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August 27, 2015

CBS reruns HIMYM's Slap Bet episode tonight

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 23rd 2007 1:03PM
Slap BetI usually don't highlight repeats, but this is a special case:

Tonight, CBS will rerun what I thought was the funniest half-hour of TV in 2006: the "Slap Bet" episode of How I Met Your Mother. I'm not the only one who thought the episode was a high point of the 2006-07 television season, though: The Boston Globe thought it was the 2nd best episode of any show that aired in 2006. And Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star-Ledger felt at the time that HIMYM made what he called "The Leap" after that episode, meaning that the ep had propelled the show to a higher quality level (though, like me, he later realized that it was more of a "high-water mark." And, also like me, he fell into the trap of comparing subsequent episodes to it).

What made the episode so great?

The main reason is that it had equally strong A and B plots. Either the "slap bet" and "Robin Sparkles" plots could have carried an episode on its own. But putting them together and integrating them like they did made for an episode where there were no dead spots. Of course, the finishing touch of the song and video for "Let's Go to the Mall," with the requisite jokes about how the '80s didn't come to Canada until the mid-'90s, was like the cherry on top of the sundae.

Also -- and god bless Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for this -- good old-fashioned physical comedy is still hilariously funny if done correctly. Jason Segel's exaggerated wind up before he slapped Neil Patrick Harris, paired with Harris' pratfall of a reaction, made what would have been chuckle-worthy on other shows into a laugh-out-loud moment on Mother. And NPH's comeback, with his short, staccato slaps, were equally inspired, as was Segel's sobbing reaction. I'm not sure if they had to do extensive choreography to get these results or it was all on the actors' shoulders, but however they got there, the outcome was worth the effort.

Even some of the small references in the episode made me smile: the reference to Willowbrook, my childhood mall, Marshall's fear of Sasquatch, Robin's fake story about her Canadian marriage. And, of course, the prospect that Barney is due five (now three) slaps that can come any time during the run of the series makes for a very satisfying inside joke for the die-hard fans.

Anyway, enough of my gushing. Turn on CBS tonight at 8 and see for yourself. If I were you I'd mark this one "Save Until I Delete" on the TiVo. It's that good.

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After watching this episode (again) last night, I think I laughed more than I did the first time. (Come on...Robin sparkles actually singing "aboot" in the song because she's from Canada is hilarious).

It's classic easy humor that is easy to follow. Now every show has to be, "edgy" instead of just funny. Personally I think "It's always sunny in Philidelphia" is the one of the worst shows I've ever seen. I like Scrubs ok, but I don't care enough about it to follow it.

April 24 2007 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

Stevie, the first slap of the 5 was taken at the end of this episode. 2nd one was during Barney's one man show.

April 24 2007 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is terrible -- how could several qualified individuals think that this was one of the best episode of a television series in 2006?

The way everyone loses their shit for this show, I'm expecting the second coming of the comedy Christ. All I'm getting is cheap wafers instead.

Cobie Smulders is obviously a 60-minute drama cast member trapped in 3-camera hell. Alyson Hannigan? Mindy Kaling does a better job on The Office. Too bad Willow has three times as much screen time as Kaling.

If a stupid, juvenile contest and an unexciting secret past are truly the best that How I Met Your Mother has to offer, the traditional sitcom is truly dead.

April 23 2007 at 10:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe every other episode this show just sucks horribly, but after watching it, though entertaining at times, I think calling it "the funniest half-hour of TV in 2006" is a huge overstatement that could only be made if you discounted every episode of Scrubs, The Office, South Park, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in 2006

April 23 2007 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i thought there were 4 slaps left, b/c he didn't redeem any in that particular ep. which am i not remembering? i def remember the one after barney's one-man-show.

April 23 2007 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TiVo (Which means Tribune) has it as "Robin Sparkles".

April 23 2007 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashley Boyd

Fantastic episode, but was looking forward to something new tonight.

April 23 2007 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, the episode has not been re-named. Wherever you're getting your "Robin Sparkles" episode title from, it's a bad source. I had the master in my hand on Friday.

April 23 2007 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just love this eppy! It's the best yet! The writers of HIMYM are just brilliant!

April 23 2007 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

FUN FACT: This episode has Rachel Specter in it, from the RGX ads.

Not like that's anything to obsess over...

April 23 2007 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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