The Jerk Who Plays By His Own Morals II: A Flash and Back

Before one incident, we could say that for House, his feeling about the entire race were probably on the apathetic side. He didn't care for the human race, but at the moment, his feelings weren't to the loathing level we know and love. He was miserable, but there are many kinds of miserable in this world. There is the kind of miserable that is physical pain and the kind where you are miserable emotionally. For House, he was the first. And then, there was Stacy. The one woman he could pretend to be a better man for.

For Barney, he was never quite sure about humanity. Mostly because he had spent so much of his life being downtrodden by his classmates (and in denial about it), but unlike House (surprise) for a moment he wanted to believe for a moment that maybe there was hope for people. And led Barney to growing his hair out, growing a cotton candy goatee, and becoming a hippie whose dream was joining the peace corp. With his girlfriend who he had been dating since Freshman of college, Shannon. In the beginning, it starts with a woman.

Shannon and Stacy are both introduced in Season One, in episodes that are still remembered as being the best of the best "Three Stories" and "Game Night". Both stories use flashbacks to tell the story of a life and do it well. But while "Three Stories" uses achronological order (something HIMYM excels in) and misdirection (presenting first Carmen Electra and then a generic middle aged man in House's clothes as the third patient), "Game Night" uses a flashback interwoven with shorter vignettes from our other characters, Ted included.

Both episodes use a framing device in which to set these flashbacks. "Three Stories", House finds himself guest lecturing after the regular Doctor has been out again ill. By the end of the story, House has diagnosed the unseen the doctor as having lead poisoning after having tasted water out of a cup his children have painted for him. "Game Night"'s framing story comes in the form of a Game Night for the group. Marshall's homemade game for interrogating Victoria, Ted's newest girlfriend, brings out Lily's need for truth. Early that week, she had met up with Shannon and Shannon had given her tape. Barney, knowing what was on that tape, shrieked out, "Where's the tape?" The instant the tape was in his hand, Barney destroyed, not knowing Lily was so curious that she had given him Ted's graduation tape to tear and smash instead. The real tape was in her purse. This was our first glimpse of Granola!Barney as he has been termed in fandom, crying and weeping, begging for Shannon to take him back, before launching into a teary eyed song for her. For people not familiar with HIMYM, it is a scene that is both funny and painful to watch. Painful as in you're watching a young man having a literal mental breakdown on camera.

For House, it's the problem with his leg. Take what happened to that guy in "Three Stories" and put that in context. One day, House was playing miniature golf and he got a horrible pain in his leg. When he went to the doctor, the guy was so incompetent when pain struck, House self-treated out of irritation. He knew that the medicine wasn't going to cause an allergic reaction. He gets sent home, probably spends a night of agony on the couch, goes up again with the same complaint. The asshole jams a catheter up House's dick and leaves him alone to see how long it is before he cries for mercy. Now, as many drugs as House has probably taken, he probably just stuck to stuff that didn't require you to beg to your doctor for a prescription. And as House said, even junkies get sick. But on that day, he was sick, in a pain, and now peeing blood. Which they thought was a UTI. But he just kept getting worse. And then House had to diagnosis himself. So, bit by bit, everything he suspected was starting to come true. Because, again, it's one thing to suspect that humans are scum, it's another to know it.

And so... enter the lady. It all comes down to the lady.

Barney loved Shannon deeply. But for Shannon, the whole hippie thing was just a phase. She found somebody else, that she was cheating on, a man named Greg (No, not our Greg House. Just a Greg.) who had come into the coffee shop earlier. Greg was everything that little hippie Barney wasn't. He was a dick in a suit, whose philosophy was "You get money, you get laid." When Barney discovered that his girlfriend wanted to break up, he tried one last time to get her back. The tape. Later, Shannon came back to the coffee house to pick up her paycheck with her new man in toy, Greg. Greg had seen the tape and mocked Barney with lines from it as Barney stormed out in tears. Now, according to Barney in "Game Night", his first "suit up" came about when a man passed a banner for discounted suits into his hands reading "Suit Up and Save". Barney claimed to have cut his hair after that and suited up. But "The Yips" revealed Barney actually sulked around James' place before having sex with his mother's 40+ divorced friend Rhonda. She called him Barry the whole time and caused him to smell menthol cigarette smoke everywhere.

