The Front Porch

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"The Front Porch"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 17
Directed byRob Greenberg
Written byChris Harris
Original air dateMarch 16, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Sorry, Bro"
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"Old King Clancy"
How I Met Your Mother (season 4)
List of How I Met Your Mother episodes

"The Front Porch" is the 17th episode in the fourth season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 81st overall. It originally aired on March 16, 2009.


After Robin gets upset about the gang not watching her show, they all agree to watch Robin's 4:00am talk show. Ted informs them that Karen broke up with him after finding Robin's earring in his bed. Ted discovers the matching earring on Marshall's dresser and mutes the television to confront Marshall, believing him to have sabotaged his relationship.

Lily confesses that she was the saboteur, as she had been in prior relationships, including — inadvertently — with Robin. She justifies her actions using the "Front Porch Test" — an indication of how they would all live together once they were old. Scenes are shown of Marshall, Lily and Ted in the far future playing bridge, their interactions with Ted's potential partner driving Lily's present actions.

Robin returns home to learn that her friends missed her event-filled broadcast due to the argument. Lily insists she did not want to break them up, but merely to consider their future together, a suggestion that seeded the conversation that would lead to their breakup. Ted heads into the bar the next day 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 Ted's apartment for him and Karen. Ted breaks up with Karen, though, after she says Ted cannot ever see someone as manipulative as Lily again and he imagines what the future would be like without her and Marshall. 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". She accepts.

Marshall wears a nightshirt to the pajama party to watch Robin's show, 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 convinces Barney to try a nightshirt instead. 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 shows up at his apartment at night—but, upon seeing his nightshirt, she decides to leave, much to Barney's chagrin.

Critical response[edit]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade A.[1]

Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.9 out of 10.[2]

Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade A+.[3]

Cultural References[edit]

Marshall imagines flying over the New York in his night gown exactly the same way The Dude (Jeff Bridges) flies over Los Angeles in an unconscious fantasy in The Big Lebowski. It even features the same song, The Man In Me by Bob Dylan.

Lily's militaristic speech about secretly breaking Ted up with past bad girlfriends for his own good while Ted demands to know if Lily was responsible for him and Robin breaking up is reminiscent of Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise's explosive exchange in the climax of A Few Good Men


  1. ^ Donna Bowman (2009-03-16). "How I Met Your Mother "The Front Porch"". Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  2. ^ Michelle Zoromski (2009-03-17). "How I Met Your Mother: The Front Porch Review. Lily plays god". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  3. ^ Cindy McLennan (2009-03-16). "How I Met Your Mother: When They're Sixty-Four". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. p. 17. Retrieved 2010-04-12.

External links[edit]