| First aired:|
March 9, 2009
Ted hooks up with his pretentious ex-girlfriend, Karen, whom Lily and Marshall despise. Marshall goes into work with no pants and Barney makes fun of him.
Robin, having started her new job hosting Come On, Get Up New York! at 4 AM, feels like she's been missing a lot of what her friends have been doing, and asks the gang catch her up on what they've been up to for the past week.
Barney starts to tell Robin about something embarrassing that happened to Marshall at work, but the tale gets interrupted by the news of Ted having lunch with his pretentious high school and college girlfriend, Karen, whom Marshall and Lily hate. After they catch Robin up on Ted and Karen's history, including her repeatedly cheating on Ted throughout their college years, Barney reveals what happened to Marshall - after working out at the gym at work, he realized he had forgotten his pants at home.
Ted continues his story of his lunch with Karen, and eventually admits that he started hooking up with her following it, earning Marshall and Lily's ire. When Robin asks if Ted plans to keep seeing her, Marshall predicts that he will until Karen inevitably cheats on him again, at which point Ted reveals that she was actually cheating on someone else with him. After concluding his story with how he told Karen off and broke up with her for good, Ted mentions that it resulted in Karen having an honest conversation with her boyfriend and ending their relationship properly. While everyone else congratulates him, Lily becomes suspicious and asks Ted how he knows this. Ted then informs them that he and Karen got back together after she broke up with her boyfriend, right before Karen herself enters the bar and joins them, to everyone's collective disdain.
Meanwhile, Marshall finishes the story about his pants. After realizing he didn't have them, he called Lily, who brought him a spare pair. Unfortunately, she ran into Barney first and gave them to him, asking him to give them to Marshall. While Barney did give Marshall his pants, he first shredded them with a pair of scissors, effectively forcing Marshall to spend the day in extremely short shorts.
- Lily refers to her break-up with Scooter, depicted in Best Prom Ever.
- Marshall says he wore his ripped pants all day because they show off his calves, which Lily likes. Lily's weakness for Marshall's calves was first mentioned in Brunch, where Marshall uses them to seduce her.
- Ted's middle name, Evelyn, was first mentioned in How Lily Stole Christmas.
- Ted argues that Lily only dislikes Karen because she "lingered" while Lily painted the nude picture of Marshall the gang finds in Columns.
- Karen has been mentioned in other flashbacks to Ted's college days, including in Arrivederci, Fiero and How I Met Everyone Else.
- Robin and Barney refer to their respective break-ups with Curt Irons and Wendy the Waitress, both of which were shown in The Platinum Rule.
- In the flashback to Ted and Karen sneaking around the apartment, Robin is seen eating ribs while on her sleeping pills. In The Bracket, Ted, to prove that Robin giggles when she lies, asks if she has ever fallen asleep while eating ribs, and she indeed starts laughing while answering "no".
- Blauman is seen working at GNB, meaning that Barney was lying when he claimed that Blauman became a janitor and died after quitting his job at AltruCell in The Chain of Screaming.
- Marshall's admiration for Evel Knievel comes up again in The Leap.
- During Lily's post-break-up lunch with Scooter, he declares that he will become the best waiter in the world for her, and later shows up as Ted and Karen's waiter. He appears to have stayed in the food service industry to be close to Lily, as, in Hooked, she reveals that he works in the cafeteria in her school.
- In The Perfect Cocktail, one of Marshall's prospective employers rejects him when his reference at GNB bad-mouths him in several ways, including claiming that he once came to work without pants, likely exaggerating how Barney cut them up.
|Karen:||I love how you guys live in a dorm. It's so American. It's like, "Let's all eat bologna sandwiches and be racist."|
|Barney:||A hug is like a public dry hump.|
|Marshall:||I think you're hugging wrong.|
|Ted:||You are unbelievable! You don't have the guts to break up like a decent human being so instead you pull this crap!|
|Karen:||Okay, you're right. I'm great with books. I'm great with art. I'm great at identifying French wine to within a mile of where the grapes were grown. But I'm really bad at looking someone in the eye and telling him the truth about how I really feel.|
|Ted:||Well, we're both bad at that. But I think we both need to change. So why don't I go first: Karen, you're a really hurtful and reckless person and I never want to see you or speak to you again. Au revoir.|
|Karen:||Ted, wait. Actually, 'au revoir' means 'until we see each other again.' So, I'm assuming that you mean we will in fact see each other again?|
- —Ted finally tells off Karen
|Lily:||You know, maybe it was good you called Karen.|
|Ted:||It definitely was.
And not just for me, but for her, too. Later that night, she sat down with Jerry, and she had the break-up talk she always avoided with me.
