I can't help but to start out by saying that How I Met Your Mother, this season, been weaker than it once was -- the quotes less quote-worthy, the storylines thin, and despite having been teased about it all season, we still haven't met the mother. All that aside, "Say Cheese" was actually a pretty funny self-contained episode about the high expectations placed on having a good time on your birthday, and about the absurd importance of getting all your friends together for that one ideal group photo.
The episode stretched over the course of a single day, Lily's birthday. The bulk of the action took place during Lily's birthday party, with frequent flashbacks as the group bickered about the dynamics of past special occasions. Lily pointed out that Ted's that guy who always brings a hot date along to intimate friend-only celebrations (his current date, Amanda, baked a cake that read "Happy 42nd Birthday Lori,") a joke that Robin riffed off later with an offhanded comment about Lily: "For her years, Lori is very wise.") This show is great at capturing the unique problems of a group of close friends, and they did so here with their point that when a stranger infiltrates a close group dynamic, it throws everything off -- especially when, years later, nobody remembers that fifth wheel in all the photos.
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