The Bracket

HIMYM episode 3x14 (58)

The bracket
First aired:
March 31, 2008
Pamela Fryman
Joe Kelly
Barney's Blog

Images (6)

Someone is sabotaging Barney's attempts to pick up girls and the gang must examine his previous conquests to find the culprit.


Future Ted – "Kids, back when we were younger, your Uncle Marshall and I were really into college basketball. Every year, March Madness would take over the entire apartment."

Marshall and Ted are working on filling in the brackets for the college basketball playoff games when the girls come into the living room and ask what they are doing. Lily asks where he got the blackboard and Marshall tells her that he found it, but Marshall recounts in his head that they stole the blackboard from Lily's classroom. Barney walks in and tells them that the team that they bet on just lost. Barney tells everyone that he went to the hardware store to pick up girls. He hits on a girl in the store and when Barney returns after getting something, she slaps him. This also happened at the dog store and the museum; every time he returns, he gets slapped. Barney can't figure out what is going on.

Future Ted – "But the next night got even weirder."

Barney and Lily meet up at the bar and when Barney walks off to get something, a girl approaches Lily and tells her that he will say whatever just to get into her pants. Lily is upset and tells Barney, but they can't find her and Barney can't figure out who it is. Barney tries to think about who it could be and goes through hundreds of girls in his mind and he gets overloaded.

Barney complains to everyone and Ted suggests that he looks at the book of girls that he has slept with. Barney brings everyone to see his book and Lily can't find who the girl is. Barney gets an idea that he put the girls on the bracket chart that Marshall and Ted have and he suggests that they discuss the girls and figure out who it is. No one wants to do it, but Barney brought beer. They all argue about who has the most reason to hate him and sabotage him. After several hours, they have come to the final four and decide to contact all of the women. Lily and Barney first visit Meg, the girl that he slept with in the first apartment that Marshall and Lily bought. Barney wants to hide from her, but Lily makes him apologize to her. When Meg sees them, she runs up to Barney and kisses him. When Lily breaks them up, she tells Barney that she isn't the one, but he has to apologize to her, but he quickly walks off in the other direction. The next girl, Anna, got lied to that Barney was Ted. She tells him that she has a website, Barney stands on a table and tells the whole restaurant that Ted Mosby is a jerk and to go to the website.

Future Ted – "And that little Web site went on to get 400,000 hits. Thanks, Barney."

The next girl is Kate, whom Barney told that he had a twin brother, and had sex with her twice. She immediately attacks him and Lily makes sure to get a picture. The next, and last girl, is Holly. Barney recalls the story of leaving her in the woods by herself and a bear comes after her. Lily gripes at him and tells him that it is the worst thing he has ever done. Holly answers the door and meets Mark, her fiancé. They invite Barney and Lily in the house and have coffee. Barney says that that was the worst Fourth of July, but Mark reminds Holly that they started dating in June.

Lily gripes at Barney when they get back to the apartment that he never apologized to any of the women. Barney doesn't think that is bad, but what he does think is bad is that he still doesn't know who the stalker is. Robin suggests that they set her up and Robin will be the girl that Barney is hitting on. Robin sets up the scene that Lily will be at the jukebox, the guys will be at the booth having a normal conversation, and Robin will walk up and get hit on by Barney. Robin asks what he tells them to get them to have sex with him and he tells her and she gets a little turned on. When Robin sees someone coming in, Barney walks off to the bathroom and the girl approaches Robin. Barney returns from the bathroom and looks on the bracket to find her, but she isn't there and he doesn't recognize her at all. When she walks off, Barney intercepts her and tells her that he doesn't recognize her and he apologizes to her. Lily walks up and tells him that she isn't the girl and the girl walks away. Lily takes a picture and names it "Barney's Redemption". There is a montage of what Barney has done to girls over the years.

Future Ted – "Eventually Barney did figure out who the mysterious girl was. But more on that later."

Barney writes in his blog on the computer: "Sometimes we search for one thing but discover another. Even though I didn't find the mystery girl…I did find out something very important about myself…I'm awesome." A girl interrupts him and asks him to come back to bed with her since he has to go in outer space tomorrow.


