Why Barney Stinson Shouldn’t Appear In How I Met Your Father

There is much speculation about whether How I Met Your Father will reference characters and events from How I Met Your Mother, but Barney Stinson shouldn’t make an appearance. Starring Hillary Duff and created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the new series will be released on Hulu and act as a spinoff of HIMYM. Original show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas will serve as executive producers on the new sitcom.

How I Met Your Father will follow a very similar format to that of its predecessor, with Sophie (Duff) telling her son the story of how she met his father. The comedy’s main plot will take place in New York in the year 2021, and Sophie will be surrounded by an eclectic group of friends, including GLOW’s Chris Lowell. The show will be hard pushed to surpass the beloved characters of HIMYM, with Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney emerging as arguably that series’ most popular creation. Introduced as a shameless womanizer, Barney gradually evolved into a more considerate person who was no longer firmly opposed to commitment.

With How I Met Your Father set not only in the same universe but also the same city, guest appearances from the original show’s cast are eagerly anticipated. However, keeping Barney out of the picture would help the show establish its own identity. Including HIMYM’s major characters could lead to the show merely running on nostalgia, whereas small references to familiar storylines would be better suited to enriching the larger universe.

Theoretically, it would be easy to incorporate Barney into How I Met Your Father. In the year 2021, he is still living in New York, only his priorities have changed to raising his baby daughter. Barney is unlikely to avoid dating altogether and could come into the orbit of Sophie’s group. Yet, the new show needs to focus on portraying the dynamic between its own characters and devise a compelling story that will elevate How I Met Your Father beyond initial comparisons to the original. The show already features a similar flashback formula, therefore including someone as popular as Barney would likely detract from an original story by making the overall show to similar to the original. His mere presence would simply remind viewers of their fondness for its predecessor and prompt speculation regarding the whereabouts of HIMYM’s characters during How I Met Your Father. Barney’s larger-than-life nature may be too distracting in person, but infrequent references would work better to depict a shared universe without undermining Sophie’s story.

In a world filled with dating apps and social media, it would be surprising if Sophie’s group didn’t encounter the occasional nod to Barney’s Playbook, or even meet someone who dated him. They needn’t even name him; a brief description of an early scheme would suffice. Likewise, Barney’s dating profile could even make a swift appearance, displaying him in full cheesy dad mode like Ted. Subtle links can help connect the shows without overwhelming the narrative, but Barney isn’t the most suitable character for this role. HIMYM’s finale revealed Robin became a famous journalist and, in 2020, Marshall won a seat in the Supreme Court. Their prominent positions make potential cameos or news headlines more fitting for How I Met Your Father’s timeline.

Barney is an iconic character, but there is no specific reason for him to appear in How I Met Your Father. Characters like Marshall have a concrete future established in HIMYM, but not much is known about Barney in 2021, leaving too much to explore through a guest role. If the show doesn’t convey its faith in Sophie and her friends’ ability to carry the story, then audiences will be left wishing they had a sequel with the original cast.


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