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Urban HIMYMs: “Slapsgiving” — General Knowledge Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Posted by Yostal in Gen X&Y, How I Met Your Mother, Television, Things too long to read, TV, TV shows, Urban HIMYMs, Yostal.
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to my season’s worth of recaps for How I Met Your Mother. Welcome, once more, to Urban HIMYMs.

I’m not totally sure ladies and gentlemen, but this might be my last one for a while. Writers, here’s to getting your fair share sooner rather than later.

And away we go…

So it seems that when Robin and Ted were dating, they had a thing where, if someone used an adjective which also named a military rank, they would then repeat the words and salute. We see General Knowledge, Corporal Punishment (who shouldn’t get saluted) and Colonel Stuck in My Teeth. Thankfully Lieutenant is not a commonly used adjective, or it would have caused problems, what with leftenants and all. Needless to say, the gang hated it. But now that the pair are broken up, they let it slide and it’s indicative of the fact that while on the surface, they’re good at playing friends since they broke up, the reality is, it’s not working out so well. They haven’t spent any time alone together, for starters.

Lily brings in the turkey and we learn how this will be exciting because it’s Lily and Marshall’s first Slapsgiving together as a couple. Barney is taken aback, for he thought he misheard. But nevertheless, it will be the five of them together for the first time. Well, OK, six, because Robin invited Bob, the new guy she’s dating. Lily is upset because they don’t know this guy and Robin apologizes (complete with Canadian “sorry”) because she occasionally forgets how seriously they take American Thanksgiving, since “real Thanksgiving happened over a month ago.” While the rest of the gang is confused, Barney takes somewhat xenophobic offense, complete with Canadian pronunciations, about calling Canadian Thanksgiving the “real Thanksgiving” and asks what it celebrates, which, Robin informs us that it “celebrates explorer Martin Frobisher’s valiant, yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt to find the Northwest Passage”? Holy shit, that can’t possibly be true…[researches]…It is! Barney now asks the same question I do “Why are you guys even a country?”

Marshall resets with Slapsgiving, and Barney is confused, because apparently he’s still convinced there are 30 days in October (Barney’s Borat costume from last year is a nice touch.) Barney is now incredulous, how could Marshall slap him on Thanksgiving and asks for a ruling from the Slap Bet Commissioner, Lily, who, though the hostess in her is upset, she must allow it as the SBC. Barney tries to play it off, because Marshall’s showed his hand, but, no, you can tell, he’s worried. Deeply, deeply, worried.

Bob comes in, and Robin warns he’s a little bit older than the gang, say 41. Now, Robin’s 27, so this falls right on the cusp of the (N/2)+7 rule, so we’re going to allow it, and a nice touch by the writers if they actually kept this in mind. While we see that Bob looks really good for a 41 year old, Ted imagines him basically as a refugee from every 1980s beer commercial featuring a horny grandpa. Ted’s jealousy does not play well here. But Lily informs the gang that they are all baking pies the next day at Robin’s because Marshall can’t be trusted with pies in the apartment. Marshall takes offense, for sleepeating is a very serious (and delicious) medical condition. Credit to Jason Segel, you know that was the only take they could actually get out of him where he completely didn’t lose it, but honestly, it works because it’s like Marshall doesn’t even believe his own defense anymore. So Ted will show up, a little late, just to be safe, arriving at 9:30, a full two and a half hours after Lily said she and Marshall would be there. But they aren’t there, for as we can see through comedic use of “Flight of the Bumblebee” Lily is swamped and Marshall is relaxing. Bob is off seeing Green Day, which leaves Ted and Robin together to make pies. Ted calls Barney to beg him to come over because he can’t be alone with Robin, and Barney says he will be right there, but Barney is in the midst of hitting on someone. (Who will tell that poor deluded bastard the simple truth, we don’t have battleships anymore in the U.S. Navy, and they were all named for states anyway. So unless the U.S.S. Stinsylvania is setting sail, no dice. What, I always keep my Jane‘s handy for this very reason.)

So “the big day arrives” and there’s a nice big awkward between Robin and Ted, and we go to the break knowing that Act II will be Rashomon of About Last Night…

Now, as a personal note, I used to hate Thanksgiving because it meant the Lions losing and desperately trying to avoid talking to my family. However, now that I do not see them that often and am free to leave whenever, it’s not so bad. I will also say that I am totally relating to this hooking up with your ex at Thanksgiving thing. And yeah, bad memories.

So Ted points out to Marshall that he and Robin have not been alone together since they broke up and that not only do they have nothing to talk about, but also that everything that they could say to each other will just make things worse. Barney tries to use this as an opening to appeal to Marshall to not slap him, but it falls on deaf ears, though the plea is pretty heartfelt. Ted said he wanted to leave, but he couldn’t leave an exhausted Robin with making all of the pies herself. Well, it turns out that Robin was faking the exhaustion and then points out that Ted, as he is wont to do, panics at an awkward silence and says the first thing that pops into his head. And while Ted’s is over the line, Robin’s pie fact was intriguing. The short version of this whole sequence can be summed up thusly, Ted’s a bit of an ass (actually, in some ways, I kind of like that Ted isn’t perfect, nor does he remember himself perfectly, but rather, those flaws actually make him more real when he does do nice things.) Robin’s a bit maddening (but Colbie is a phenomenal actress in how she totally sells this scene., and the departure hug turns into awkward post breakup sex!

