Say Cheese

HIMYM episode 5x18 (106)

Say cheese
First aired:
March 22, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Robia Rashid
Barney's Blog

Images (11)

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.


It is Lily's 32nd birthday, and, as one who really loves her own birthday, she wakes herself up at midnight for the sole purpose of announcing that it is officially her birthday before falling asleep once again. Later in the morning, Marshall brings her breakfast in bed with its own theme, Spanish Interlude, complete with a guitarist and a picture of the "lyrical rolling hills of northern Spain" in the window.

One of Lily's first presents to be opened is a new digital camera with naked pictures of Marshall inside. As she enjoys taking pictures all the time, Barney and Robin cringe as they remember all of the group shots Lily took over the years and the situations that happened before the pictures were taken. Ted arrives at the door with his new girlfriend, Amanda, who has volunteered to bake Lily's cake.

The group plays parlor games designed to test their knowledge of Lily, but Amanda does not know anything about her. Lily gathers the gang together for their annual group photo while Amanda prepares the birthday cake in the kitchen, in an attempt to take the photo without Amanda. Ted objects, so Lily brings out a photo album showing pictures from past events where Ted has brought his dates along. Lily challenges Ted to name them, but he fails to remember a single one.

Robin notices that Barney's pose is exactly the same in all of the photographs. Barney explains that he never takes a bad picture. He compares and contrasts his photo presence with Marshall's; while Barney always looks "drop dead, stone cold amazing," Marshall "just looks dead, stoned, and cold". Robin tries to take candid pictures of Barney, but is shocked to see his usual pose in all the pictures. Ted calls Lily a "birthday brat", not understanding why she is so upset over ruining "a couple of pictures". Lily reminds him of their trip to Paris: It was initially reserved for only her and Marshall, but Ted came along with Karen. Karen and Ted got in a fight and broke up before the plane landed. Karen's presence in Paris ruined the whole trip.

Ted apologizes for always ruining their group shots, but explains that he's always trying to find "The One". Robin admits not inviting Don because some of the gang's important events are not ideal to bring new friends. Ted notes that Robin is Lily's best friend, but she began as one of Ted's "random skanks", Lily countering that Robin is the "skanky exception to the skanky rule". Ted accepts that Amanda does not have to be in the group photo, but asks Lily to give her a chance. When Amanda reveals the birthday cake, which reads "Happy 42nd Birthday, Lori", Marshall gives her his "you're dead to me" look and kicks Amanda out of the apartment. Marshall explains he has become cynical because every time Ted breaks up with a girl, Marshall is there to pick up the pieces and console the girl.

Ted comments that all of the photos in Lily's photo album show no signs of the fights and disagreements that happened only moments before they were taken. Lily turns the page to the first photo that she, Marshall, and Ted had taken together back in college, a result of Ted inviting her into the picture because he believed that her and Marshall's relationship would last. Lily apologizes to Ted and agrees to call back Amanda. When the time comes for the group photo, Robin tricks Barney into removing his suit jacket just before the picture is taken, but the finished product shows Barney in his usual pose, much to Robin's dismay.

At Lily's 33rd birthday, Lily asks Ted to identify Amanda in the photo album, but he cannot remember her name. As they gather for the group photo, Robin offers Barney some dip. Barney realizes too late the dip is cilantro, which he is allergic to, and begins to sneeze. Finally, Robin catches Barney in a compromising position for a bad photograph.


  • Marshall mentions consoling Natalie after she and Ted broke up in February 2005. However, in Return of the Shirt, which occurs in October 2005, Ted says he hasn't seen her in three years. The incident Marshall refers to also can't have happened after that episode, as Ted and Natalie broke up at a restaurant and not the apartment, where Marshall finds her.
  • Ted brings up Lily and Marshall fighting on Halloween over Lily not wanting to dress up as penguins and calling them (according to Marshall) "lame". Marshall liking penguins was first referenced in Slutty Pumpkin, where he approves of the Slutty Pumpkin's researching them.
    • Marshall also appeals to Robin over Lily's attitude towards penguins, and Robin's love for them was previously mentioned in Robin 101, where it is revealed that her temper can be defused by talking about emperor penguins.
  • Lily's summer studying in Paris was first mentioned in Cupcake.
  • Barney's pose in all photographs can be seen in the picture of the gang and Ted's parents at brunch from Brunch.
  • Ted mentions how Robin started as one of his "random skanks", and in Monday Night Football, Marshall complains when Ted invites Robin to the gang's Super Bowl viewing party in a flashback to the 2006 Super Bowl.
  • Marshall is seen reading the "How to Win a Marathon" book that he uses to train for the New York City Marathon in Lucky Penny on the flight to Paris.
  • 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,
  • Lily complains about people outside the gang appearing in group photos of significant gatherings in Slapsgiving, when Robin invites her boyfriend Bob for Thanksgiving. Here, however, Robin sides with Lily, and informs Ted that it is why she did not invite Don, who she started dating in Of Course.
  • Robin recalls being a guest at a Japanese wedding while living in Japan, which she did between Intervention and Shelter Island.
  • One of the group photos in Lily's album is taken at the celebration of the approval of Robin's US citizenship, which she decides to apply for in Duel Citizenship. Robin and Barney are together at the time of the party, and shows that they are having problems, alluding to the events of The Rough Patch.
  • Lily's and Marshall's respective "you're dead to me" looks were first referenced in Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)


  • One of Marshall's and Lily's photos in which Marshall cannot take a good picture
  • One of Ted girlfriends ruining a groupshot with Slash
  • Robin being in a Japanese wedding picture
  • Lily's Birthday cake
  • Barney finally taking a bad photo, while Marshall does the same...
  • Barney as a child, taking a perfect photo.
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Say Cheese images.

