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Neil Patrick Harris To Guest Star On HIMYF's Midseason Finale (But Is That Really Necessary?)

Contains overall spoilers for "How I Met Your Father," Season 2

"How I Met Your Father" has been wise about the way it has carefully laced cameos from its parent series, "How I Met Your Mother," throughout its brief run. So far, Kyle McLachlan's outré George Van Smoot — aka, The Captain; The Captain's wife, Becky (Laura Bell Bundy); series co-lead Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and her former colleague Sandy Rivers (Alexis Denisof); and MacLaren's Pub bartender Carl (Joe Nieves) have popped up during the show's first two seasons. And in the first part of its duel midseason finale, Sophie (Hilary Duff) is set to meet New York City's biggest player — and iconic sitcom character — Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Fans already knew that Barney would resurface; he's briefly seen during the Season 2 premiere, "Cool and Chill," getting into a fender bender with Sophie. Her son wonders who the guy is, and older Sophie (Kim Cattrall) vows that she'll get back to him later on. However, it looks like "later" means "now"; Deadline confirmed that Harris will indeed be in the "How I Met Your Father" spring finale two-parter, "I'm His Swish" and "Daddy," which are both set to be on Hulu by March 28. Since the logline for the episode involves Sophie dating an older man, one only hopes that she won't end up one of many (and we mean many) women Barney has been with over the years. Which just brings up one major thing — while fans might be thrilled about Barney's reappearance, do we really need to see more of him?

Barney Stinson is emblematic of sitcom tropes best forgotten

Even back in the early '00s, Barney Stinson was an acquired taste. He's a lovable ladies' man on many an occasion, but he's also the sort of ladies' man who keeps a carefully annotated "Playbook" he uses to charm his way into the bedrooms and hearts of the ladies for one-night liaisons. His ultimate goal, naturally, is to extricate himself without getting into a relationship, and without bearing any consequences from his amorous encounters. On "How I Met Your Mother," that led to ridiculous mischief that can be harmless but may also take some nasty turns. Barney posing as a gay woman in the hope of sleeping with a lesbian, anyone?

But even the most dedicated player eventually needs to slow down. He undergoes a lot of growth and change thanks to his serious relationship with Robin, but the show tries to undo this during its final episode, resulting in Barney becoming the father to a baby girl. The less said about this, and the ending of "How I Met Your Mother," the better.

How I Met Your Father is doing fine in its own right

"How I Met Your Father," meanwhile, has managed to innovate the formula "How I Met Your Mother" established while avoiding its pitfalls. Avoiding locking themselves into a confirmed ending for the show by refusing to show the audience what Sophie's son looks like or by giving them his name? Done! Keeping the audience guessing about who will end up with who by making sure its appealing leads are played against each other constantly? Sold! It's clear that the show's producers have learned from the mistakes "How I Met Your Mother" made and are intent on avoiding the pitfalls they created. That's what makes revisiting their predecessor so heavily such an awkward proposition. Do we want to know how Robin, Barney, and the others are doing? Definitely. Would that be better served in a reunion movie? Definitely. That's why "How I Met Your Father" ought to shine as its own thing.

Audiences will get to see how it does its own thing soon enough. "How I Met Your Father" will resume its second season on May 23, with its season finale unspooling on July 11.