How I Met Your Father fans are elated by Neil Patrick Harris’ return: ‘The way I started screaming’

Neil Patrick Harris in a baby pink tuxedo and black bow tie

Fans are rejoicing as How I Met Your Father returned to screens this week with a surprise special guest — Neil Patrick Harris in his iconic role as Barney Stinson.

Patrick Harris, 49, played the role of serial womaniser Barney in How I Met Your Mother from 2005 to 2014, and ever since the spin-off series was announced, fans have been desperate for a cameo.

Those wishes came true in the season two premiere of the show when Harris made a surprise return; and judging by the looks of things, the star will play an essential role in the rest of the season.

At the end of the first episode, viewers see Hilary Duff’s character Sophie desperately trying to make contact with her mother Lori (Paget Brewster) while driving, and, distracted, she crashes into the back of someone’s car. In a joyous twist, Barney steps out of the damaged vehicle.

Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who created the series, have now revealed to TV Line that Barney is here to stay — for now at least. 

“Whenever we talk about bringing back a member of the original crew, you want it to serve two purposes,” Aptaker said.

You may like to watch

“You want to give some tidbits about what is going on in their lives, where they’ve landed and where they’re at, but it’s also about how they impact the How I Met Your Father story, and how they send one of our characters in a new, unexpected direction.

“Similar to Robin last year, we’ll learn some more about where Barney’s at, but it’ll also have a major impact on the trajectory, and main narrative, of our season.”

Patrick Harris had previously cast doubt on whether he would reprise his character, saying that he would only take on the role again if he had “changed his ways”.

Talking to Hilary Duff for his ‘Wondercade’ newsletter, he said: “As for coming on your show (insert joke here), I worry. 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.”

However, Berger said that the team addressed Patrick Harris’ concerns that Barney’s Lothario actions wouldn’t be appropriate in today’s day and age.

“We wanted to bring him back, and we wanted him to be true to his character and to the fans that loved Barney so much. But we also wanted him to exist on our show, in our time, in a way that made sense,” Berger said.

Fans are enthralled to see Neil Patrick Harris return to the role, particularly in the hope that Barney and Robin (Cobie Smulders) will reunite.

Robin and Barney were on and off throughout How I Met Your Mother, with Smulders reprising her role at the end of the spin-off’s first series. 

“I have no interest in the spinoff of my favourite show but the old cast making random appearances makes me want to watch it,” one person said, while another fan added: “This is exactly how you get me to watch the show.”

Another said: “If you get barney back with robin then you bet i will even pay for the streaming service JUST to watch that.”

“Screaming, crying, throwing up,” another summarised.

Fans can catch Neil Patrick Harris as Barney on How I Met Your Father on Hulu.