|Future Ted:||So you see, kids, sometimes when you have to have a tough conversation, the best thing to do-|
|Lily:||Wait a second. Wait a second. You said you were never gonna talk to Karen again, right? Then how do you know she took your advice?|
|Ted:||Right. About that. After she broke up with that dude, she called me, we went out, we hooked up, we've been dating ever since. We're really seeing eye to eye. It just feels different somehow. Here she comes now. Be cool!|
|Marshall:||Why would anyone want to have lunch with their ex? Glad you asked, there are four possible motives behind an "ex lunch".|
|Lily:||Like my high school boyfriend Scooter. flashback Lilies, clever. I'm sorry I don't have a scooter for you.|
|Scooter:||My God, that's funny! I forgot how funny you are.|
|Lily:||Where is that waiter?|
|Scooter:||Why? You like waiters? I can be a waiter. I'm going to be the greatest waiter on this earth, and then you'll love me.|
|Barney:||Like when I had lunch with Wendy. flashback|
|Wendy the waitress:||I'm glad we could finally do this. You know, after the ninth time you rescheduled on me, I almost gave up on you.|
|Barney:||But you didn't. You just kept on trying.|
|Wendy the Waitress:||By the way, there's something I've been meaning to give you.|
|Barney:||Gun! She's got a gun!|
|Wendy the Waitress:||(concerned) It's a tie.|
Notes and Trivia
Goofs and Errors
- Lily claims she was painting Marshall nude because he ate her bowl of fruit. In Columns, it was explained that she was painting Marshall because he was uncomfortable with her working with another nude male.
- However, these two things are not mutually exclusive. Marshall may have eaten Lily's bowl of fruit so she decided to do a nude painting and Marshall being uncomfortable with her painting any other male nude meant that he decided to model for it himself.
- Lily depicts Marshall looking to his left towards her in the flashback scene where Karen lingers. But as can be clearly seen in Columns, Marshall is seen looking to his right in the painting, which means he was looking in the wrong direction in this episode's scene.
- Ted claims that Lily hates Karen because she lingered while she (Lily) was painting Marshall naked. In the flashback we see Ted entering in the room while Lily is painting meaning that he was aware of the nude painting. However in Columns Ted seems to see the naked painting for the first time.
- It's possible that when Ted was told, the painting was left out of the story.
Allusions and Outside References
- Marshall claims that Karen is the "heiress to the Massengill fortune" referring to a brand of douches.
- In urging Marshall to tell the pants story, Barney chants, "Pants story! Bomaye!" referring to a chant associated with a famous boxing match, "The Rumble in the Jungle", between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The chant, "Ali, bomaye!" was shouted by the crowd in Zaire. It translates to "kill him" in the local language.
- After Lily describes Ted's college girlfriend, Karen, walking in on her painting Marshall nude and "lingering," she says Karen "[sic]gots to get got." Robin responds, "The game is the game." Variations of both lines are said by many characters on The Wire, including Omar Little who is the template for badass Lily in Twelve Horny Women.
- Marshall refers to Ted sleeping with Karen, as Charlie Brown when he is going to kick a football, but then Lucy pulls it away and sleeps with another guy.
- When Karen tells Marshall she was being ironic about getting tickets to WrestleMania, Marshall is dressed as professional wrestler The Ultimate Warrior and Lily is dressed as "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
- During the telling of the Pants Story, Bilson asks Marshall when he joined AC/DC. This is a reference to lead guitarist of AC/DC, Angus Young, who wears a similar outfit on stage.
- The episode was originally titled "Marshall Forgets His Pants".
- The belt worn by Marshall is the same one as the belt in Third Wheel.
- On Barney's list for ex-lunch, numbers two and three feature Wendy and Curt, respectively, both of whom were featured in his breakdown of the Platinum Rule in the titular episode from Season 3. Barney hooked up with Wendy and following the break up lead to paranoia that Wendy would attempt to murder him (which he apparently still believes given his reaction to her retrieving his tie from her purse); Robin briefly dated Curt which fell apart when he was too clingy and she wasn't into the relationship enough for him.
- Alyson Hannigan also previously guest starred in a show that Laura Prepon (who played Karen) was a leading cast member on (That 70's Show). However in That 70's Show, Prepon's character (Donna) and Hannigan's character (Suzie) had very limited interaction although like Karen in HIMYM, Suzie's presence was a source of tension between some of the main characters.
List of the Worst Things in the World (according to Marshall and Lily, with the latter agreeing on the order of the list)
- Asteroid hits the Earth
- All footage of Evel Knievel is lost
- Ted calls Karen
- Lily gets eaten by a shark
List of Motives Behind an Ex Lunch (according to Barney)
- The Ex wants to get back together (reinforced by Lily's lunch with her high school boyfriend, Scooter)
- The Ex wants to kill you (thought to be reinforced by Barney's lunch with Wendy the Waitress, although she actually wanted to give him back a tie)
- The Ex wants to return the person's items that they might have accidentally gotten when they were dating (reinforced by Robin's lunch with Curt, who wanted to give her back one of her guns, much to her, and Curt's, relief)
- The Ex wants to show off how much they're doing better (reinforced by a younger Marshall's lunch with Nicole Barsamian)
- Laura Prepon - Karen
- David Burtka - Scooter
- Taran Killam - Blauman
- Bryan Callen - Bilson
- Charlene Amoia - Wendy the Waitress
- Hayes MacArthur - Curt "The Ironman" Irons
- Koby Rouviere - 8 years old Marshall
- Laura Ann Kesling - 8 years old Nicole Barsamian
- Patrick Moote - Darren
- Houston Rhines - Jeremy (Karen's boyfriend)
- Rowly Dennis - Trevor
- "Despite its foolish mistakes, this is a solid episode of comedy. Quantity, not quality, but you still get enough to keep you happily occupied." The TV Critic's Review 
- Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade B+. 
- Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.3 out of 10. 
- Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity gave the episode an A grade. 
- The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7 out of 10 stars. "Sorry, bro, but the pants story was not that funny, but Barney falling out of the booth was."
|The Stinsons||Sorry, Bro |
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