Benjamin Barnes
Biographical information

September 1975



  • Benji
  • Benny-Ben
  • Boliver (with Oliver)
Family information

Naomi (ex-wife)



  • Ned † (grand-uncle)
  • Frieda (cousin)
Professional Information

Marriage Counselor

Character information
First appearance


Last appearance

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. And Do. And...


Ben Barnes is a marriage counselor and the youngest child in the Barnes family.


Christmas 1982Edit

At a Christmas party in 1982, Ben and Oliver stole a snow globe from the neighbor, Mrs. Veech, a crime for which Regina was accused. Regina maintained her innocence, even over 20 years later. When Lydia set up to remodel her apartment, where the snow globe had been hidden, the truth came out. ("If These Floors Could Talk")

Thanksgiving 1999Edit

At Thanksgiving 1999, Ben had recently dropped out of medical school and was trying to figure out how to tell his parents. There was a bad storm and he ultimately told them during a power outage. ("Thanks")

Thanksgiving 2004Edit

Lydia and Stewart were separated for Thanksgiving 2004, but hadn't yet told the kids, so they pretended to be still married. The kids knew something was up, but they figured that something was wrong with Stewart, since he appeared not to be able to remember things, like where things are located in the kitchen. When he got food on his shirt, Regina suggested he change, but he insisted club soda would take it out. However, a loud pop scared him, causing him to spill wine all over his shirt. Because he no longer had clothes there, he was forced to put on one of Lydia's. He then spilled dip on his pants when Oliver came through the door unexpectedly. Ben then noticed that all of Stewart's things were gone and they figured out that their parents had separated. They thought it would be the last Thanksgiving they all spent together. ("Thanks")

Parents' DivorceEdit

After his parents divorced, Ben was the one who tried the hardest to keep the family together. When they had a drink on his birthday together peacefully, he suggested that the whole family have dinner together. ("Pilot")

Naomi Leaving HimEdit

Shortly after his 30th birthday, Ben got a message from his wife, Naomi, saying she was leaving him. They talked all night. She said that she didn't know what she wanted in her life. ("Pilot")

After Naomi left him, his mother made a schedule for the other members of their family to alternate spending time with him to keep him from being lonely. During her time with him, Lydia bought him new clothing, saying he needed a fresh start with new clothes. Oliver tried on him for a date with a supermodel, but Lydia found him out and made him stay. Oliver said that Ben refused to be cheered up. Regina was unable to take her shift as she had to work. Stewart showed up for Regina's shift, thinking it was his time. When Ben found out about the schedule, he was upset with Lydia. Stewart then suggested that they have a family night to talk with all three kids.

When he showed up for the dinner, he told his family that during his walk, he'd decided to fight for his marriage. He made repeated calls to Naomi, pleading with her to come home so they could work things out. His family pretends to be supportive because they believe that's what he needs from them, even though they all personally detest Naomi. When they found out that she'd been in town the whole time, instead of in Oregon as she claimed, they all started trashing her. Ben gets angry and storms out. However, when he goes home to discover that she has taken all of the furniture out of the apartment, Ben admits that they were right about her character. Instead of piling on, they apologized and said they loved him. ("We Wanna Hold Your Hand")

Oliver and Regina Setting Him UpEdit

When Ben started to get back into nerdy things with his friends from high school, Oliver and Regina hatched a plan to set him up with women to get him back into the dating scene. Because of their competitive natures, they made a bet over which woman Ben would choose. Regina said she wouldn't make a bet, but Oliver figured out that she had set Ben up with a co-worker and then tried to set his own date up with Ben. They fought and both women left. ("The Truth About Nerds & Dogs")

Wedding InvitationEdit

Ben was shocked and delighted to receive an invitation to the vow renewal of a couple he'd seen the previous year. Because of their lack of regard for his work, Ben's attempts to share the news with his family were constantly thwarted. ("Brothers Grim")

Hospital FundraiserEdit

Ben went to the hospital fundraiser with his mother. When she one Broadway tickets for them and then got them invited to a weekly game night, Ben decided he had to "break up" with her to free up his life. He did so and encouraged her to go on a date with a urologist who had hit on her and coached her when she admitted she was scared. ("The Heartbreak Kid")

