How I Met Your Mother
Say Cheese

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: A- | 2 USERS: A+
Pictures Or It Didn't Happen!

DOWISETREPLA: Lily says she thinks Ted should listen to Robin. Ted says, "Right, 'cause Robin's your best friend." Lily agrees. Ted: "Your best friend in the whole world." Marshall whispers: "Careful Lily, it's a trap," but she doesn't listen and it's totally a trap. Ted: "And before she was your best friend, what was she? Oh, that's right -- one of my random skanks." Robin objects, but Lily talks over her. "Yes Ted, this skank happened to work out..." Robin: "Hey!" Lily: "But she's the skanky exception, not the skanky rule." Robin: "Hey, I'm crying a little bit."

Guitar in hand, Marshall tries to end the argument by encouraging the gang to sing the "Happy Happy Lily Day" song he wrote for Lily's birthday, but it's a no go. Ted tells Lily that he brings girls to their get-together because his friends are important to him. "You're like my family." Lily agrees that they're a family, which is one of the reasons she'd like some of their parties to be just them. She reminds him of their dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse, in celebration of Marshall passing the bar exam. We flash back to...

Restaurant: Ted and his new girl join Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney, who are all seated around the table, watching the chef prepare their meal. Ted: "Hey guys, this is the disgusting, smelly hippie I'm dating." Although they're somewhat taken aback, the gang responds sweetly enough. Back in DOWISETREPLA, Ted insists, "I did not say that." Lily says, "Well, you might as well have." Back at the restaurant, we try it again. Ted walks in with his latest. "Hey guys, this is Strawberry." Heh. Marshall offers to order some more food. Strawberry says she won't be eating, as she's a vegetarian. Lily says "Okay," in that tone of voice that means, "Ted, why in hell did you bring a vegetarian to a Japanese Steakhouse?" She then changes the subject and proposes a toast to Marshall and the three years of hard work he put into reaching this moment. As soon as she says she's so proud of him, Strawberry stands up, screams, "MEAT IS MURDER," throws red paint all over the poor chef and runs out leaving everyone stunned and humiliated. Back at DOWISETREPLA, Ted admits Strawberry was a mistake. "But how could I have known that, going in?" In unison, the gang answers, "Her name was Strawberry." I like to think a little bit of Lily's reaction to Strawberry is rooted here. How about you?

Ted tells Lily that Amanda doesn't have to be in the group photo if it's that important to Lily, but adds, "I promise she's not going to ruin your birthday. Just give it a chance." Marshall tries to force a peaceful resolution by declaring them all friends again, and breaking into yet another chorus of his "Happy Happy Lily Day." When the gang joins in, Amanda walks out of the kitchen, and pronounces the cake done. "I hope you like it." She presents it to Lily who reads the salutation. "Happy 42nd birthday Lori." Music from The Exorcist plays, and Saget!Ted reminds his kids that he told them about how Lily goes all Dark Willow and gives people her You're Dead To Me look, "right before she explodes in white hot rage..." A beat. "Well, this wasn't it.

Lily laughs and shakes her head. But then the music starts up again. The camera pans to Marshall, and Saget!Ted interjects: "But this was Marshall's." Marshall says, "Forty-second? Does this hot piece of ass look 42 to you? OR -- OR, does she look like her name is LORI?" Hee. I love how that was even more upsetting to him. Lily, who seems more amused than disappointed by the cake, sweetly tells Marshall that it's okay. Ignoring his wife, Marshall turns to and on his best friend. "Ted! Get this stranger out of my house!" Yikes. I'm having a hard time swallowing the idea that Marshall is being quite this harsh about some young woman, in that woman's presence, but it is what it is. Amanda places the cake down, apologizes and rushes out as Marshall yells again for her to do just exactly that. Ted glares at Marshall, leaves, and slams the door behind him. Then Robin, Lily and Marshall all look at each other. A beat. Barney, still seated, starts playing Marshall's guitar and singing "Happy Happy Lily Day." He only stops when Marshall turns to him with a snarl. Commercial.

When Ted gets back to DOWISETREPLA without his girl, the gang performs the Ritual Airing of Grievances and Photographic Documentation Review, which includes Marshall complaining about how he's always girlfriend clean-up crew after Ted dumps them. There's a flashback to February 2005 (and the fourth episode of the series -- ever). Marshall returns to the apartment, after a 36 hour study session. Natalie (Anne Dudek) is sitting on Ted's couch, crying that Ted broke up with her, again. The only problem is, although it's great to see Dudek again, in 2005, Ted dumped Natalie on her birthday, in a restaurant, and she beat the duke out of him with her mad Krav Maga skills, so it's kind of hard to understand how she's later at Ted's apartment, crying about it, so I'm not giving this bit any more coverage than it deserves. There's another girl in 2007, and then another in 2010 (when Marshall doesn't even live there). Marshall gets progressively less sympathetic as the years go by. So, while he was ready to eat ice cream and give Natalie his shoulder, by 2010, he's telling Ted's latest, "Oh, shut up," and walking away.

Back to the present at DOWISETREPLA: Ted issues a sarcastic apology and suggests the precious pictures might be better without him in them. Barney leans in. "They'd look a lot better if Marshall weren't in them." Marshall tells Barney that's a cheap shot, while Ted continues to rant about the pictures. He tells Lily they're all a big lie. "They're what you want our life to be -- not what it is." Lily says that's not true.

Ted flips through the album and points out a Halloween picture of Lily and Marshall. The truth behind the smile filled photo is -- the couple was in a huge fight at the time (because not only did Lily tell Marshall she didn't dress up like a penguin, she also said penguins are lame -- never trust a girl that would choose a duck over a rabbit, Marshall). Ted declares it completely phony. He moves onto a picture of Robin's birthday 3 years ago. Robin was sick in bed, and Lily made her get dressed for a group photo. Robin adds, "And then you pinched my cheeks really hard, to get some color in them." Lily says, "Yeah, but you look pretty." Robin pauses a moment as she remembers. Her feature soften, her voice grows warm. "And then we all ate chocolate cake in my bed." Marshall says, "Actually, that was a really nice night." Everyone agrees.

It's then that Lily comes across the first picture college-era Ted, Marshall and Lily ever took together, and we're treated to a flashback of how it happened. Just as a guy is about to take Ted and Marshall's first official roomie shot, Lily wanders into their dorm room, and Ted invites her to be in the photo. Marshall whispers his concerns. "What are you doing, Ted? What if we break up?" Ted replies, "What if you don't?" Awwwww. Back in the present, Lily, clearly moved, remembers that Ted believed in her then, and she should believe in him now. She insists upon getting Amanda back to the party. "For all I know, she's the one." Ted thanks her. Robin says, "I think Lori's age has made her very wise." Barney adds, "They say your forties are when you really get to know yourself." We sideways whoosh to a little while later. Poor Amanda returns. The gang, including her, poses. Right before the shutter clicks, Robin tells Barney he has a hole in his jacket. He rips it off and searches furiously for it. And yet? When we see the picture, he's standing there in his typical pose (and jacket), as photogenic

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How I Met Your Mother




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