Tonight THE SLAP premiers on NBC, and whether or not it gets good reviews (so far they've been mixed), we're excited to watch a show in which a direct open-handed facial assault features so prominently. Sure, the slap in THE SLAP is a catalyst for an important national conversation about child-rearing and corporal punishment, but I can't help but be reminded of the last time we saw some truly compelling slap-centered narrative. I'm talking, of course, about the Slap Bet in HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.
You may remember the ongoing storyline: In the episode "Robin Sparkles," we discovered that Robin was a teen pop star in Canada who toured the malls of the Great White North in the 90s, performing Debbie Gibsonesque bubblegum tunes. To wit:
It's a pretty brilliant episode, made enjoyable by the fact that the reveal of Robin's hidden and Aeropostale-outfitted past was the episode's denouement. Throughout the episode, it was clear that she had a secret - but nobody knew what that secret was. Barney, of course, was convinced the secret past involved a career in porn. Marshall disagreed. So they made a wager: The Slap Bet, where the winner would get to slap the loser in the face.
But this being HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, the story grew and mutated and changed. Barney lost the bet, but instead of one slap, Marshall got to administer five slaps, at times and places of his choosing, without warning. Barney lost the bet hard.
Over the course of the show, the writers used Marshall's five slaps in fun and creative ways, sometimes announcing their advent, sometimes not. It was one of the running jokes that made the show a blast to watch.