this time.

Season 6

Barney and Jerome

Barney develops an interest in finding his father. He finds out that his uncle Jerome, who taught him magic tricks, was in fact his biological father. When he meets him, Barney tries to make up for lost time, trying to get his father to party hard, only to find out that Jerome has settled down with a family. Barney is upset at first, then questions why Jerome would want to pursue what has never worked for Barney. Jerome tells him that going from a swinging bachelor to family man is going to be the biggest challenge of his life.

Barney and Nora

Barney later meets Robin's co-worker Nora. When she plays hard to get, Barney tries even harder. He gets a date with her, only to blow it. First, he told her he wanted to get married, earning her affection, then he told her that was a lie, earning a slap. He later meets Nora at the end of the season and she implies that she might still be interested. Barney says to himself, "Challenge accepted", implying that he now wants to settle down.

Season 7

Barney pursues Nora. Nora agrees to go out with him after he spends 9 straight hours waiting for her at a 24-hour diner. Robin, however, has slowly regained her feelings for Barney and feels jealous that he's changing for Nora. Barney, in a moment of weakness, sleeps with Robin and breaks up with Nora. The problem is that Robin had started seeing her therapist, leaving Barney all alone.

Barney and Quinn

Barney then meets a stripper named Quinn. While she strings Barney along for tips, the two do share a connection. When Quinn runs into Barney at a coffee shop, they strike up a relationship. Barney lets Quinn move in with him, a first on his part, and Quinn tells Barney she'll stop stripping if Barney agrees to marry her. Barney plans a trip to Hawaii for the two of them, but they get stuck at customs. Barney then reveals that the suspicious box he was secreting on himself was in fact carrying an engagement ring.

Season 8

Barney confesses to Quinn that he was once dating Robin. This puts some strain on their relationship. Eventually, they break up. Barney, finally admitting that Robin was the one for him, begins planning to get her back. After helping Robin get out of a stale relationship, Barney tells her that he has to stop chasing her in order to stay friends with her. Robin then catches Barney dating her nemesis Patrice, which drives her into jealousy. Barney's relationship with Patrice accelerates to the point where he decides to propose to her, telling only Ted. When Ted tells Robin, she arrives at the scene where Barney was meant to propose to Patrice, finding out that it was all an elaborate plan to propose to her.

Barney finds out that Ted is dating his half-sister. He makes the two of them swear not to sleep together. Neither Ted nor his half-sister make any attempt to hide their fake promise.

Barney's bachelor party is a complete disaster. His hotel room is in a dirty, run-down part of town. The entertainment is a clown instead of a stripper and when the stripper does appear, it's none other than Quinn. Robin discovers Barney with Quinn and threatens to break off their engagement. It's later revealed that this was all an elaborate prank to keep Barney faithful to Robin.

Season 9

Barney and Robin spend their wedding weekend at the Farhampton Inn. Barney finds out that his half-brother James is divorced and his mother antagonizes Robin. On top of all this, Barney discovers Ted's lingering feelings for Robin. Luckily, all these problems are resolved. Marshall tells Barney that he's been honing his slapping skills in preparation for the final slap. After scaring Barney with his stories of how he disciplined his technique to its full potential, he gives Barney his penultimate slap.

Barney, in a drunken stupor, reveals what he does for a living. It turns out that Greg (the man who took Shannon from Barney all those years ago) is his employer and hired Barney to be a patsy for the company's illegal dealings. Barney then reveals that he's been leaking information to the FBI on Greg's dealings for years.

In the moments leading up to his wedding, both Barney and Robin get cold feet and try to run. The Mother talks Robin down while Marshall gives Barney his final slap, which gives him the peace of mind needed to see his wedding through.


Barney's bride

Barney the groom

Barney marries Robin Scherbatsky, the love of his life. Sometime after the wedding, Barney confronts Greg and reveals that he's ratted him out to the FBI as revenge for stealing his girlfriend and breaking him. As the FBI takes Greg away, Barney gloats over his arch-enemy's long-awaited defeat.

Eventually, Robin's constant business travels put a strain on their relationship and they get a divorce. Barney soon reverts back to his old sleazy self. Despite now being in his 40s, Barney claims that this is who he really is and he can never change. Or so he thought...Barney would give up his womanizing ways for good in 2020 when he finds out that his latest conquest is pregnant. Though horrified at first, Barney is instantly smitten with his newborn daughter, at long last finding a female companion he can love unconditionally.

Barney also managed to convince the gang that he had a terminal illness for the sole purpose of pulling a prank on Marshall that he'd been planning for 10 years.



Ted Mosby | Barney Stinson | Robin Scherbatsky | Marshall Eriksen | Lily Aldrin