House loved Stacy. And Stacy loved House. She didn't know how stubborn he would be on the how leg issue. But while Shannon's betrayal was based on selfishness, Stacy's was based on love. And perhaps, that's was her betrayal cut so deep.

It's always a woman that hurts a man. Because only a woman knows where to cut.

Coming Up Next: The finale of a study of two jerks. And after that...behind every jerk, is his long-suffering friend, who is not as nice as he thinks is. Next time on The HIMYM/House comparison, two men who hang with jerks and secretly love them, James Evan Wilson and Theodore Evelyn Mosby.
The Jerk Who Plays By His Own Morals I: The Introduction

The first part of my comparison of course is our resident jerk who plays but his own rules and only shows his heart to those deemed worthy of it, which isn't all that often. Dr. Gregory "Greg" House and Barnaby "Barney" Stinson, played by British Comedian Hugh Laurie and former Child Actor Neil Patrick Harris. Both men are physical actors and have a talent for looking like they're getting the crap beaten out of them. But that is only the tip of iceberg. Look-wise, they're both long limbed guys with blue eyes and larger then average foreheads and highly expressive faces. And if anyone else besides them were playing their respective parts, their shows wouldn't be as successful.

While Barney is not the main character, he might as well be with the rich backstory he has been given. And this backstory actually gives him many parallels to a certain curmudgeon Doctor.

For both House and Barney, it would actually be incorrect to say that neither of them have morals. Silly mortal, they simply don't operate on our Earth logic. House operates on his own sense of justice and, let's face it, for the sake of the truth. Barney clings to his own twisted view on logic, The Bro Code. Heck, if you've watched House, you know the first rule... Bros Before Hoes. To most people, it would seem heartless and cruel and for most people, you are right. House is a heartless jerk to most people and Barney is a heartless jerk to most women. As Barney once tells one of his conquests, "As long I leave you on dry land with adequate transportation, you've got nothing to complain about."

Nobody comes into life hating people and it can be argued that House's life in a strict environment (take those canonly questionable beating in childhood as you would) made him miserable long before the infarction. The infarction of course didn't help. More on that in a bit.

Barney's life is equally if not more miserable. We find out (and keep in mind this is in a sitcom), that Barney was raised in a single parent household and his mother left him alone for weeks at a time while she went around to whore around. In fact, Barney's older half-brother James (yes, Barney's brother is also a James) Stinson is black. Think about how hard that must have been for little Barney. To have a white mother, be white yourself, and have a black brother. Barney never knew who his father was until he was 35. You see, Barney had deluded himself for the longest time in believing that his father was Bob Barker. Yes, the host of The Price is Right. The story is Barney asked who is dad was, all the other kids knew, who was his? His mother sighed, said she didn't know, pointed at the screen, and said "That guy." Bob Bark was on. Add that to being bullied in school and you have an already messed up person. In canon, Barney has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Attachment Disorder, and ADHD.

Heck, both of them have their laundry list of addictions. Which make me wonder why TPTB went the easy Charlie Sheen route. Barney and House have a gambling addiction in common, but unlike House, Barney's problems with gambling do come up. In fact, it springs up in the form of Barney taking on challenges, even if nobody has ever challenged him. And when he completes the nonexistent bet, he expects to get paid. Like House, Barney has a thing for the ladies of the night and has been getting a lapdance at the Lusty Leopard, a strip club. When Lily suggested that he run through of his issues with a therapist, he pointed out that the only way he would spend that much money would be on an expensive European prostitute. And Barney does maintain the same cigar and cigarette habit as House. Yes, I know, you remember little proper Doogie... get that out of your head, Barney smokes. And finally... even though Barney had no idea what they did, he was perfectly happy taking a vial of purple pills he found in his couch cushions. I'd mention the alcoholism, but the cast of HIMYM are all functional alcoholics.

Coming Up Next Time: It's one thing to be miserable. It's another to have suspicions about the human race pretty much confirmed. And for Barney and House, they were betrayed by a woman. Bring a tissue. You'll need it. Your tears will have tears.


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