Neil Patrick Harris On Playing A Cad

After just one full season, the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother" has become a major success, thanks in part to Neil Patrick Harris who plays womanizing bachelor Barney.

No one knows what Barney does for a living. He appears to simply put on a suit and hit on women all day. Harris told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen that Barney works in the world of the "dark arts."

"We know he's involved in the high up darkness having to do corporate — maybe oil spilling, maybe cigarettes, tobacco lobby," he said.

It's a fitting profession for a character that seems to be utterly devoid of morality. For example, Barney has a "lemon law" that applies to first dates. If he sees something he doesn't like within the first few minutes of a blind date, he can leave: no harm, no foul. At the end of one date, he got soup thrown in his face.

Although Harris has been a hit on the show, he said he wasn't what the creators originally had in mind to play

"They initially wanted a John Belushi, Jack Black — a big, portly cigar-smoking kind of guy," Harris said. "And I had just done this movie where I play this extraordinarily extreme version of myself, and the creators had seen it and thought it would be funny. I went in with no expectations at all. In pilot season we do lots of auditions and you rarely get anything. I went in and kind of made an ass of myself. And that's what they wanted. I did a dive roll, actually."

The name of the show has given rise to many questions. For example: Will the audience ever meet the mother?

"I don't know that they actually know who it is going to be or have that part of the master plan," he said. "Everyone thought it was like a 'Lost' show where they were searching for clues as to what this meant and that meant ... It is just more about young late 20s, early 30s relationships. You have two different couples in varying degrees of coupledom: the new couple and the almost-engaged couple breaking up. Then I'm sort of the fifth wheel who is resentful of the whole thing."
  • Caitlin Johnson

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