Slap Bet

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"Slap Bet"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 9
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Kourtney Kang
Production code 2ALH09
Original air date November 20, 2006
Guest actors

Candace Kroslak (Girl #1)
Rachel Specter (Girl #2)
Timothy Prindle (Mr. Johnson)

Season 2 episodes

"Slap Bet" is the ninth episode in season 2 of the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The episode, originally titled "Robin Sparkles", first aired on November 20, 2006. Considered one of the best episodes of How I Met Your Mother, "Slap Bet" has been rated 62nd on the TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time list. It also gave rise to the "Robin Sparkles" gag, one of the sitcom's longest running gags.

Plot[edit]

Ted, Marshall, Lily, and Barney find out that Robin does not want to go to a mall and won't explain why. In trying to guess Robin's secret, Ted reveals that he was trapped under a fake boulder at a mall in Ohio when he was nine. Marshall posits that Robin was married in a mall in Canada, while Barney believes that Robin did pornography. They agree to a slap bet, where the winner of the bet slaps the loser as hard as he can, and appoint Lily as the slap bet commissioner.[1] Ted finds Marshall's theory more credible and tries to find out if Robin is married. After trying to avoid the issue, Robin tells Ted that she got married in a mall, after which her husband moved to Hong Kong without getting a divorce. Ted promises to keep it a secret, but then tells the gang after Lily begs him. Marshall slaps Barney, but Barney still scours Canadian pornography for Robin.

The next day, Marshall uses his law library access to search a legal records database. He tells Ted that there is no record of a marriage license for Robin in Canada. Ted "lawyers" Robin with a series of questions about her supposed wedding and gets her to admit that she's not really married. Robin tells Ted that her lie was a test of his trustworthiness and he failed, and so will never know the real secret. Marshall also tells Lily of his findings, and Lily, as the slap bet commissioner, informs Barney and allows him to slap Marshall three times (one slap because Marshall lied, and two for being prematurely slapped).

Later, Barney gathers them all in the apartment and reveals that a man in Malaysia has found a video with Robin in it, and it will be posted on MySpace. He refers to her as "Robin Sparkles", to which Robin reacts with humiliation and horror. Ted tries to stop the video but Barney will not be placated, and Robin allows him to play the video, wishing to be free of the secret. Barney only plays the opening part of the video, in which Robin (dressed as a schoolgirl) seductively pleads with a teacher not to give her detention. Barney, supposedly for the sake of Robin's dignity, pauses the video and slaps Marshall. When Robin asks why, Barney tells her about the bet and that he proved that Robin had done porn earlier in her life. Robin plays the video, saying it was not porn, though she would have preferred if it was. It turns out to be a stereotypically '80s bubblegum pop music video where a young Robin (referred to as Robin Sparkles) sings "Let's Go To the Mall", a minor hit in Canada that made her a teenage pop star who toured malls across the country.

Lily points out that Barney slapped Marshall without having won the bet, and gives Barney a choice for Marshall's retribution: either be slapped ten times immediately in succession, or five times deliverable at any point for eternity. Barney chooses the five slaps, and must now live in constant fear of being slapped. Robin tells Ted that she is glad Ted knows her secret now. They kiss and Marshall slaps Barney, proclaiming, "That's one". They all continue to enjoy the video, and Marshall menaces Barney.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Robin mentions that her friend's wedding cake was a Mrs. Fields cookie.
  • Robin said when she performed in malls all over Canada in the early to mid-1990s, she was forced to live off Orange Juliuses and Wetzel's Pretzels.
  • Robin's song includes a reference to Canada Day, the national day of Canada, Wayne Gretzky's hair, and a (fake) cameo by then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
  • Lily, upset that Robin won't go to the mall, tempts her with the promise of splitting a Cinnabon.

Barney's blog[edit]

  • Barney finds "sunken treasure" video proof.[2]

Production[edit]

The episode was originally titled "Robin Sparkles," but the title was changed to "Slap Bet" in order to avoid giving away the ending. In reruns, CBS used the originally intended "Robin Sparkles" title.[3] In syndication, this episode is titled "Slap Bet."

The menu that Robin makes up when Ted questions her about her wedding was the actual menu at the wedding of writer Kourtney Kang, which took place two weeks prior to the writing of this episode.

This is the first appearance of Robin's young bubblegum pop persona, Robin Sparkles. Sparkles appears onscreen again in the season 3 episode Sandcastles in the Sand (also the name of Sparkles' music video) and the season 6 episode Glitter. Robin's later grunge persona, Robin Daggers, appears in the season 8 episode P.S. I Love You (also the name of Daggers' music video).

Critical response[edit]

  • Staci Krause of IGN gave the episode 8.9 out of 10.[5]
  • Joyce Eng of TV Guide later called the episode "possibly the show's finest half-hour" and said, "nothing will ever be or beat 'Slap Bet'."[6]
  • Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend said Slap Bet is the best episode How I Met Your Mother has produced.[7]
  • In IGN's list of the 10 best How I Met Your Mother episodes, "Slap Bet" was selected as the best episode.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joel Keller (2006-12-28). "Here are the Official Slap Bet Rules". 
  2. ^ Barney Stinson. "Barney's Blog:". Archived from the original on 2007-01-05. 
  3. ^ Joel Keller (2007-05-11). "Carter Bays of How I Met Your Mother: The TV Squad Interview". Archived from the original on 2007-05-13. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  4. ^ Miss Alli (2006-11-20). "How I Met Your Mother: Slap Bet Season 2, Episode 9". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2010-05-20.  A+
  5. ^ Staci Krause (2007-04-24). "How I Met Your Mother: "Slap Bet" Review. Robin 'sparkles' in this episode.". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  6. ^ Joyce Eng (2010-11-16). "How I Met Your Mother: Did Robin Sparkles Continue to Shine?". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  7. ^ Eric Eisenberg (2012-03-19). "How I Met Your Mother: Did Robin Sparkles Continue to Shine?". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 

External links[edit]