6 Creepy Realizations About Barney From How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother Overview
Other than a polarizing ending, fans absolutely adore sitcom/drama/romance (Netflix classifies it as many things) How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) for its hilarious adventures and surprisingly engaging drama. Throughout the show, we watch protagonist Ted Mosby and his four best friends tackle and overcome a variety of problems, cheering for our five heroes the entire journey.
That is, until we realize one of Ted's best friends, Barney Stinson, is one of the sleaziest people imaginable. Spoilers ahead.
Played by talented actor Neil Patrick Harris, Barney quickly became a fan favorite for his entertaining catchphrases (Suit up, legen—wait for it—dary, etc.), hidden depths (dude has daddy issues), and charm. Some compare him to fellow womanizer-with-a-heart-of-gold Joey from Friends, and despite Barney's wild antics and over-the-top advances on women, his friends always laugh it off—hey, it's just good ol' Barney fooling around, right?
Wrong. When we ignore the laugh track and actually examine Barney's deceitful behavior, we soon realize he's exactly the type of guy you don't want your daughter to encounter. Heck, even best friend Marshall has a horrible vision of Barney pursuing Marshall's hypothetical daughter in her teenage years.
To really see what I mean, let's examine six creepy revelations about Barney Stinson!
6. He Constantly Deceives Women
First things first. If you've seen any of the show, you know Barney will do nearly anything to get in bed with a women—and then leave after the act as quickly as possible. Below are some of his most outrageous actions to fulfill this purpose:
- He poses as his own evil twin, the Prince of Norway, the owner of Google, and Neil Armstrong.
- He takes a woman to a campsite out in the woods, steals her truck, and leaves her as a bear attacks.
- He convinces a woman he only has twelve hours to live.
Note that Barney often deceives women by pretending to be another person. You might not think much of it until you realize this constitutes a crime called "rape by deception," where sexual consent is received, but only through lies and fraudulent actions. Ring any bells?
5. He Records Women Without Consent
Chief among Barney's crimes is videotaping his several one-night stands at his apartment. Of course, sex tapes are completely legal—if both parties consent. Anything else is a serious crime.
Take the real-life story of Michael Piznarski, who secretly recorded a heated encounter with his then-girlfriend. After they broke up, Piznarski posted the video online (another no-no) and the police raided his apartment, finding recordings of various sexual nights with multiple clueless women. This breaks a statute called "Stephanie's Law," which simply states you cannot record or broadcast a person undressing or in a sexual act without their permission.
For his actions, Piznarski was labeled a sex offender and sentenced to a few years in prison. And guess where this all occurred? New York—where HIMYM takes place. That's right, Barney could very well be incarcerated if any of his victims discovered the tapes and charged him.
Barney not only secretly records women, but actively lies about it if questioned—like when one of his hook-ups asked if the camera's green light meant it was on (duh), which he denied.
4. He Steals Marshall's Date (Three Times)
In Season 2, Episode 2 (The Scorpion and the Toad), Marshall tries to date other women to help get over Lily, who left him to pursue an art program in another state. Having dated Lily for nine years, Marshall needs help with flirting, and Barney offers to take him out and help his endeavors.
So what's the first thing that happens? Marshall awkwardly talks to a girl, only to have Barney swoop in and captivate her with charm and magic tricks, eventually taking her home. Thanks, pal. Later, Barney even mentions the girl stated were it not for him, she probably would have gone home with Marshall. Sure, this a minor character who never returns, but Barney did the one thing a wingman should never do—steal the person his friend is interested in.
Strikes Two and Three
Plus, (in the same episode) Barney does the exact same thing when Marshall falters with the next girl. And then, when Marshall manages to successfully talk to one woman in a set of twins, Barney lies to Marshall, saying both twins want Barney. We learn this is a fabrication, as both the girl and Marshall like each other, but Barney (too obsessed with having a threesome) deceives both parties and splits them up. Seriously, think about how mad you would be if a close friend did that to you.
3. He Hits on Ted's Mother
Giving a whole new meaning to the words How I Met Your Mother, Barney continuously pursues Ted's divorced mother, Virginia Mosby. The two even kiss when Barney picks her up from the airport. Virginia ultimately marries a different man, an act that disturbs Barney so much he cries at their wedding.