Bailing on OliverEdit

Ben scheduled and paid for a cooking class for himself and Oliver. Angry at Oliver for repeatedly canceling their plans, Ben bailed on the cooking class and sent Lydia in his place, not knowing that Oliver was also planning to bail and had sent Regina in his place. They both ended up watching a pay-per-view fight with their father, who was hiding from Crystal. They coached him through his relationship troubles. ("Key Ingredients")

Janice Meyers' WeddingEdit

Ben, along with the rest of his family, was invited to the wedding of Janice Meyers, whom they had known since she was a child. At the wedding, he met up with Lois Turner and slept with her. When Oliver found out, he made fun of Ben because Lois was a like a second mom to them. ("The Wedding")

Thanksgiving 2005Edit

Despite them being divorced, Ben suggested that Lydia invited Stewart to Thanksgiving, so the five of them could celebrate together as a family. The three siblings set up an emergency page to get them out of dinner early. Things went south when Oliver accidentally pushed the turkey out the window. They then ordered Chinese food. The man who delivered it accidentally hit the turkey as he biked to them. As he was leaving, he collapsed. They later figured out it was because his wife had forgotten to pick up his blood pressure medication. They got him stable and had him promise to check in with his regular doctor before sending him on his way. After reminiscing about past Thanksgivings that hadn't gone so well, they ignored the emergency page and sat down to have a nice dinner together. ("Thanks")

Visiting MariaEdit

Maria was the Barnes' housekeeper when the kids were little. For her 80th birthday, Lydia baked her a cake and planned to go visit her in the nursing home. However, Lydia decided to go the following morning and guilted the others into joining her. Stewart and Oliver rode in one car while Ben, Lydia, and Regina rode in the other. While they were driving, Ben hit something and the tire went flat. Lydia asked Regina to change it, but then remembered that she'd had the spare tire taken out to make room for the cake. They then all piled into Stewart's classic car, which he was restoring. However, the only thing he'd done so far was the horn, which he demonstrated. However, he hadn't done a very good job because the horn started honking continuously. It also rained the rest of the way, so when they arrived, they were soaked and upset. Lydia had even lost a shoe through the hole in the floor and the cake had been destroyed. Maria was sleeping when they arrived, so they decided to wait a few minutes rather than waking her up. Ben created a scene in Maria's room when he refused to rub her roommate's feet and then pressed her bed alarm by mistake. The ensuing chaos woke Maria. ("Guilt Trip")

Crystal's Poetry ReadingEdit

After Ben invited Crystal in, Stewart invited all three kids to go to Crystal's poetry reading and then to dinner together. They were all bored out of their minds, but didn't tell Stewart and ended up watching a DVD of her next poetry reading with him. ("Guilt Trip")

Christmas 2005Edit

Ben and Oliver both went to two Christmas dinners: the first at Lydia's and the second at Stewart's, where Crystal cooked Christmas dinner. According to Ben and Oliver, she got every recipe off a marshmallow bag. ("New Year's Eve")

New Year's Eve 2005Edit

After a long dry spell for all of them, Ben, Regina, and Oliver decided to throw a huge New Year's party in order to score. They accidentally invited both Lydia and Stewart. Stewart also mistakenly assumed that they would want his all-doctor singing group, The Medtones, to perform. Oliver ended up bribing a nursing home so they wouldn't perform, but they showed up anyway after they were done with the nursing home gig.

At the party, Ben began to flirt with a woman named Jennifer. When he got up to answer the door, Oliver stepped in and also flirted with her. When Ben and Oliver went to the kitchen to fight about them, Regina came in and said she had also flirted with Jennifer. After finding out that tequila makes her a wild woman, Regina left to get some after sabotaging Oliver, saying he had a pregnant wife. Oliver faked an injury to get Jennifer to massage his leg. They continued to take turns hitting on Jennifer until she left the party with Jennifer. Regina later came back and was going to brag, but admitted that Jennifer had gone to a bar with her for a drink, but left with another woman and two men from Cirque Du Soleil. Their parents both scored at their party, but they all ended up alone at midnight.

