The Bracket

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"The Bracket"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 14
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Joe Kelly
Production code 3ALH14
Original air date March 31, 2008
Guest actors

Chris Tallman (Mark)
Maite Schwartz (Holly)
April Bowlby (Meg)
Dawn Olivieri (Anna)
Ken Barnett (Colton Dunn)
Brendan Patrick Connor (Janitor)
Yvonne DeLaRosa (Charna)
Katy Savoy (Karen)
Kathy Uyen (Julia)
Hallie Lambert (Kate)
Tess Alexandra Parker (Mysterious Woman)[1]

Season 3 episodes

"The Bracket" is the 14th episode in the third season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 58th overall. It originally aired on March 31, 2008.


Barney attempts to track down and identify a woman who is stalking him in order to warn women he picks up from sleeping with him. He narrows down a list of 64 women most likely to want revenge, then has the gang help him eliminate possibilities tournament style. Lily, the only person who has seen the stalker, forces him to confront his "final four," none of whom is the stalker, although the woman from "Ted Mosby: Architect" started, under the impression that Barney's identity is Ted's. Lily is irked by his refusal to apologize to the women he's hurt, Barney reasoning that they were consenting adults, he showed them a good time, and remembered each and every one, even going so far as to scrapbook each experience. Barney finally apologizes to a woman when he thinks that she is the avenger but he does not recall having slept with her. This turns out to be a friend of Robin's, but Lily nonetheless is proud of Barney for finally giving out a sincere apology. The woman isn't revealed, but Future Ted reassures that she will be revealed another time.

At the end of the episode, Barney writes of the experience in his oft-mentioned blog in a scene similar to the computerized diary scenes of Doogie Howser, M.D. After glancing over at another conquest he snagged through deception, he concludes that the lesson to all this is, "I'm awesome."


Cultural references[edit]

  • In Ted and Marshall's NCAA tournament bracket, they picked the Washington State University Cougars to win the national championship.
  • Near the beginning of the episode, Barney is trying to remember the name of Alan Alda, who played Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H.
  • When Barney and Lily visit Holly, the restaurant across the street from her place is the Nolita Bar & Grill, the same restaurant featured in short-lived sitcom Kitchen Confidential, which premiered in the same time slot as How I Met Your Mother.
  • The sequence at the end of the episode where Barney types an entry for March 21, 2008 into his blog is an allusion to Doogie Howser, M.D., a TV series where the titular character is also played by Neil Patrick Harris and wrote journal entries on his computer at the end of most episodes.[2]
  • Oprah Winfrey appears in the bracket as one of Barney's conquests.
  • When going through a photo sequence of all the girls he has slept with at the bar with Lily, one of the photos from Barney's memory is of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.


The episode was originally named "The Final Four".[3] Many blogs and reviews refer to it by that name.[4][5]

The tie-in website was initially bought to prevent it being exploited by cybersquatters,[citation needed] then a simple website was added. Associate producer Carl MacLaren had the idea to do a song for the website, which sprawled into a much longer 20-minute work. The song syncs up slightly with the episode a la the alleged Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz sync, which can be seen on the season 3 DVD. The vocals were performed by Charlene Amoia (Wendy the Waitress).[2]

Critical response[edit]

Donna Bowman of The AV Club gave the episode a B rating.[6]

IGN gave the episode a rating of 7.6 out of 10.[4]

Omar G of Television Without Pity rated the episode A+. It was the only episode of the season rated A+, and described as "one of the best episodes of the show".[5]


  1. ^ "Episode Title: (#314) "The Bracket" - Press Release". 
  2. ^ a b Alan Sepinwall. "What's Alan Watching? blog, posting an e-mail from Carter Bays.". Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  3. ^ "Upcoming: The Final Four". Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Zoromski, Michelle (April 2, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: The Final Four Review". Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b G, Omar. "The Final Four". Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ Bowman, Donna (March 31, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: "The Bracket"". Retrieved May 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]