Do I really need to explain this one? Barney frequently asserts he's Ted's best friend, but finds it acceptable to view his mother as a sexual object. And like the vast majority of guys, Ted isn't cool with this, even smashing a hole in his wall with a sledgehammer upon discovering their kiss. Of course, this isn't the only line Barney crosses with Ted...
2. He Sleeps with Ted's Ex
You could argue either way whether Robin goes better with Ted or Barney, as the show offers evidence to both. After all, Robin is one of very few women Barney respects and (mostly) treats as a person, not a sexual release.
Yet none of that changes Barney's breaking of his self-called "Bro Code," a set of guidelines for friends to follow. Chief of which is thou shalt not sleep with thy friend's ex, a mantra most of us know without a silly code from a sitcom.
Nonetheless, Barney has sex with with Ted's ex Robin (after she went through a bad breakup and was emotionally vulnerable—of course), an action that creates a large rift Ted and Barney. As we later learn, Ted and Robin still harbor feelings for one another, further complicating the situation. Ted eventually forgives Barney, a testament to his kind nature, but this yet again shows Barney's lack of regard for his friend's feelings.
1. He Hits on Marshall's Wife
Guys, you should already know it's not cool to set sights on a taken girl even if you don't know her boyfriend. But despite Barney's close friendship with both Marshall and Lily, he constantly flirts with and makes lewd comments towards her (which she doesn't enjoy). These remarks don't stop upon Marshall and Lily's marriage, and Barney makes no secret of the fact that he'd bed Lily if possible. Here's a quick list of his most inappropriate actions:
- He desperately searches for a sex tape of Marshall and Lily upon learning of its existence.
- He disguises himself as a doctor, attempting to examine Lily naked in a checkup.
- He finds pleasure in paying Lily (who was struggling for funds alongside Marshall) to paint him naked.
Barney never successfully woos Lily, so we overlook these instances as light-hearted shenanigans, but really stop and think about how you'd feel if your best friend tried to sleep with your spouse.
What are your thoughts on Barney Stinson?
How could fans ignore or miss all these incidents? Well, most are played for laughs, and Barney does some genuinely nice things throughout the show, but only for his friends—he terribly mistreats the women he comes across.
Plus, we're supposed to idolize Barney. He has a sweet job, piles of money, he's good with women, well-dressed, quick-witted, and somehow manages to keep four decent people as his best friends. That's a life many, especially us guys, would love, causing us to inadvertently respect rather than despise Barney. And we somewhat forgive him for his trespasses because we see the difficult issues he faced growing up, like an absent father and the abuse suffered from his first girlfriend.
Still, behind the high fives, jokes, and suits lies a shattered person who spreads more misery than joy throughout the world he inhabits.
Questions & Answers
Why do you hate Barney? It's just a sitcom!
Easy there. No one said I hate Barney. Just because it isn't real doesn't mean the scope of his actions within the fictional universe aren't despicable.
Have you seen the entire series? Barney took Marshall's dates because he wanted him to be with Lilly which is why he's the one the brought her back to New York. Also, he just wanted her to paint him naked, it had nothing to do with her specifically.
Have you given this thought? Sure, Barney's actions regarding stealing Marshall's date turn out to be more well-intentioned than we originally believed, but they're still far from ideal because they essentially force a decision on Marshall--to get back with Lilly or be single indefinitely.
Sure, Lilly and Marshall end up together, making us somewhat forgive Barney for wanting them to pair back up, but they almost didn't, and had either of them chosen not to rekindle things, Barney was very possibly sabotaging Marshall's new life (and happiness) without consent. That's definitely not how I'd want my friends to show support for me after a breakup; Robin herself (the woman who married Barney) admits that she has doubts about him because even his "good" actions revolve around deception (like his proposal to her).
As for the painting, I very much doubt Barney didn't derive pleasure from having his friend's wife (who he flirts with constantly) perform the act, but even if you're right, that's a small defense that doesn't excuse the other transgressions.