During the party, Ben also got rooked into pretending to be Crystal's date when her father came as Lydia's date. ("New Year's Eve")

Cabin TripEdit

Lydia and Stewart had a week in a cabin, which they decided to split after the divorce. Lydia took the first half of the week with Ben and Stewart the second with Regina and Oliver. Lydia was planning to be out of the cabin before Stewart and Crystal showed up, but they ended up being snowed in. Lydia was shocked that Stewart and Crystal (along with Oliver and Regina, plus Oliver's girlfriend Trisha, were able to make it up to the cabin. Nevertheless, they tried to make the best of it. When Oliver, Ben, and Stewart found a pregnancy test while the ladies were out, they all panicked and speculated over whose test it might be, each of them hoping they weren't the father. Ultimately, it was discovered that the test belonged to Regina, who was thinking about using a sperm donor to become a mom alone and bought the test in case she might need it.

During the fight over the pregnancy test, Oliver found out that Ben had slept with Trisha while they were briefly broken up, which greatly angered him. ("Yours, Mine or His?")

Bet with OliverEdit

Oliver wanted to date Ben's co-worker, Debbie, but Ben said he wouldn't put in a good word with her for Oliver because he's shallow and uses women. However, Oliver promised he wouldn't do that with Debbie, so Ben set them up. However, Oliver became annoyed when Debbie made sound effects for everything, but he stuck with it because he wanted to prove the point to Ben. Ben himself was dating an extremely attractive, but ditzy woman, so he conceded to Oliver and Oliver dumped Debbie. ("Model Behavior")

Valentine's Day 2006Edit

Ben had Ted over on Valentine's Day to watch Planet of the Apes.

After Stewart ended up in the hospital with a back injury, he called Ben because Crystal wasn't answering her phone and had him lie and tell her he was with a patient and would be there as soon as he could. When Ben went to talk to her, he accidentally got trapped in the bathroom with her. Ben tried to use his phone to call, but he dropped it in the bathtub, making it useless. They ended up talking about Ben's feelings about Valentine's Day and Crystal reassured Ben that he'd find someone to love. ("Hot Water")

Hiring CarmenEdit

When Ben was told that Stewart's housekeeper, Carmen, had an extra day available, he hired her, tired of picking up after Oliver. However, he quickly realized that Carmen was not doing a good job as their housekeeper, often leaving the place messier than when she started. He learned from Lydia that Stewart had been trying to unload Carmen onto her for months, because he was unable to fire her because he hates to be disliked by people. Ben's the same way, so he is also unable to fire her. He tries to work himself up to do it, but he backs out. However, he then discovers that Carmen is having trouble with her vision, which is why she's not cleaning well anymore. He and Stewart say they'll get her all fixed up. ("You Win Some, You Use Some")

Doctor of the YearEdit

When the Barnes family was trying to figure out which of them had been named one of the top doctors of the year, Ben was the only one who knew he wasn't the one. ("Doctor of the Year")

Uncle Ned's FuneralEdit

The whole Barnes family attended the funeral of Ned, Lydia's uncle. At the funeral, he and Oliver were reunited with Kathy Kelly, who they both had had a crush on when they were younger. They lied and said they weren't close like they had been as kids and competed for her affection. When she left a message on their answering machine, they fought over which of them the message was meant for. After being tricked by Regina, they showed up at the same restaurant at the same time wearing the same outfit. They still fought over which of them Kathy liked. When she showed up, she told them the one she liked, she was liking a lot less and left. ("Restaurant Row")

Fighting with Oliver Over PatientsEdit

When Ben left Oliver alone at the diner with his patient, Lou Pimsky, Lou spoke to Oliver about plastic surgery for his very large nose. He decided to quit therapy sessions with Ben in order to afford the plastic surgery. When Ben found out that Oliver had operated on Lou, he became upset with Oliver for stealing on of his patients. He went to Oliver's office to confront him, but while he was there, he spoke to a woman in the waiting room and convinced her not to get the breast implants that her boyfriend wanted and instead took the two of them on as clients for couples counseling.

