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Recap / How I Met Your Mother S 5 E 18 Say Cheese

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Air Date: March 22, 2010

Marshall has planned an intimate party for Lily's 32nd birthday. But things get awkward when Ted shows up with a date. Meanwhile, Robin tries to get a bad picture of Barney.


The episode provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Ted kept mistaking all the names of his previous dates when Lily made him play "Name That Bitch".
      • First thinking Leilani, the girl Ted brought to the gang's first Christmas together was "Sarah", associating the name with "Santa".
      • In New Year's Eve of 2007, there was Emily (who gave Robin a kiss in the cheek). Ted named her "Erin".
      • To Robin's uncle Cesar's funeral, Ted brought Isabel. Ted named her "Irene".
      • To Lily's appendix surgery, Ted brought... a chick he admitted he was trying to bang. Even Lily fist-bumped him.
      • The other girl that ruined their photo with Slash on Barney's birthday.
      • A year later, Amanda became "Bertha" because she attended Lily's Birthday.
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    • Amanda, Ted's Girl of the Week, decorated Lily's birthday cake with "Happy 42nd Birthday Lori".
  • Accidental Pervert: Barney thought Slash was grabbing his ass during a group picture. Marshall then confesses that it was him because he thought Barney was Lily.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When the cake Amanda bakes turns out to read "Happy 42nd Birthday, Lori," Lily simply laughs it off, presumably realizing it was an honest mistake. It's Marshall who blows up.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Marshall’s breakfast birthday for Lily was Spain themed, completed with live music and a guitarist. Later decided to take the guitarist with him because he was looking at Lily with pervert eyes.
  • Bait-and-Switch: During the "Guess who" game where Lily had to guess who wrote her positive attributes, Lily guesses the first one correctly (it was Robin's, since it was long and heartwarming). The following card only had a "you seem nice", which led Lily and Marshall to think it was from Amanda. It was actually Barney's.
    Barney: And I meant every word!
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  • Berserk Button: For Marshall it's to ruin Lily's birthday.
  • Birthday Episode: The episode takes place on Lily's birthday.
    Lily: (at 00:00) It's my Birthday!!
    Lily: (at 09:00 am) It's STILL my Birthday!!
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Amanda, Robin and Lily respectively.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The "Happy 42nd Birthday Lori" punchlines a few minutes later by both Barney and Robin.
    • Marshall's "Happy, Happy Lily Day" song got a punchline from Barney a few minutes later.
  • Call-Back: Lily's disdain for people outside of the group being in important events was first alluded in the Season 3 episode "Slapsgiving".
  • The Cameo: Anne Dudek (Natalie) and Laura Prepon (Karen) appeared in flashbacks.
  • Color Motif: Ted tries to whisper to Amanda that Lily’s favorite color is yellow (which was the wrong answer), with yellow being associated to The Mother.
  • Continuity Nod:
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    • The very first of Lily's pictures shown was taken after the events of "Duel Citizenship" where Barney and Robin were still a couple.
    • While listing all the intimate gatherings ruined by Ted's "random skanks", Lily brings up how he brought his hippy girlfriend Strawberry to their celebration of Marshall passing the bar exam at the Teppanyaki restaurant Shinjitsu. Marshall finds out that he passed the bar in "Spoiler Alert".
    • Marshall mentions he consoled Natalie (and other girls) after she broke up with Ted the first time. Lily and Marshall also bring back Karen.
    • Robin mentions her short stay in Japan in Season 4.
    • Robin also briefly says she didn't bring Don to the reunion, as they just hooked up in the previous episode "Of Course"
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • When Marshall is pretending to be a bird, he is holding the hat with his right hand, but in the photograph (in which Lily is upset), he is holding the hat with his left hand. Marshall's eyes were also opened in this photo. Same for Barney, who can be seen right before the photograph adjusting his tie with his right hand and holding his glass with his left hand, but who is then adjusting his tie with his left hand and is holding his glass with his right hand in the photograph.
    • Back in Season 1, Ted said that he hasn't seen Natalie in three years. The first season started in September 2005, and the episode he saw her again was on October of the same year. However, Marshall's flashback happened on February 2005. Not to mention the fact that Ted broke up with her in a restaurant, not the apartment, so there's no reason for her to be there in the first place.
    • In a funeral picture Lily shows, Barney is wearing a suit, while in "Monday Night Football", he says that he never wears a suit at a funeral.
  • Cynicism Catalyst/Took a Level in Cynic: Marshall claims that since he has to console all of Ted's exes, he has become less and less sympathetic towards them.
  • Death Glare: Averted by Lily not shooting Amanda her "You're Dead to me" look, but played straight with Marshall for ruining Lily's birthday.
  • Flashback: Two of Ted's previous dates (the picture with Slash on Barney's birthday and the Straw Vegetarian at Marshall's bar-exam party), Karen ruining Spring Break in Paris and Marshall consoling Natalie and other two girls at the apartment.
