How I Met Your Mother "Slapsgiving 3" Review: Slap Happy

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jan 14, 2014

How I Met Your Mother S09E14: "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra"

Well, that's the last time I trust CBS press materials! They're all, "It's the final slap" and I'm all, "Are you sure, CBS?" and then of course they were wrong and I look like a doofus. But oh well, because you know who didn't look like a doofus tonight? The cast of How I Met Your Mother. "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra" was not only funny, but silly to the max, plus it employed enough patented HIMYM edits and gags that it really felt like an episode that could've taken place a few seasons ago during the golden age of How I Met Your Mother. Knowing that it aired as part of the final season gives me hope for the remainder of the series.

The slaps—which began way back in Season 2's "Slap Bet"—are the best long-running gag of the entire series, and they've never disappointed, which means the bar for this episode was set much higher than it's been, historically, for most of the rest of Season 9. Even fans who've given up on How I Met Your Mother could've tuned in (and if they were smart, they would have) and appreciated this episode. Not only did "Slapsgiving 3" live up to expectations, it actually exceeded them with one of my favorite closing tags the series has ever done. But before I get to that, let's talk about the build-up to this slap, because the series did a great job of growing the suspense in a very HIMYM way. 

Taking on the form of an homage to martial arts movies, Marshall sought guidance in learning the art of slapping (he's good on the kicking parts of kung fu already). We've already seen Marshall take great pleasure in terrorizing Barney in the lead up to the slaps, so it wouldn't have been surprising if he really wasn't intimidated by Marshall's tactics as he had claimed. But this is How I Met Your Mother, and that's just not how things work. So Marshall told Barney this elaborate tale about how he traveled to Shanghai and studied the art of slappage so he could slap his stupid face. And he even bought a gag jukebox to really sell it, because that's just how he rolls. Marshall has never done anything half-assed on this series (remember, this is the same man who made up his own board game), and his preparation in learning the Slap of a Million Exploding Suns was no different. 

Knowing that Marshall was lying about about Red Bird (Robin), White Flower (Lily), and the Calligrapher (Ted, obviously, who was not in China but Cleveland), of course, didn't stop Marshall from getting in Barney's head. It was so completely ridiculous, but so entirely HIMYM that there's no need to even question it. Having the gang back up his ridiculous story (and half-heartedly most of the time, too) was one thing, but the fake juke box, and finding four women to sit under a willow tree with (half of) a tiger was something else completely. So bravo, Marshall, you really outdid yourself this time. 

I'll admit that there was a fear that this episode would be a letdown. The series has failed to successfully pay-off on several of its long-running gags in the past (remember the goat?), and I was admittedly worried the same thing would happen here. I was worried the episode would take place entirely at the wedding, but thankfully I was wrong about that too. And I suppose I should have known better; the slap-focused episodes have always been high points. But having the episode take place in flashbacks, with only the slap itself taking place in present day, was a nice touch.

If I have one complaint about "Slapsgiving 3," however, it's that I don't know how the final slap could top this ridiculous, over-the-top, so completely How I Met Your Mother episode. I mean, Boyz II Men appeared at the end of the episode to sing "You Just Got Slapped," and it was beautiful. Boyz II Men! If you don't like Boyz II Men, or if you didn't think that ending was great, then you just get out right now because that's obviously ridiculous. It was a great ending to a great episode, and my expectations for the final slap are now even higher.


– LOL @  Cleveland being the city equivalent of being slapped in the face. (It's funny because it's true, at least in reference to its sports teams.)

– Robin does not love Barney enough to take the slaps for him, but I'd totally take a slap to the face for Neil Patrick Harris—just want to put that out there in case, you know, he ever needs a stand-in.

– I loved how the Calligrapher's lesson on accuracy was just to try to aim really well. 

– How awesome was it to see all those familiar faces when Marshall had to get slapped in the face by all the women who hated Barney in order to gain strength to slap him? What a fun and easy way to bring back a lot of former guest-stars. 


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  • seau Jan 21, 2014

    and of what i read on other sites, this season has the lowest viewers.

  • seau Jan 21, 2014

    The show this season is gettin very boring and this episode was very uninteresting and not funny. I will quote sheldons fraze ''Heroes gradually lowered the quality season by season until we were grateful it ended.” i think he should put how i met your mother too.

  • jewel47 Jan 21, 2014

    I guess I am in the minority here in the fact that I actually like the episode! It was funny and had quite a few jokes that made me laugh. I actually thought this episode was one of the best ones this season and was more vintage HIMYM than we have seen in a looong time. Boyz to Men singing, You Just got Slapped was the icing on the cake. I thought the rhyming episode was a wasted episode and a snooze fest, but this one, FUNNY!

  • CrazyAsian1080 Jan 19, 2014

    This episode sums up everything wrong with HIMYM.

    1. THE SHOW IS NO LONGER... and has not been for a while... HOW TED MEETS THE MOTHER...

    Why else would you put in a random running gag filler episode in the last season when they know they have no time. I mean the last 4 seasons has been focus on Barney and Robin's wedding with almost zero story progression about how Ted meets the mother.

    I honestly feel like they will end with Ted and the Mother just bumping into each other and "continue" the story in HIMYF because they pretty much just got another season.

  • noelveiga Jan 19, 2014

    Yeaaah, I didn't mention the yellowface thing at first because, hey, I'm not Asian, I figured other would take that torch. And my, did they take it.

    And, honestly, not mentioning it doesn't mean I didn't find it weird. It weirded me out during the episode. It even weirded me out to not see it mentioned in this review. It weirded me out a little to not see it in this week's WTF list.

    You know the thing about potentially offensive comedy? Believe it or not, it really does matter if it's funny. If you can laugh about it, it's not as bad. The fact that most of these jokes were not funny goes to show that a bunch of the jokes relied on the notion of seeing the white cast in yellowface, kung-fu movie stereotypes. I really kept waiting they would reveal the joke, or at least play it straight in a Tarantino-esque way, so that it becomes clear that it's tongue-in-cheek by how serious it plays. But nope. Canned laughter at every reveal of the cast in costume, very few actual jokes beyond mimicking the stereotypes.

    So yeah, forget whether it's racist, it's boring. Can we all agree on that?

  • ElainePinto Jan 18, 2014

    I read the first part of this review and all I could think of is: "Did we really watch the same episode?". That was just god-awful, really, really bad stuff. I slept through the last part, so bored I was.

  • animeslave20 Jan 18, 2014

    Isn't there 4 member's of BoyzIIMen??

  • RPalmiero Jan 17, 2014

    This episode was just weird. I actually thought Ted was the funniest as the calligrapher. I think it was a mistake making the entire season the weekend of the wedding. So many pointless filler episodes.

  • MightyMad Jan 16, 2014

    Very interesting article on Daily Banter about this whole controversy, appropriately titled Monday’s Episode of How I Met Your Mother Was Racist, Many White People Confused as to Why.

    Click here if you want to read it.

  • Bloodangel Jan 16, 2014

    I found this episode okay but as mentioned by numerous other people, this episode wasn't trying to stereotype Asians or offend them, and Stacy Keilber coming back for a brief cameo is always nice

  • SRJohansen Jan 17, 2014

    Just because it wasn't "trying to offend" doesn't mean that it didn't offend.

  • Veronikamdov Jan 19, 2014

    Can someone explain how can this episode offend Asians? Because it makes fun of their movies? Like..whaaat? So next will womenizers complain that Barney is stereotype or what...

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