Neil Patrick Harris

CBS star carves out iconic Barney character

With network sitcoms in general decline, it’s tougher than ever for comic characters to emerge from TV land. Pop culture was once swimming in Norms and Georges and Balkis; these days, not so much. Harris, however, has created an iconic figure on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” with Barney, the loser-ladies’ man known for “suiting up” and planning nights out on the town that are “legend — and I’m hoping you’re not lactose intolerant because the next word is — dary.”

“HIMYM” isn’t a monster hit, but Harris has carved out a massive presence for himself on a show that’s technically an ensemble. His character isn’t central to many plots, but he frequently elicits the biggest laughs. TV Academy voters acknowledged that this year with a supporting Emmy nom.

Meanwhile, Harris will revive another one of his well-known characters — himself — in next February’s long-awaited sequel to “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”

Point of view

“You have to be careful what you wish for because you don’t want to have to play something for the rest of your times,” says the former “Doogie Howser, M.D.” star. “But if typecasting happens, it happens. You can’t self-sabotage … and playing Barney is crazy fun.”

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