TWoP: I liked the decision to make Barney go back to his womanizing ways. Because at first he and Robin made so much sense...
CT: They do. They make more sense than Ted and Robin in some ways.
TWoP: They really do. I thought it was nice. But the girls are part of what make him Barney.
CT: We didn't want to not have Barney be Barney, but it's nice along the way discovering dimensions to him. Discovering things about his past. What made him the way he is and knowing that there is part of him that's a great guy. He's just unequipped to pursue that part. And sort of unapologetically so. He's not going to sit there apologizing that he's not going to enhance the goodness buried deep within him. He's just like, "I'm Barney. This is what I do."
TWoP: Are you ever worried about making him too crazy over-the-top?
CT: Absolutely. We worry about it sometimes. We try and make sure within each season we know ways to deepen Barney or complicate him or just throw some little hint of something more into the character. I always think of him as kind of like a superhero. We did that story of how Barney became Barney, where he was a hippie and the yuppie suit guy stole his girl away from him. We very much envisioned that as a superhero origin story. Or like how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. I really like that idea that Barney has this mythology of all these layers and issues with his dad and issues with women. It makes it so much more fun to write, and it makes him not just a cartoon character. And when you have those episodes where he's just being over the top, you feel like you've earned them more.
I think we earned episode four, which I'm about to describe, by doing episode one. This is an absolutely insane, shallow aspect of Barney. We do a thing where Barney puts on really good old man makeup, goes up to a really attractive woman in the bar who looks like she might not be that bright and claims to be from the future. He says that he can't explain this, but she has to sleep with him tonight or mankind will meet its ultimate demise. And he says, "The younger version of me, the 2008 version of me, is going to come through that door in about five minutes. You have to sleep with him. He is the man who solves global warming. Just trust me. I can't explain all of it." And sure enough, he walks out and comes back a few minutes later as younger Barney, and the whole gang is sort of sitting there debating about whether this plan will work. I won't say whether it works or not. But you can do things like that if you feel that he's also sort of a human being. At the end of the day, in that episode Barney is hilarious in crazy old man makeup. And you know what? I'm fine with that. As long as you keep the balance, I think you can do both.