How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How I Met Your Mother Wiki
The Front Porch

HIMYM episode 4x17 (81)

The front porch.png
First aired:
March 16, 2009
Rob Greenberg
Chris Harris
Barney's Blog

Images (12)

Karen breaks up with Ted. He discovers that Lily was responsible and has been meddling with his relationships for years. The gang stays up late to watch Robin's morning show and Barney is seduced by Marshall's nightgown.


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The episode begins with Robin asking her friends if they would watch her talk show, which airs at 4 A.M. The group reluctantly agrees to stay up and watch. Ted then turns up and informs them that Karen has broken up with him, after finding Robin's earring in Ted's bed, thinking that he and Robin had sex.

As everyone prepares to watch Robin's show, Ted discovers another earring of Robin's on Marshall's dresser and mutes the television to confront Marshall, believing him to have sabotaged his relationship with Karen.

As extreme events occur on Robin's show (she starts crying while showing a picture of the gang, she saves the host of the cooking segment when he catches fire, she resuscitates the weatherman after he's had a heart attack and finally she delivers a baby live on camera), still muted, Lily confesses that she has been breaking Ted up with girls who she didn't see passing the "Front Porch Test" - an indication of how they would all live together once they were old. A scene is shown of Marshall, Lily, and Ted in the far future playing bridge (though clearly, none of them know how to play). Lily says she never did this with any woman who could possibly have become the mother of Ted's children, such as Stella and Victoria, but hesitates when Ted adds Robin to this list.  Lily admits she foresaw a horrible front porch with Robin, Ted unhappy about the two children he never had and Robin angry about the career she lost.  Lily says she never intended to break them up, but accidentally gave them the words they used in their eventual breakup. 

Robin returns from the show, dismayed to find none of them saw her eventful show, and learns the truth behind her break-up with Ted which Lily insists she did not want to happen. Ted is furious and storms out. The next day, Ted heads into the bar to find Karen waiting, having had the situation explained to her by Lily. Karen hands Ted a letter from Lily, which contains an apology, and lets Ted know that Lily has prepared a fine dinner in The Apartment for him and Karen. However Karen then tells him he can never see Lily again, and Ted conducts the "Front Porch Test" himself as he imagines life without Marshall and Lily in it. Ted then breaks up with Karen, with Future Ted stating that he realized at that point how much it matters that his girlfriend likes his friends, rather than vice versa. Returning to the apartment, Ted asks Robin to be his "plus one" and they enjoy the meal Lily prepared. They wonder whether or not they would still be together if not for Lily's intervention. Ted then makes a mock proposal to Robin, asking her to be his "backup wife" and marry him if they're both single when they turn 40. She accepts.

Meanwhile, Marshall wears a nightshirt to the pajama party, while Barney wears a silk suit. Barney insists his clothing choice is superior, citing the possibility of attractive women coming to his home at night and seeing how good he looks, but then admits how unlikely that is and uncomfortable the "suitjamas" are. Marshall then convinces Barney to try one. Barney and Marshall delight in their nightshirts, having a dream about flying together in them. Barney starts wearing nightshirts to sleep. A week later, an attractive woman does indeed show up at his apartment at night — but, upon seeing his nightshirt, she decides to leave, much to Barney's chagrin.