The boyfriend heard a message that Oliver left on their machine begging Roberta to come back to him and later came to Oliver and Ben's apartment to confront him, but he defended himself by pretending to be gay. The brothers ultimately made up. ("Losing Patients")

Bachelor AuctionEdit

Lydia asked Ben to be the auctioneer for the bachelor auction at the hospital. ("Doctors Without Bidders")

Knicks GameEdit

Oliver got tickets to the Knicks games when he covered for another doctor, telling his wife he went to Vegas with him. He planned to take Ben and Regina. Ben ultimately went with him, but Regina was too tired after working several double shifts. ("If These Floors Could Talk")

Chest PainEdit

Ben starting having chest pains and he treated it homeopathically. However, Stewart encouraged him to see a real doctor despite his fear. Regina drew some blood at the hospital and diagnosed indigestion, which he was aggravating with his homeopathic remedies. ("Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. And Do. And...")

Cabin TripEdit

Stewart won a raffle for a weekend at a very nice cabin and planned to take Crystal. However, when he couldn't because of his hernia surgery, Lydia took the key to use with Jack. When they broke up, Oliver took the key to use with Mary. When they ended things, Regina took it to use with Conner. When Conner went back to her ex-boyfriend, Ben tried to use it with Wendy, the nurse he'd been flirting with, but she turned him down after overhearing Oliver say he's crazy. Ben, Oliver, Regina, and Lydia ended up going out there together just the four of them. ("Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. And Do. And...")




Ben was married to Naomi for seven years. She left him after that time, saying she didn't know what she wanted in life. He decided to fight for his marriage, but when she came back and took all the furniture from their apartment, he realized it was truly over.

Several months later, Naomi returned suddenly. She tried to repair things with Ben after he let her spend the night. After Ben realized he'd never put him ahead of her attempts to save the planet, he sent her away, ending things forever. ("The Lady Doth Protest Too Much")

Cute Neighbor GirlEdit

Ben saw a girl in his building he thought was cute. He saw her heading down to the laundry room, so he grabbed some formerly clean laundry and went to go meet her, but came back quickly because he had to go settle something with Lydia. ("The Heartbreak Kid")

Lois TurnerEdit

Ben grew up calling Lois Turner "Aunt Lois" because she was best friends with his mother. However, not long after his divorce and hers, they met up at the wedding of Janice Meyers and ended up sleeping together. It was a casual thing, but Lois said she'd be happy to repeat it if they were ever in town together. ("The Wedding")


At the New Year's Eve party the three siblings threw, Ben hit on a woman named Jennifer. However, Oliver and Regina were also interested and also hit on her. After passing the buck several times, Jennifer left with Regina, but Regina later admitted that they didn't hook up as Jennifer had left with another woman and two men from Cirque du Soleil. ("New Year's Eve")


While Trisha and Oliver were broken up, she slept with Ben. When Oliver found out about it, he was angry. ("Yours, Mine or His?")


Ben met Alana at the diner when she asked to borrow the salt from the table. Their relationship was very shallow and Ben only dated her because she was beautiful. He felt guilty about it, but both Regina and Oliver said he was okay to go on a certain number more dates with her because she was hot, which he did. ("Model Behavior")


Ben met Allison when he found a pair of her underwear in his laundry. She came to get it and introduced herself. Ben started seeing her and brought her to Stewart's party celebrating being named one of the top doctors of the year. He was distracted at the party, thinking Jack Arbogast was his biological father, and basically ignored Allison all night, even as she bared her soul to him. She left angrily. ("Doctor of the Year")

Kathy KellyEdit

When they were kids, Ben salivated over Kathy when his family would visit Uncle Ned's beach house. He once climbed the lifeguard stand to impress her and had to be rescued by his mother. When Uncle Ned died, she came to the funeral. After spending an awkward time with both Ben and Oliver vying for her, she left a message on their answering machine, not knowing they lived together, asking one of the brothers out. However, since she didn't specify while of them she wanted to see, each of them thought he was the one. Helped by Regina tricking them, they showed up at the same restaurant at the same time wearing the same outfit. When Kathy showed up, she told them that the brother she did like, she was liking a lot less and left. ("Restaurant Row")


Danielle was new in town and moved in next door to Ben and Oliver. Lydia encouraged Ben to ask Danielle out, but Oliver was against it because he says you should never date someone you can't avoid when it goes south. Despite Ben saying he wasn't ready, Stewart gave her one of Ben's magazines so she'd come over. Ben blew it with her, but Stewart tried again to get them together. ("The Lady Doth Protest Too Much")


While his father was hospitalized, Ben started flirting with a nurse named Wendy. However, Wendy overheard Oliver saying that Ben is crazy and she backed out of their date. ("Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. And Do. And...")


