It's finally here, the most glorious day of the year! Since the summer, How I Met Your Mother
fans have been salivating over a website called SlapCountdown.com, eagerly counting away the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the third of five slaps Marshall (Jason Segel
) will give Barney (Neil Patrick Harris
). The Slap Bet is perhaps the single greatest running joke in sitcom history, and the most amazing part of tonight's episode is that the slap played second fiddle to the real story: Ted and Robin's relationship.
For the gang's first Thanksgiving together, Robin (Cobie Smulders
) invited her new boyfriend, 41-year-old Bob, though he seems much older to Ted (Josh Radnor
) and is played by 79-year-old character actor Orson Bean. While making pies the night before the holiday, Ted and Robin are stuck alone, and after some awkward banter, they have sex.
It's a weird moment that beautifully underscores the fact that underneath the insanity, this show is about relationships. Ted and Robin may have broken up at the end of last season, but they're clearly not over it, and tonight's episode showed that awkward stage when friends who became lovers try to return to being friends. At first, we learn that a running joke they have (saluting and repeating every time someone uses a military rank in casual conversation) is dead because they're still stuck in the post-breakup zone. By sleeping together, then addressing the issue head-on, the two finally get over the hump and by episode's end, their relationship looks to be back on track.
But enough of the sweet relationship stuff, because slap number three finally happened! The Slap Countdown was set for 3pm on Thanksgiving, and at first, Barney seemed fine. The worst part of being slapped is not knowing when it will come, but by fixing a time, Marshall took that fear away. But as the clock ticked down on Thanksgiving (or Slapsgiving, as Marshall has called it now), Barney revealed the true terror was him being tortured by every tick on the clock, so to save her first Thanksgiving, Slap Bet Commissioner Lily (Alyson Hannigan
) decreed no slap would occur.
This obviously depressed Marshall and turned Barney into overly confident mode. Once they all sat down for Thanksgiving, the countdown reached the final 10 seconds, and Barney counted down along with it in celebration of not being slapped. However, with three seconds left, Lily lifted the ban, and before Barney could even register what just happened...THWACK! "That's three." If that's not enough, Marshall followed it up with a beautiful and hilarious song dedicated to the slap while Barney provided back-up scatting that doubled as painful mutterings.
Happy Slapsgiving, everyone! Remember, this Thursday at 3pm, while you're sitting down with your family and loved ones - slap the hell out of one of them! Unless you're from Canada, in which case your "real" Thanksgiving was a month ago.
On a side note: I do have one serious complaint against this episode, and that goes to the How I Met Your Mother
editors. The show provided a quick backstory of the origins of the Slap Bet, and showed clips of the first two slaps. However, the first one they showed was not, in fact, the first of the five slaps. Instead, it was Marshall's premature slap when he first thought Robin was actually married. Maybe it's just because I'm anal retentive about Slap Bet continuity, but for us die hard fans, that was a true slap in the face.
TOP 5 FUNNIEST QUOTES OF THE EPISODE:
"Kernel Stuck in My Teeth." - Ted and Robin, in unison
"I'm like, 'Chillax, snowboarding is a legit career.'" - Bob
"Sleep eating is a very serious, and delicious, medical condition." - Marshall
"Everybody saw it, and everybody laughed and clapped / It was awesome, you just got slapped!" - Marshall's song
"That's three!" - Marshall
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)