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HIMYF Showrunners Discuss Barney's Implied Major Life Shift

Out of all the "How I Met Your Mother" legacy characters, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) probably stands out the most in viewers' minds. The womanizing, sartorial madman was a caricature at worst, but he had surprising moments of vulnerability. Upon rewatch, Barney's antics do not always age well, but he is an enduring character — one that returns in Hulu's follow-up series "How I Met Your Father." 

Sophie (Hilary Duff) has a literal run-in with him when Barney returns in Season 2, illuminating what he has been doing since "How I Met Your Mother" ended. After the birth of his daughter in "HIMYM", showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger hinted to TVLine what Barney could be doing in the suburbs — a stark reversal from the character viewers may be accustomed to.

"[O]ur thinking was that Barney is a little bit more of a family man now ... maybe he's living the suburban dad life," Aptaker surmised. Berger added that more details could have made it into the episode, stating: "We could have written this scene to go on for 45 minutes, but there were details about Sunday night dinner and all these things, and all of the routines and rituals that he has now as a family man. But yes, like Isaac said, we're nodding to the idea that his life has changed and brought him here." 

Creating only a vague idea of what Barney's life looks like is probably for the best, so the "How I Met Your Mother" series finale remains intact.

Sorry, Barney and Robin fans

Ending a series is never easy, but "How I Met Your Mother" had an impressive level of divisiveness when the show concluded in 2014. Though the titular Mother (Cristin Milioti) was ultimately revealed, Ted (Josh Radnor) never really changes, and he goes back to Robin (Colbie Smulders) once again. 

After spending the entire final season on Barney and Robin's wedding, fans lamented that the couple did not stay together in the final episodes. And unfortunately, it looks like that is how "How I Met Your Father" showrunners are going to let it stand. Introducing Barney again could be a way to at least take some of the sting out of that finale, but understandably, Isaac Aptake and Elizabeth Berger remain respectful of the final episode with Barney's inclusion.

"[I]t's finding that balance of paying tribute and honoring the character, but also not getting wildly specific in ways that don't really feel appropriate for us to do," Berger explained. "Yeah," Aptaker agreed. "We're not trying to upend the 'How I Met Your Mother' finale. It did leave [certain] holes, but it took those characters through this [period of] time and covered a lot, so we're not trying to upend anything there." Anyone hoping for some wild midlife affair between Barney and Robin is unlikely to see it. We all have to make peace with Barney owning an SUV like the suburban dad he now is.