Favorite Fictional Characters, #56: Barney Stinson
How I Met Your Mother was a great show, then a decent one, before descending into mediocrity for the last third of its run. Most viewers were just hanging around to see how the thing would end, and the introduction of the mother breathed new life into the stagnating narrative. Then the show's creators, in an act of stunning hubris and creative betrayal, destroyed the heart of their own story in the finale.
But this isn't about that. This is about one of my favorite characters, Barney Stinson. Specifically, the Barney from the first half of the show. The Barney of the arched eyebrow and laser-tag accurate bon mots, the suiting-up and self-fiving Barney, the king of awesome, the inventor of his own mostly-fictional life. Early in the series, Barney was a bottomless reservoir of memorable dialogue and roguish charm, a hedonistic purveyor of the good things in life alongside the seedy and soulless. If it feels good, Barney would tell us, do it. True story.
As the show began its downward spiral, Barney's redemption was part of it. Trying to make him cuddly or deep was a fool's errand. There was only one layer to Barney, and it was legen...wait for it...