After much waiting and anticipation, “How I Met Your Mother” came to us on Monday night with an episode entitled “Slapsgiving 3,” with the premise being a story all about the second-to-last slap in the long-famous “slap bet.”
But was it really worthy of all this anticipation? This almost felt a little more like an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” minus most of the cursing, since it was all about the buildup to one event, which then didn’t live up to most of the buildup. As soon as the slap happened, Barney acted like it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Another “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” comparison? That the segments regarding Marshall’s “training” for the final slap were all done by characters dressed as other people in the story. This works on the FX show mostly because you know that the characters love to play dress-up, and the show’s so low-budget that they turn the likes of Mac and Charlie as karate masters into a gag. Having Robin and Lily do something similar? Definitely the wrong decision, since it just didn’t add anything to the story, didn’t work with the tone, and frankly didn’t feel like something they would do (even if the entire thing is a fabricated story). It anything, why didn’t you get some big stars to guest star here who have actual ties to karate?
The biggest issue that we had with “Slapsgiving 3” was largely just that the entire episode really wasn’t that funny. It didn’t go anywhere from start to finish outside of seeing Barney get slapped in the face. The main reason that we enjoyed the slap bet was because it added so much random charm to the story, and facilitated other stories. The more that it is the singular focus of an episode, the worse off the show is when you’re not progressing forward in any other story. We were fine without a mention of The Mother, but why not touch on the tension between Marshall and Lily?
In the end, “Slapsgiving 3” is probably not a holiday that we want to revisit anytime soon, and we hope that the final slap comes out of nowhere. There was only a smidgen of comedy in here. The only real saving grace for us? The sweet montage of past slaps near the end that got us a little choked up, and that awesome cameo from Boyz II Men at the end, which was a nice moment that we’ll watch online again and again. Grade: C.
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