The Front Porch
How I Met Your Mother: Season 4, Episode 17
When Ted's relationship with Karen takes a nose-dive, Ted learns that Lily has manipulated his relationships with women ever since college. Meanwhile, Barney learns the freedom that comes with nightgowns, and Robin wishes her friends would start supporting her by watching her morning show.
It's 3:30am when the gang gathers in Lily & Marshall's Dowisetrepla apartment to have a pj-party and watch Robin's show for the first time. Barney, insistent on looking good even while in pjs, appears awkward in his pajama suit, while Marshall wears a nightgown and can easily give 5 great reasons why nightgowns are awesome: 1) No need to wear anything underneath (vouched for by Ted). 2) Sexy (vouched for by Lily). 3) Grandpa Olaf wore one and he lived to be 107. 4) No elastic waistband to leave its judgemental pink teeth marks around his Thanksgiving belly. 5) It's the "freest, most wonderful feeling in the world," like he's flying.
Ted, on the other hand, arrives with a "sad announcement" that everyone is happy about: Karen broke up with him after finding an earring in his bed. He quickly learns that Lily not only planted the earring, but that she's also broken up six of his past relationships, most significantly his relationship with Robin.
Ted is livid, even after Lily explains her "front porch test" with some great flash-forwards. When Lily imagines getting old, sitting around on the front porch of their beach house, and playing "bridge," she wants whoever joins "Team Awesome" to fit in and be just as awesome as they are. Karen, with her self-righteous pretentiousness, wouldn't be any fun. And why did she break-up him and Robin? Lily never intended for that to happen; she just wanted them to talk about what they wanted out of life.
While their A Few Good Men-esque argument escalates, Robin's show, muted, played in the background, with Robin putting out a kitchen fire, reviving a coworker who was having a heart-attack, and delivering a guest's baby. Despite all this absurdity, it definitely lightened the mood of Ted & Lily's dramatic fight.
By the time Robin arrives at Lily and Marshall's, the argument is still going strong, and Barney is in a nightgown, enjoying standing over the heating vent. Robin and Lily make nice, but Ted storms off, accusing Lily of playing God, and says that Lily and Marshall can have the front porch to themselves.
Meanwhile, still wearing their nightshirts, Barney and Marshall are in bed. As Barney drifts into sleep, he asks Marshall what marriage is like. My favorite question was: "and sometimes when you're worried you've made all the wrong decisions in life, and you're not nearly the man you want to be, what does she do then?" I almost thought he was going to confess his love for Robin again, but, alas, he then asked if "she'd help you find other girls to have sex with?" He soon fell asleep, as did Marshall, who again dreamt of flying.
The next day Ted finds Karen at MacLaren's, and he learns Lily went to Karen and apologized for meddling. But, when Karen says that Lily achieved a new low and that they'll never hang out with her again, Ted was smart. He realized how important it is that his girlfriend likes his friends, and his relationship with Karen is really, truly, and thankfully over. He's finally learning!
Back at Ted's place, Lily had prepared a meal to say she's sorry, and since there's no Karen anymore, Ted shares it with Robin. They finally talk about their differences, about marriage and having kids, just as Lily wanted them to. They hint at something still between them, but, instead, decide to become each other's "back-ups" if they didn't get married by the time they were 40. After all the build-up with Barney and Robin, I would have been disappointed by anything else.
Overall, this episode was a great way to address Ted's issues with relationships, which I discussed last week. Even though Ted still has room to grow, he made progress in this episode, and part of that is thanks to Lily. So, while she may have stepped over the line, multiple times, Ted needed to hear what she said, especially, "You are a commitment-junkie. You fall in love with these women even if they don't deserve you."
I don't fault Lily for stepping over the line. She cares about Ted, and therefore she wants to see him happy, not in a relationship in which he's sacrificing himself. Alyson Hannigan's acting was superb in this one, showing a side of Lily that was good to see (even though Alyson had to hide her pregnant belly in every scene).
Do you think Ted learned anything from Lily - other than that his girlfriend's opinion about his friends matters? Did Lily step too far over the line? Do you want to see another storyline for Marshall, other than something related to an item of clothing? What would you think if Robin and Ted rekindled their relationship?
Photo source: http://www.tv.com/how-i-met-your-mother