Time has not been kind to NPH's mid-2000s iconic lothario from "How I Met Your Mother," Barney Stinson.
Barney Stinson was a cultural touchstone from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, helping to catapult "How I Met Your Mother" into the zeitgeist and even going so far as to publish a book about how to basically be awful to women.
Neil Patrick Harris charmed his way into America's heart as the lovable lothario, even as Barney was a borderline sexual predator at best and a full-on sexual predator at worst. What played for laughs has become extremely problematic for many in recent years.
Hilary Duff Explains Why She Decided to Do How I Met Your Mother SpinoffView Story
That's why it's not a huge surprise that NPH isn't so sure there's a place for Barney's antics on the new Hilary Duff spinoff series, "How I Met Your Father." The pair talked about the character in the latest installment of his newsletter, Wondercade.
It was Duff who brought the idea of Barney coming over to "HIMYF" during their interview, with Harris quickly shutting down the idea.
"As for coming on your show (insert joke here), I worry," Harris told her, per TVLine. "Barney’s antics, his overt delusions of grandeur, would likely get everyone in trouble. So, unless he’s changed his ways or joined a nunnery (insert an insert joke here), not sure if it’s in anyone’s best interest."
Hilary Duff's Husband Tries to Embarrass Her in Front of Ex-Boyfriend at DinnerView Story
Duff had to agree, noting that all of the tricks that had people laughing and rolling their eyes at him during the show's original run would probably have him in legal hot water in this post-#MeToo era.
"I'm not sure how you feel about this, but I’m pretty sure Barney would… be in jail in 2022," she laughed. She also speculated that the shift we're seeing culturally in women gaining ownership over themselves and starting to find their own power is why the Barney character was also gender-flipped into Valentina, portrayed by Francia Raisa.
She's also more of a sexual free spirit than someone who hounds the opposite sex relentlessly and inappropriately, never taking no for an answer. Even Carter Bays, who created "HIMYM" has said that he'd love to "go George Lucas" on the show and "remove certain stuff I really wish wasn’t in there and I bet nobody would miss."
How I Met Your Father Premiere Already Narrows It Down -- Plus, Surprise HIMYM ConnectionView Story
But, what NPH is missing is that there is an opportunity here to at least somewhat redeem the character of Barney even more than his relationship with Robin did during the show's original run. Rather than avoid him, and older and wiser Barney could show up having learned from his past experiences.
A newer fan theory has it that Barney could even be the father of Duff's character Sophie, though that would make the apartment connection even cornier. Still, the idea of Barney having to raise a daughter would go a long way to helping him grow up. It might be good to see what he learned from #MeToo and how he can still be Barney without all that awfulness.
It would also be proof that not everything has to be canceled that no longer fits into our progressing society. It's also possible to grow, adapt and change into a better version of yourself. If Barney Stinson could find that better version, than anyone could, right?