Memorable Quotes

Lily: Name that bitch!

Ted: Hey guys, this is the disgusting, smelly hippie I'm dating.
Ted: I did not say that.
Lily: Well, you might as well have.
Ted: Hey guys, this is Strawberry.

Ted: Okay, I admit it, Strawberry was a mistake. But how could I have known that going in?
The others: [In unision] Her name was Strawberry!

Robin: Smile, you son of a bitch!
Robin: There, a bad photo!

Lily: Yeah, Ted, I think you should listen to Robin.
Ted: Right, right, 'cause 'cause Robin's your best friend.
Lily: Exactly.
Ted: Your best friend in the whole world.
Lily: Absolutely.
Marshall: (whispering) Careful, Lily. It's a trap.
Ted: And before she was your best friend, what was she? Oh, that's right. One of my random skanks.
Robin: Hey!
Lily: Yes, Ted. This particular skank
Robin: Hey!
Lily : happened to work out, but she's the skanky exception, not the skanky rule.
Robin: I'm crying a little bit.

Lily: I want to get the perfect group shot. Marshall, sit between Barney and Robin.
Robin: Why?
Lily: You know, light, color, balance, aperture
Robin: You're just saying camera words.
Robin: Wait, you don't want Barney and me to look like a couple in this picture, do you?
Lily: Of course I don't! You two aren't going to last! I'm going for timeless here.
Barney: How dare you?
Robin: That is so rude!
Barney: It's true.
Robin: Totally true, we're running on fumes here, but still rude.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • In Three Days of Snow, Future Ted explains how in their sophomore year (second year) of college (1998) they began a tradition of picking up each other from the airport, carrying a handmade sign, wearing a chauffeur's hat, and bringing back local beer from wherever they flew in from, which they continued to do for the next eleven years (from March 1998 to 2009). However in this episode, Lily explains how in their junior year of college (1999), she picked Marshall up from the airport without a chauffeur's hat, and Marshall did not bring beer.
    • In 1998, Marshall is 20 years old, therefore not old enough to buy beer to bring back for Lily.
  • In Return of the Shirt, Ted breaks up with Natalie in a restaurant, so in this episode Natalie appears again in the living room when Marshall mentioned Ted that he is his ´break up cleaning.´ Also, Marshall says that was in February, 2005 but the events of Return of the Shirt take place in late 2005.
  • When the Japanese parents of Robin's ex Japanese boyfriend ask "name that bitch" in Japanese, he answers with "umm" instead of "eto". In Japan, "umm" is said as "eto".
  • Marshall is shown to be incapable of keeping his eyes open in a photo. However, this problem was not seen in his photo montages during The Sexless Innkeeper.
  • In a funeral picture, Lily is showing Barney he is wearing a suit, while in Monday Night Football, he says that he never wears a suit at a funeral.
  • Barney says that he always makes the same face in pictures, but in the intro to the show, Barney is seen making multiple different faces. However the intro are shots of the actors and not the characters.
  • 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.
  • Marshall says that Lily spent 2 months of their junior year in Paris for study abroad when the two had just "started having sex." However in Rebound Bro Lily said her and Marshall had been having sex "3 months in" and in How I Met Everyone Else it was established they met Freshman Year.
    • This isn't necessarily a goof, Marshall could have meant that he'd just started at that point in his life, meaning to say that he'd just started in college.
    • By this they meant he hadn't had sex in two months, as they were visiting for spring break and she would have been gone for about two months at that point.
  • When Marshall was singing Robin's part of the song, Barney is laughing

Allusions and Outside References

  • Marshall creates the game Lilial Pursuit for her birthday, a homemade version of Trivial Pursuit.
  • The group takes a picture with rock guitarist Slash at MacLaren's but the photo is ruined by another one of Ted's girlfriends. She blocks out Slash in the photo so that only his curly black hair and top hat can be seen.
  • Barney, while trying to explain why the camera loves him, mentions that the camera wants to "pop in an Al Green CD."
  • Lily knows the dialogue of The Goonies word for word; she first saw the film shortly after her parents broke up.
  • As Robin is trying to take a bad picture of Barney, she says, "Smile, you son of a bitch!", a quote from Jaws.
  • During Marshall's flashback of Lily and Ted taking their first picture together in college, Marshall is wearing a t-shirt with an "All You Need Is Love" print, referencing the song by The Beatles.


  • Brique - Les Cautionneurs

Other Notes

  • Emily (who Ted dated around New Year's Even 2007), Leilani (Christmas 2005), Isabel (Robin's uncle Cecil's funeral), unnamed girl (Lily's appendix surgery), and unnamed yoga instructor (Barney's 2009 birthday) are all previous girls Ted dated who are mentioned in this episode.
  • Apparently, the only time Marshall has had his eyes open for a photo is during the group shot in this episode.
  • In The Goat, it is implied that Lily's birthday comes after Ted's, which is explicitly stated as April 25. This means that this episode takes place during May or later.



  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade B+. [1]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade A-. [2]
  • Amanda Sloane Murray of IGN gave the episode 7.8 out of 10. [3]
  • Joel Keller of TV Squad was less impressed, describing the episode as "half-baked." He wrote that the main premise needed to be explored further, that the B stories were underdeveloped, and that the episode left him dissatisfied. [4]
  • Vlada Gelman of the Los Angeles Times enjoyed seeing an episode where the whole group was together in the same room, nicely tied together with flashbacks and flashforwards. Gelman suggests Lily just needs to learn to use the "skank removal tool" in Photoshop. [5]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars. "...nothing says great birthday party like cognac pumpkin cheesecake."


External Links

Previous episode
Of Course
Say Cheese
(all episodes)
Next episode →
Zoo or False
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.