We cut to a photo of the day Robin became a U.S. citizen and then flash back to the moment the group shot was taken. As Lily sets up her camera, Robin and Barney (who were still together then) get all snuggly-wuggly on the couch. When Lily asks Marshall to sit between them, Robin wants to know why. Lily bluffs. "Uh you know, light, color, balance, aperture." Robin says, "You're just saying camera words.... Wait, you don't want Barney and me to look like a couple in this picture, do you?" Lily drops the pretense. "Of course I don't. You two aren't going to last! I'm going for timeless here." Barney: "How dare you?" Robin: "That's so rude." Barney: "It's true..." Robin: "It's totally true; we're running on fumes here, but still rude." Lily sits down on the arm of the couch and the timer goes off. Snap. Picture! Marshall, I see, went to the Cindy School of Modeling. You can tell by his telltale shut eyes. Sigh.
Saget!Ted notes they all hated Lily's group shots as we flash forward to the present. Lily allows that she gets a little bossy, but she just wants to remember special times. "Like tonight -- I can't imagine a better birthday than being here with just my four best friends. YAY!" I'm am so not one of those birthday people about my own birthday, but her enthusiasm is endearing and infectious.
Then...Ted arrives. But the cheesecake he brings with him is not the promised cognac-pumpkin. It's Amanda (Brooke Nevin), Ted's latest stepping stone on his way to the mother.
Marshall fakes up his best welcome for Amanda, even as he chides Ted for not bringing the cheesecake and for bringing a stranger into his home. And he does this right in front of Amanda! The vibe goes right over Ted's head, but I think Amanda is just too polite to let them see that she's feeling it. Ted explains that Amanda is a chef. They met when Ted sent back some soup. "Luckily, she's got such pretty hair I didn't mind eating a little of it." Gag. Amanda blushes. "They call me The Shedder at work." Ew. Lily manages to choke out that she's go glad Amanda will be making her cake.