  • Flash Forward: The last scene of the episode takes place a year later, with Lily playing "Name That Bitch" with Ted on Amanda's picture, Marshall still taking a terrible picture (but with his eyes open) and Robin finally taking a bad picture of Barney.
  • Foreshadowing: In a flashback, Lily jokes that Barney and Robin wouldn't last. While she said that as part of a Continuity Nod, this becomes Harsher in Hindsight after Barney and Robin's divorce at the finale.
  • Girl of the Week: Ted brought a new girlfriend to Lily's birthday. And to many other celebrations.
  • Heel Realization: After seeing her, Ted and Marshall's very first college picture, Lily realized at the end of the episode that she acted like a Jerkass and she had to give Ted's girls a chance like he did with her.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Robin when both Ted and Lily accidentally insult her while making a point.
    Lily: You should listen to Robin.
    Ted: Right. Because Robin's your best friend.
    Lily: Yes.
    Ted: And what was Robin before she became your best friend? That's right, one of my random skanks!
    Robin: (who is sitting right beside Lily) Hey!
    Lily: Yes, this skank managed to work out-
    Robin: Hey!
    Lily: -but she's the skanky exception, not the skanky rule.
    Robin: Hey, I'm crying here.
  • It's All About Me: Lily's attitude during her birthdays. Ted calls her out on it.
    Ted: You're being such a birthday brat!
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Rude as she is, Lily has a justified reason for only wanting to be with important people in her life during her birthday.
    • Marshall's OOC Is Serious Business below not only supports Lily's reason above, but also the fact that he's the one who had to clean Ted's "messes" up, and that inviting these girls to serious events makes them think Ted is more serious about them than he really is.
    • Despite being insensitive on Lily perspective, Ted himself has justified reasons for calling her a birthday brat.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias:
    • Ted tries to recall the names of his past dates from photographs by associating them with either the occasion (He later called Amanda "Bertha" because of the Birthday Party), or something in the picture (he thought Leilani's name started with "San" because he was thinking of "Santa" and "Christmas"). He gets them all wrong.
    • Lampshaded later by Marshall and Lily a year later.
      Lily: Ok, Ted. Name the Bitch.
      Ted: Uhm... Ber... Bertha?
      Lily: No, it was my "Birth-day".
      Marshall: Your brain makes associations in a very obvious way.
    • Lily herself uses "camera words" when she is forced to explain herself for wanting to take a certain picture.
  • Male Gaze: Robin, as usual, wears a tight and revealing dress compared to Lily's.
  • Meet Cute: Ted claims this is how he met Amanda: She was a chef at the restaurant where Ted found a hair in his soup.
  • The Music Meister: Marshall being Marshall, he planned songs to use for Lily's birthday.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Lily: I can't imagine a better birthday than being here with my four best friends! Yay! Oh, Ted's here now, yay!
    (opens the door)
    Ted: Happy Birthday! This is Amanda.
    Lily: And Amanda. Yay.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Lily and Marshall point out that Ted kept bringing his random dates to their important moments always thinking every one of them could be "The One", therefore making them think the relation is serious and making their inevitable break-ups even harder on them.
  • Odd Name Out: The Straw Vegetarian Ted dated in one of the Flashbacks was named "Strawberry", which is why the gang point out to Ted that she was obviously crazy.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: This is one of the few instances that Marshall, generally the Gentle Giant and Token Good Teammate, lost his temper against Ted's date.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Robin's dress.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The reason Lily is so reluctant to have Ted's girlfriend in the group picture is because all his past girls have ruined the moments. This is further accentuated when Lily made up a new game called "Name the Bitch". Ted, of course, failed to remember their names.
  • Ridiculously Photogenic: Robin tried to take a bad picture of Barney after they notice that all his pictures have him in the exact same pose, even when he is bent over, or eating a chip. She only manages it a year later.
    • Completely averted with Marshall, who either has his eyes closed in every take, or is making a terrible face, even with Ted signaling when to open his eyes.
  • Romantic False Lead: It's very obvious that Amanda is not The Mother. When Lily decides to give her a chance, she says that "For all I know, she could be The One". A year later, Ted also forgot her name.
  • Running Gag: "Name the Bitch", Robin trying to take a bad picture of Barney and all of Marshall's photos being terrible.
  • Soapbox Sadie: In one of the flashbacks, Ted brought a vegetarian radical to Marshall's celebration for passing the bar of his test. The girl immediately yelled "Meat is Murder" after throwing red paint to the teppanyaki chef, ruining again the party.
    Ted: Ok, I admit it. Strawberry was a mistake. But how can I know that going in?
  • True Blue Femininity: Lily's dress.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: Robin after she finally got a bad picture of Barney.
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