  • Lily's painting from The Duel is sitting above the fireplace in Lily and Marshall's apartment.
  • Marshall calls out "Bridge!" when he wins the game in Lily's imagining of the Front Porch, referencing his uncanny ability to win at games first mentioned in Game Night, where he was also seen unnecessarily calling out the names of games he won ("Poker!").
  • Lily's interference causes the fight between Ted and Robin that led to their break-up, shown in Something Blue​.
  • Marshall appears to dislike the scenario of Ted and Robin getting married and her beating him at bridge. Marshall is a sore loser in Little Minnesota​.
  • The picture Robin is showing at the beginning of her show is the one taken in Intervention.
  • Lily describes Ted as a "commitment junkie". He declares his love to Robin the night they meet in the Pilot, and proposes to Stella in Miracles so quickly that his friends consider using the Intervention banner.
  • Barney's bedroom still has a King-sized bed with only one blanket as shown in World's Greatest Couple.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Double Date depicts another example of Lily's disinterest in Star Wars. Trilogy Time​ shows that she never attends the guys' movie marathons.
  • Lily sabotaging Ted's previous relationships is referenced again in The Rough Patch​, where Ted and Marshall suspect that Robin and Barney are miserable together, and enlist Lily's help in breaking them up.
  • Barney attempts to make a deal with Robin to get married if they're both single at 40 in The Rough Patch, before she reminds him of her pact with Ted. Ted and Robin also refer to their pact in The Best Man​, and it is dissolved in No Pressure, but Robin mentions it again in 2020 in a deleted scene in Last Forever - Part Two.
  • The combination of the nightshirt and hearing Marshall talk about "unconditional love" causes Barney to be uncharacteristically wistful about marriage. He soon begins secretly dating Robin, his first serious relationship since Shannon in 1998.
  • Ted again chooses his friend over his girlfriend in The Autumn of Break-Ups.
  • While the gang fails to watch Robin's show here, they eventually do in Last Cigarette Ever, convincing her to quit smoking for a time.
  • A very unflattering picture of Marshall with Lily from their wedding can be seen in their apartment. Marshall's inability to take a good photo is discussed in Say Cheese​.
  • Robin mentions a film strip of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il riding a horse through a field, which she also brings up in The Wedding Bride​.
  • In The Magician's Code - Part One​, Robin mentions that she delivered 12 babies, and one of them was human. Robin is seen delivering her pregnant guest's baby during the episode of Come On, Get Up New York! shown here.
  • Ted's failed relationship with Karen will be mentioned again in Sunrise when Robin said she was Ted's 3rd worst relationship.  


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:The Front Porch images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: I don't know what Ted sees in that horrible woman. I mean, yeah, she's got boobs, but well, I guess I get it.
Lily: I think it's 'cause they met in high school. She was his first real girlfriend.
Marshall: We look at Karen and see a jerk. Ted looks at Karen and sees the first person to touch his wiener besides himself, his mom, and his pediatrician.

Karen: Hey, are those real diamond earrings?
Robin: Yes. Yes, they are. Thank you.
Karen: I didn't say I liked them.
Robin: Oh, well, I got a great deal on them, so, cool.
Karen: I'm sure all the exploited diamond miners in Sierra Leone would give you a high-five if they still had all their fingers. But really pretty. (to Ted) Meet me upstairs.
Robin: They only need one finger to give her what I'm thinking.
Marshall: Yeah. Ted, Karen's a douche.
Ted: Thanks for sugarcoating it.
Marshall: "Douche" is sugarcoating it.
Ted: Uh, okay, believe it or not, my friends do not get a vote on who I date. It's my life. I call the shots.
Karen: Ted, now!
Ted: Yeah, coming!

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • The photo of the gang Robin displays on her show is the photo supposedly taken a year after Intervention. The timing is off as this is only five months after her decision to move to Japan.
  • When Robin is talking about the channel with Kim Jong-Il riding a horse, you see Barney take attention. However, when the next shot comes around, you can clearly see Barney giving the same reaction. This means that when the two takes were shot, Barney executed the expression later and, therefore, was shown giving the same reaction again a second later.
  • Lily is surprised to see that Barney sleeps in suitjamas, and Barney claims to have always slept in them saying "Of course, what do you think I sleep in?" but in World's Greatest Couple​ Barney and Lily share a bed, and Barney sleeps shirtless.
  • Marshall refers to Karen as "the first person to touch his (Ted's) wiener besides himself, his mom and his pediatrician". However, Ted's first sexual partner was Molly McKenzie, as seen in a flashback scene in First Time In New York.
    • It is possible that though Karen was not who Ted "scored a homerun" with, he may have reached the other bases with her. It's also possible that Molly didn't actually touch Ted's wiener when they had sex and asked to go straight to the act, since she didn't seem to care about him at all.

Allusions and Outside References


Other Notes

  • Craig Thomas invented the scene where Marshall is flying above New York during a pee on the Writer's Floor urinal.


  • Laura Prepon - Karen
  • Jessica Anderson - Hot Woman #3
  • Italia Ricci - Hot Woman #1
  • Nikki BreAnne Wells - Hot Woman #2


  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A grade. [1]
  • Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.9 out of 10. [2]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity gave the episode a A+ grade. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars. "Awesome TV action while none of the group cares at all."


External Links

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