Question: Whenever I see questions about whether the newly "out" Neil Patrick Harris will continue to be believed in his role as Barney in How I Met Your Mother, I have to laugh. Neil brilliantly plays Barney as an impeccably dressed, polished, sexual-conquest-obsessed, bar-cruising, relationship-adverse emotionally hollow man. In other words, he's playing a gay stereotype, who just happens to be interested in women rather than men. I can't see that it will take the audience much to cover that little alteration. And given that this best new sitcom of last year has actually gained creative steam with this season, I hope we'll see him in this role for a long time to come.
Answer: Agreed on the last point. But I'm not sure that he's playing a gay stereotype as much as a twist on the yuppie metrosexual stereotype, the thing so brilliantly portrayed a while back on Sex and the City as the "straight gay guy" syndrome. Blurring the lines can be fun, and I thought this week's Mother episode demonstrated that brilliantly, when Wayne Brady appeared as Barney's gay black brother. Barney's take on gay marriage was a hoot: "Gay marriage is going to cause single life as we know it to die out. Think of how the American family will be strengthened." Take that, bigots.