In March of 1998, in their sophomore year, Marshall surprised Lily by picking her up at the airport, chauffeur hat on head and "Lilypad" sign in hand, and Lily surprised Marshall with a six-pack of a locally brewed beer she picked up on her trip: "Fort Lager Ale. Get it?" It became a ritual between them. We see a shot of Lily from 2002, wearing the hat and bearing a "Marshmallow" sign, as Marshall deplanes, wearing a "Twins" shirt and saying, "Minne-Cidar. Get it?" In February of 2008, Marshall's picking up Lily again, and she's got the beer. "Aspen Yards Ale. Get it?" Marshall admits he doesn't but Lily doesn't either, so all's well here, except I suddenly have a toothache from the sweet.
At MacLaren's, in January 2009, Marshall announces to Ted that he's not picking Lily up from her trip this time. Lily doesn't see the sense in him taking a cab all the way out to the airport, only to take one back home. Marshall holds his glass of white wine (!) as if he were holding a brandy snifter as he explains, "As the relationship matures, we mature with it." So I guess it wasn't just "Arrivederci, Fiero", but also arrivederci traditions (and goodbye fun). Sensible, but sad. Ted argues for maintaining the tradition because Lily and Marshall are such an inspiration, and when he sees what they have he knows that's all he wants in the whole world. So of course Barney runs in and tells Ted there's two easy-looking college girls outside, and Ted leaves Marshall and their booth like a bat out of Hell.
Outside, he stammers to the girls about how they're from Arizona and how he's always wanted to see an Arizona license. Barney whispers, "I already ran that play, bro. They're 21. We're good." Not so fast, Barney boy. That cute little blonde you're sparking is Dean Winchester's mom. Now, I'm not saying Dean wouldn't admire your style, but if you were trying it out on his mother, when she was just a wee college girl in the big city, "overkill" wouldn't begin to describe what he'd do to you. I'm just saying. Anyhow, the girls are in town with their band. When Ted suggests he and Barney go hear them play, Barney pulls him back in the bar and gives him a lecture about how they're the older, cooler guys. "If we see them play, we're no better than the bleach-blonde bimbos who flash their boobs at a Van Halen concert." Ted notes to Barney that those girls get to have sex with Van Halen after the show. Barney says, "If you want to have sex with Van Halen, do it on your own time, Ted. We are not the maybe-we-can-come-see-you-play guys. We're the other guys, the older guys who never showed up and whose approval they now crave." Okay, whatever, Barney, but let's back up a tick. Does anyone still want to have sex with Van Halen? I mean, you can't even find pictures of the band on their website, save a far-away shot of Eddie, and he's standing with two classic cars, which helps anyone look better. Ted realizes Barney's working the Father-Issue angle, and surprisingly, he's all right with that. It seems they're actual wingmen tonight, rather than paying the idea a lot of lip service.