Commercial break questions: a). How much longer is Bee Movie going to be tormenting me, and b). Wow, Jenny McCarthy.

While Marshall thinks that what happened the night before was a horrible idea, Barney salutes it with a relapse five (where you high five, then it’s awkward for a while, then you five again.) Lily breaks down the issue at hand, and Robin’s answers become more and more McMahon-like “you are correct, sir!” and “that is a truth fact” and realizes that this could be awkward unless discussed. So Robin will push for that while Ted pushes for avoidance. I’m totally with Ted on this one, even if mushrooms aren’t carnivorous. Ted’s accusation of Robin “leaning into it” reveals a great deal about Ted’s Little League career (like me, Ted sucked, but he was a prototypical Moneyball player. If only we had known then…) The dropping of the “slappetizers” leads Lily to snap. She insists Robin and Ted sort it out, while Marshall begins a campaign of escalation against Barney (including the positing of the existence of a “time-slap continuum”) with regard to the slapbet, which Lily then rightfully postpones, citing the holiday and the desire to have a nice grown up Thanksgiving.

So, in Ted’s room, Robin and Ted try to work it out, but they come to a sad and disturbing realization. They really aren’t friends. They play nice, but the reality is, they keep avoiding each other. And I give the writers a lot of credit. Save the first episodes of the season with Gael, they have not, at all, dealt with this issue, so the manner in which it plays out here, with the very raw emotion of realizing that once you cross that plateau of friend to relationship, there might not be any going back. So there is a pay off here and like all good things, it had to be waited upon. By the way, sorting out the issues of friends of convenience versus true friendship, I also think is one of the defining characteristics of your 20s, so there was a lot of good here. Robin and Ted agree to get through dinner and then part ways, as it were. But, we know from the past-future that the parting of the ways doesn’t happen, so we’re now left to wonder if this is a short plot fork or a long one.

So they sit down to dinner, and Barney, now drunk on his holiday reprieve, kicks into full Barney jackass mode, escalating it further and further. Marshall wants Lily to say something, but since she doesn’t, Marshall makes a toast, and it’s really kind of nice. Bob starts explaining his family Thanksgivings and how they’re all so overdone and it’s just a “Major Buzzkill” and Robin and Ted both salute to “Major Buzzkill” and they realize, they are friends. It’s honestly very sweet, even if horrifying to the rest of the gang. Older Ted is right, friendship is an involuntary reflex. But, I will add, it is also something you need to work at.

Barney once more, starts pushing, needling, ignoring Lily’s warnings and ultimately, forcing Lily to reverse her previous ruling just as the SlapCountdown clock was set to expire (IRL there were still about two minutes left on it.) Marshall winds up and knocks the heck out of Barney’s face and a end table. Marshall then breaks into the wonderful little rock ballad he composed to honor the occasion. And genuinely, it was pretty fun. (Especially that, while Ted and Robin hold up lighters, Bob holds up his cell phone.)

Commercial Break: So, if I understand the commercial correctly, it’s Best Buy basically saying Parents! Bribe your teenagers! Purchase their love! Make them forget the life lessons you are attempting to instill! Consume!

After a couple of more military adjective riffs, we wrap it up.

I liked this episode a lot, because it finally dealt with the elephant in the room of Robin and Ted’s breakup and how the managed to stay friends after everything was said and done. Though we are no closer to a yellow umbrella, well, I’m just learning to deal with that now.

Once again, I’d like to thank my pal Geoff (aka The Bad One) for his witty and insightful comments as I worked on this.

So, that’s all I have for this week’s edition of Urban HIMYMs. With that, this is Yostal reminding you to just chill, ‘til the next episode (whenever that might be).



1. DougOLis - Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jason Segel was brilliant in this episode. It may be his finest Marshall. The facial expression and joy on his face when Lily tells him he can slap Barney is perfect.

Isn’t it Age/2+7? Cause I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be dating a 5 year old.

Did anyone else notice that older Bob was the storekeeper from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? God I loved that show.

hooking up with an ex at Thanksgiving? Ahh yes, the glorious 1st return home from freshman year.

I felt bad for Robin during most of the epi; but, alas, I am Ted so I sympathized with him as well.

2. Ivan - Thursday, November 22, 2007

Its (Age of the Partner)/2+7, so Bob was (41/2)+7 = 27.5, and Robin is 27.

Thats one of the things about not leaving for college, none of that coming back excitement. I’m not bitter at all.

So, whats the last episode because of the writers strike? I hadn’t heard any news about this.

3. DougOLis - Friday, November 23, 2007

Ahh, he fixed it Ivan. It said – previously.

4. Yostal - Friday, November 23, 2007

Yes, I’m sorry, I did fix that (thank you DougOLis for the catch) along with a couple of other typos. I failed to make a previous note on the edit. That’s on me.

5. Jesus_Saves - Sunday, December 2, 2007

haahahaa the slapsgiving episode is by far the funniest episode because some mushrooms ARE carnivorous!!! which is hilarious and i wonder if the writers knew that… haahaaa

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