  • Ted admits to reading Barney's blog.
  • Barney claims to a girl at an art museum that he has 83% visibility while pretending to be blind to seduce her.
  • Lily mentions Barney using Ted's name to hook up with Anna, as seen in Ted Mosby: Architect, and Barney mentions abandoning Meg in the Dowisetrepla apartment after sleeping with her, as seen in Dowisetrepla.
  • One of the girls the gang argues about is "Fake Proposal Girl". Barney mentions pretending to propose to get women to sleep with him in We're Not From Here.
  • While Barney says that he would never demean the women he slept with "by putting them on some tawdry list", he mentions showing Ted his "list" in Little Boys.
  • Madeleine Albright appears in the montange of Barney's past hook-ups, is listed on the bracket, and Lily notices there being a "government official" in his scrapbook. Barney mentions sleeping with her in The Yips.
  • Barney only shows signs of guilt when he thinks he forgot about a girl he slept with. In The Yips, he has an identity crisis when he finds out that the woman he lost his virginity to doesn't remember him.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Barney finally confronts his saboteur (Abby, whom he slept with in Ten Sessions) in Everything Must Go.
  • Barney is seen with a list of his past sexual partners again in Right Place, Right Time.
  • Ted points out that Robin always laughs when she lies. She does this again in Rabbit or DuckGirls Versus Suits, and The Best Man. Also, when Ted asks if she has ever fallen asleep eating ribs, she giggles when answering "no", and she is seen doing this while on sleep medication in Sorry, Bro.
  • When Lily suggests that Barney's lies are failing due to karma, Barney responds that "Karma" is stripping in Vegas, and that they're "good". In The Drunk TrainQuinn is revealed to be a stripper at the Lusty Leopard under the name "Karma". Since he didn't appear to recognize her, the Karma he refers to here is likely a different person.
  • Ted suggests that Barney isn't as a good a liar as he thinks, to which Barney responds that he would be in jail for perjury if he weren't, before adding "But I don't want to talk about work." Barney reveals in Unpause that his job at his company is taking the blame for their illegal activities.
  • Barney also pretends to be an astronaut to sleep with a woman in The Playbook and Zoo or False. When recounting every lie he has ever told to seduce women in The Naked Truth, Nora gives up after he says "... and that concludes all the space-related lies. Let's move on to the world of sports. Oh, wait, sorry; I've thought of another space one. 'I've been bitten by a moon snake. You need to suck all the space poison out of my—'".
  • Barney mentions pretending to be Jorge Posada. He also pretends to be on the Yankees in Oh Honey and Bedtime Stories, and Robin makes the same claim about him in Do I Know You? to persuade a girl to go home with him.
  • Barney pretends to be his own lookalike or twin many times, such as in Bad News.
  • A successful seduction of another widow is among the lies Barney admits to Nora in The Naked Truth.
  • The others knowing about Barney's interest in decoupage is relevant to the 2009 scene in Trilogy Time.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:The Bracket images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: This is a nightmare! Some woman that I slept with and screwed over is trying to ruin my life. God, why is this happening to me?
Lily: It's karma.
Barney: Nah, it's not Karma. She's stripping in we're good.

Ted: Come on! Let's see the list.
Barney: Ted, don't be crass. I would never demean the women that I've slept with by putting their names on a tawdry list. (cut to Barney in the apartment pulling out a scrapbook)
Barney: This is a scrapbook of all the women I've slept with. I made it at the scrapbook barn on 7th.

Barney: She said I hooked up with her? Well, what's her name? What'd she look like?
Lily: She didn't say her name. But she had blonde hair, boobs... kinda trashy.
Barney: Dead in the eyes with an aura of self-loathing and despair?
Lily: Yes!
Barney: That's all of them!

Lily: Maybe you're not as good a liar as you think you are.
Barney: Oh, really, then why am I not in prison for perjury? (waves hand dismissively) But I don't wanna talk about work.

Barney: Okay, girl who thought I owned Google or girl who thought I was a scuba instructor?
Ted: You gotta go scuba instructor.
Robin: You're kidding!
Ted: She got the bends!
Barney: Yeah, she did!
Marshall: (Doing a thumbs-down) Boo!

