Neil Patrick Harris has defended his How I Met Your Mother character Barney Stinson, acknowledging that some viewers ‘will be offended’ by the show ‘in retrospect’.
The actor, who has since starred in productions including Gone Girl and It’s A Sin, made a name for himself playing Barney from 2005 to 2014, who was known for his womanising ways.
In the show, the playboy would use his wealth and elaborate pick-up schemes as seduction techniques, a move that likely wouldn’t be as well received if the series came out today.
The 48-year-old explained that in his opinion, the events that transpired in the sitcom weren’t ‘real’ because the main character and narrator Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) is telling a ‘fictionalised’ version.
‘Well, my take on How I Met Your Mother is that it was not all real,’ he told The Guardian.
‘The structure of the show is future Ted telling his children the story. In doing so, he’s fictionalising the narrative and he’s talking about his friend who was the wing man, the buddy, the guy that was always wanting to party and have fun and make any experience an event.’
Therefore, Neil perceives Barney as ‘this weird anti-superhero, who when he failed would just make up a story to make him succeed’.
While the Hedwig and the Angry Inch star said that the show may cause offense to people who watch it today, there was no ‘bad intent’ when they were creating it.
‘Some people will be offended by it in retrospect – and there’s not much one can do in retrospect. But the experience of making that show for nine seasons was very good energy … and there was never a sense of doing things with bad intent,’ he said.
It’s been seven years since the famously controversial How I Met Your Mother finale aired, with a spin-off starring Hilary Duff currently in development.
The new standalone series, titled How I Met Your Father, is set to premiere in January 2022 and will also star Sex And The City’s Kim Cattrall as the older version of Hilary’s character, Sophie.
Other actors who make up the cast include Glow’s Chris Lowell, Grown-ish actor Francia Raisa, Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma, The Royals actor Tom Ainsley and Candyman’s Tien Tran.
How I Met Your Mother is available to watch on Netflix and Disney Plus.