How I Met Your Mother
Say Cheese

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: A- | 2 USERS: A+
Pictures Or It Didn't Happen!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Since this weecap is about Lily's birthday and will be published on March 24, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to three very important non-fictional people in the extended HIMYM family: Alyson Hannigan, her daughter Satyana Denisof (who turns 1 today, YAY!), and my husband, Scott. What? I said extended didn't I? [A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend. --Willow] Fine, be that way. Let's just get right to the weecap, then.

On the night before her birthday, Lily sets her alarm for midnight and when it sounds, she springs up in bed, flings her arms wide open and chirps, "It's my birthdaaaaaaaaay!" Marshall leans over the side of the bed grabs a sparkly birthday tiara, places it on her head, kisses her shoulder, and pulls her back down in his arms and dreamland. And at 9:00 AM, when Lily's alarm sounds again, she springs up in bed, again (tiara still firmly in place). "IT'S STILL MY BIRTHDAY!"

Marshall, who loves planning birthdays as much as Lily loves celebrating them, delivers her breakfast in bed, and although it seems to be a belgian waffle topped with strawberries, he says, "The theme of today's birthday breakfast in bed is Spanish Interlude." Lily: "YAY!" Marshall leads a tocaor into the bedroom, who plays his guitar (Lily: "YAY!") as Marshall pulls open the drapes to reveal the picturesque posters of Spain that he's taped up over the windows. Lily: "YAY!"

Marshall tells Lily about his plans for her 32nd birthday party that night. "Just the five of us, black tie dinner, and Ted is picking up your favorite cognac pumpkin cheese cake from Edgar's. ME: Black tie to hang out at your place and eat cheesecake? LILY: "YAY!" Marshall announces that he's off to run a super-secret birthday errand. LILY: "YAY!" He looks at the tocaor who is considering Lily with bedroom eyes, waits a beat, and then: "And I'm taking this guy with me, because I don't like the way he's looking at you." Lily nods as if to say that's a great observation and excellent idea and then lets out a much more subdued, "Yay." A word about the tocaor, before I move on. Don't you think he looked a lot like a younger, smaller version of Josh Radnor, with just a wee bit of Zach Braff and some young Rob Morrow thrown in the mix?

Nighttime; DOWISETREPLA: Lily opens her gift from Marshall -- a new camera. He tells her that as a bonus, he took some nude shots of himself, "Before I wrapped it -- put a bow on it." Lily says there wasn't a bow on it. Marshall: "Wrong it." Predictable, yet saucy. When Lily says she can't wait to get some great shots of the gang, Barney and Robin groan. Now understand, Lily has lovingly compiled gorgeous albums full of the gang's memorable moments -- but she is so not afraid to ruin said memorable moments, in order to get a great shot.

We cut to a photo of the day Robin became a U.S. citizen and then flash back to the moment the group shot was taken. As Lily sets up her camera, Robin and Barney (who were still together then) get all snuggly-wuggly on the couch. When Lily asks Marshall to sit between them, Robin wants to know why. Lily bluffs. "Uh you know, light, color, balance, aperture." Robin says, "You're just saying camera words.... Wait, you don't want Barney and me to look like a couple in this picture, do you?" Lily drops the pretense. "Of course I don't. You two aren't going to last! I'm going for timeless here." Barney: "How dare you?" Robin: "That's so rude." Barney: "It's true..." Robin: "It's totally true; we're running on fumes here, but still rude." Lily sits down on the arm of the couch and the timer goes off. Snap. Picture! Marshall, I see, went to the Cindy School of Modeling. You can tell by his telltale shut eyes. Sigh.

Saget!Ted notes they all hated Lily's group shots as we flash forward to the present. Lily allows that she gets a little bossy, but she just wants to remember special times. "Like tonight -- I can't imagine a better birthday than being here with just my four best friends. YAY!" I'm am so not one of those birthday people about my own birthday, but her enthusiasm is endearing and infectious.

Then...Ted arrives. But the cheesecake he brings with him is not the promised cognac-pumpkin. It's Amanda (Brooke Nevin), Ted's latest stepping stone on his way to the mother.

Theme Song!

Marshall fakes up his best welcome for Amanda, even as he chides Ted for not bringing the cheesecake and for bringing a stranger into his home. And he does this right in front of Amanda! The vibe goes right over Ted's head, but I think Amanda is just too polite to let them see that she's feeling it. Ted explains that Amanda is a chef. They met when Ted sent back some soup. "Luckily, she's got such pretty hair I didn't mind eating a little of it." Gag. Amanda blushes. "They call me The Shedder at work." Ew. Lily manages to choke out that she's go glad Amanda will be making her cake.

Amanda, who doesn't know Robin from Lily, is totally lost playing the Lily-centric games Marshall has created (Lily-al Pursuit [Lily trivia] and Gilding the Lily [Lily tributes]). Why they didn't just let Amanda team with Ted makes no sense to me, but no biggie. Eventually she excuses herself and returns to the kitchen to continue working on Lily's cake. Who makes a cake at the birthday party, you ask? TV people do. It's just like cutting down and then decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, or starting a 22lb turkey Thanksgiving afternoon.

As soon as she's out of sight, Lily hustles to get her real friends into an Amanda-less group picture. When Ted realizes Lily is purposefully excluding Amanda, he asks her about it. She tries to bluff with more camera words, but finally says, "I'm not going to let another one of your dumb skanks ruin my precious memories." She shoves him into the photo pose, the camera clicks and everyone looks horrible. Except Barney. Commercial.

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How I Met Your Mother




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