I have to say, I'm a little disappointed that How I Met Your Mother didn't do a March Madness episode last week. Back then, brackets were still relatively fresh, we were just finished with the second round of games, and there was still an outside chance that I could have some bragging rights among my friends (even though two of my Final Four teams, Pittsburgh and Uconn, were eliminated in the second round). By today, though, my hopes have been dashed, and I was preferring not to think too much about college basketball.
But not so for Marshall and Ted, despite the fact that they went to a college whose student body barely knew there was a basketball team. They go so far as to steal a blackboard from Lily's classroom to set up their brackets, but soon the basketball madness is overshadowed by a completely different, unprecedented problem-- women want nothing to do with Barney. Not only that, but out of nowhere they're spurning him in his favorite pickup spots-- the hardware store (single women or lesbians who will let him watch), the pet store (single women trying to replace the ex-boyfriend with a dog) and the art museum (convincing women he's going blind and wants to suck up all the beauty in the world before the darkness sets in.
Finally Lily figures out the answer, when she's sitting with Barney at a booth in the bar and a woman comes up to her, warning her to never trust Barney. But the problem is that Lily doesn't know who it was! So to solve the mystery of the woman defaming Barney's reputation, he sets up brackets-- the 64 women with whom he's slept and then done wrong who would have reason to be ruining his reputation.
After some spirited debating of which girls were more wronged-- “'Told her I had 12 hours to live” vs. “Fake proposed,” or the great matchup “Fake baby” vs. “Lost at sea”-- we're down to a final four, divided by regions of the city. Lily, who can identify the whistleblower, goes with Barney to confront the women, armed with a camera so she can make a scrapbook of the event. The first girl is Meg, whom Barney lured to an empty apartment-- Marshall and Lily's empty apartment, you'll remember-- and told her her loved before ditching her. Surprisingly, she starts by teling Barney it was all her fault because she “cared too much,” and Lily has to restrain him from making out with the poor girl again.
The second girl has a little more sense, in that she's still angry at Barney, but she thinks his name is Ted-- as you'll remember from the episode “Ted Mosby, Architect,” when Barney spent an entire night pretending to be an architect. The girl even has a website, TedMosbyIsAJerk.com, which apparently gets 400,000 hits after Barney stands up in the restaurant to “apologize” to the girl, as Ted Mosby of course.
The third girl doesn't even let Barney get a word in-- she just punches him. And Lily documents it, of course.
Finally we're down to the fourth girl, whom Barney ditched in the woods while on a camping trip, driving away in her truck. But it's OK, because she's engaged now! But, actually, she was dating the guy she's engaged to when Barney ditched her in the woods, so... Lily and Barney ruined their lives!
At last Robin comes up with a good plan-- set it up at MacLaren's like Barney is hitting on a girl (Robin, of course), and see if the girl materializes to warn Robin. Anyone else getting the feeling that Robin and Barney are totally going to hook up? Anyway, a blonde does come talk to Robin, but after Barney sincerely apologizes to her-- he doesn't even remember her!-- it turns out she's just Robin's friend from work. So Barney does the sincere apology, but we still don't know who it was. Well, Future Ted does -- “But more on that later.” Future Ted, you tease!
The episode itself was filled with all sorts of wonderful character moments, especially for the oft-ignored Robin and Marshall, but the best moment by far, BY FAR, was the bit at the very end. Sitting at his computer, we see Barney writing in his blog for the first time! And there's familiar music playing in the background... and the screen is blue with white text... and Barney is writing “Even though I didn't find the mystery girl, I did find out something very important about myself.” Yes, yes, it's a Doogie Howser homage! Can you believe they actually did it? Can you believe they've waited 3 seasons to do it?! I mean, when you think about it, Doogie Howser really was the original blogger. And we pan away from Barney/Doogie to reveal, of course, a beautiful woman in his bed, who reminds him he has to get back to his astronaut duties-- “That asteroid that's headed to Manhattan... it's not going to destroy itself.” Oh, and what did he learn about himself? “I'm awesome.”
And finally, as the icing on the cake of a fantastic episode, TedMosbyIsAJerk.com is a real website! And it provides some portraits of “Ted Mosby,” one of which you saw in the thumbnail image, some DVD covers from the career of “Ted Mosby, Sex Architect,” one of which you see above, and a 20-minute song/rant about the evils of Ted Mosby. No, really. Come on, this is the show that established SlapBetCountdown.com-- you thought the site wouldn't really exist?
All I can hope is that the people who tuned in to see Britney last week stuck around for this one, one of the best episodes of the show all season. Is it enough to quell the constant fear that the show will be cancelled? Maybe not, but at least we fans have gotten an amazing website and a long-awaited Doogie reference out of the deal.