Oliver BarnesEdit

When they were kids, he and Oliver slept in bunk beds and wore the same clothes. ("Restaurant Row")

Ben has a someone tenuous relationship with his older brother Oliver. Oliver tends to disregard his feelings and is quick to abandon him for better things. When Lydia's mistake cost Oliver his fancy, new apartment, he moved in with Ben. ("Brothers Grim")

Oliver, along with Regina, tricked Ben into thinking Jack Arbogast was his biological father. Ben was worried about it all night and kept looking for similarities, which he found, like a shared allergy. ("Doctor of the Year")

Regina BarnesEdit

Ben gets along fairly well with Regina, though she had a tendency, like Oliver, to pick on him for what she sees as his shortcomings. At the end of the day, he does have her support.

Regina, along with Oliver, tricked Ben into thinking Jack Arbogast was his biological father. Ben was worried about it all night and kept looking for similarities, which he found, like a shared allergy. ("Doctor of the Year")



Ben has been friends with Ted since high school. They enjoy nerdier activities together, including Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and comic books. Ted has a large, obvious crush on Ben's mother, Lydia.

Ben had Ted over for Valentine's Day because they were both single. ("Hot Water")


Ben has been friends with Arthur since high school. They enjoy nerdier activities together, including Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and comic books.

Abby TurnerEdit

When they were kids, Ben played together often with Abby Turner. Their moms were close friends. There's a picture of the two of them in the bathtub together. ("The Wedding")



Bianca was Ben's somewhat lazy receptionist. She often lost mail and forgot his messages. When he was invited to a vow renewal for some old clients, she tried to get herself invited to go with him. ("Brothers Grim")

Bianca later quit suddenly, leaving Ben to do all his paperwork himself. ("Doctors Without Bidders")


Ben, at the behest of Stewart, hired his housekeeper, Carmen. However, she didn't do a very good job at cleaning, so he tried to work himself up to fire her. Before he could do that, he discovered that her vision was declining, which is why she wasn't cleaning very well anymore. He and Stewart said they'd get her all fixed up. ("You Win Some, You Use Some")

Lou PimskyEdit

Lou Pimsky was a client of Ben's with a very large nose. When Ben saw him in public, he avoided him, because he blurred the lines of patient and friend. ("Losing Patients")


When Stewart fired Crystal to save their relationship, she began to work for Ben. ("Doctors Without Bidders")


Ben is a marriage counselor. Because he's not a medical doctor, his parents and siblings all look down on him. Despite this, he appears to be very successful. After Naomi left him, he doubted his ability to do his job well as he hadn't been able to save his own marriage. After seeing a couple he'd been seeing following his advice, he was encouraged to keep going.

He said Valentine's Day was the worst day of the year for a couples counselor.

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • Blood makes him squeamish, which is why he dropped out of medical school.
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream is his comfort food.
  • He likes shrimp.
  • He had the same coffee machine all through college. ("Guilt Trip")
  • He doesn't know how to change a tire. ("Guilt Trip")
  • He had a paper route as a kid and wasn't very good at it. ("You Win Some, You Use Some")
  • He's allergic to scallops. ("Doctor of the Year")
  • He's allergic to caviar. ("Restaurant Row")




Pilot · We Wanna Hold Your Hand · And I'll Cry If I Want To · The Truth About Nerds & Dogs · Brothers Grim · The Heartbreak Kid · Key Ingredients · The Wedding · Thanks · Guilt Trip · New Year's Eve · Yours, Mine or His? · Model Behavior · Hot Water · You Win Some, You Use Some · Doctor of the Year · Restaurant Row · Losing Patients · Doctors Without Bidders · If These Floors Could Talk · The Lady Doth Protest Too Much · Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. And Do. And...