Lily: Absolutely not, Barney. We are not going to make a game out of the women you've tricked into sleeping with you.
Barney shows a box of beer
Lily: No way! The girl who thought he had 12 hours to live has way more cause to ruin his life than the girl he fake proposed to.
Robin: It's fake proposal girl. I mean, she hired a wedding planner!
Ted: It's 12 hours to live! That girl flew them both to Paris!
Robin: Oh, she only bought him a one-way ticket!
Barney: Okay, okay, everybody! Hands (All lift hands except Robin)
Robin: Damn it!
Barney makes a game with the gang trying to figure which of his past partners is warning women away from him.

Barney: At one point I am pretty sure I sold a woman. I didn't speak the language, but I shook a guy's hand, he gave me the keys to a Mercedes and I left her there.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Barney has shown multiple times, both before and after this episode, that he almost never (cares to) remembers the names of his conquests, yet all of a sudden he knows the names of at least 64 of them.
  • All 32 girls who get through the first round of eliminations in the bracket were just the girls listed above their competitor. However, this scenario, though unlikely, is still possible.
  • In Say Cheese, Barney is said to never have taken a bad photo (i.e. a photo without his signature pose). However, Lily is able to take multiple pictures of Barney in compromising situations in this episode for her scrapbook.
  • Barney says that he would never put the girls he's slept with on a list, but in Right Place, Right Time he shows Ted a list of 200 women he's slept with. Also, in Little Boys Ted said that he already had seen Barney's list and is terrified.
  • Barney goes to Anna to apologise to her, but according to Lily's story a girl came to her and said "that guy you were talking to, Barney Stinson..." which means the targeted girl knew Barney's real name while Anna (as shown in Ted Mosby: Architect) thought (and still thinks) his name is Ted. Barney and Lily knew this so they should have crossed her off the list because it couldn't possibly have been her. However, Lily likely withheld that the blonde had mentioned his name so she could watch him apologize to the girls. Or, more strongly, as seen by their reaction to what she says as they encounter, they thought that by that point she already knew Barney's real name.
  • When Barney tries to seduce Robin, he has the glass on his right hand but when he's touching Robin the glass is in the left hand.
    • It shows him moving the glass from his right hand to his left just before he touches Robin.
  • During the flashback for Holly's apology, Barney is heard driving off with her truck. However, in Arrivederci, Fiero, we learned that Barney does not how to and is scared to drive.
    • That was in the past, it is possible that in the meantime before this happened and after the driving lesson in Arrivederci, Fiero he overcame his fear and learned to drive.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The final scene is a parody of the conclusion of every episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. Doogie (played by Neil Patrick Harris), at the end of every episode, updates his blog with the same musical theme heard here.
  • The song One Shining Moment, heard at the end of the show during the scrapbook montage, has been used in CBS Sports' coverage of the NCAA Tournament since 1987.
  • Barney tries to remember the name of Alan Alda, who played Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H.
  • Oprah Winfrey appears in the bracket as one of Barney's conquests. She is the last name in the 4th region and loses in the first round. The name on the bracket just says Oprah, and Barney knew they were trying to find a blonde girl, who obviously would not be Oprah Winfrey.
  • Lily mentions recognizing "one government official" in Barney's scrapbook. When he thinks back about the women he slept with, one is Madeleine Albright, former U.S Secretary of State, who Barney mentions in The Yips.
  • One of the girls on the bracket thought that Barney "owned Google".


Other Notes

  • The website actually exists and contains the letter Barney left for Anna in Ted Mosby: Architect, posters from the fake Ted Mosby's porn movies from I'm Not That Guy​, and caricatures of different fates that would be too good for Ted Mosby.
  • Commentary for the episode is provided by Craig Thomas, Neil Patrick Harris (Barney), and Joe Kelly (writer).  It is available on the season 3 DVD.



  • Omar G at Television Without Pity gave the episode an A+.[1] This was Television Without Pity's highest rating for Season 3.
  • The AV Club gave the episode a B rating. [2]
  • Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode a 7.6 out of 10 rating. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7.5 out of 10 stars. "Check out That asteroid's not gonna stop by itself!"


External Links

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The Bracket
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