Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Return of the Slap

Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap

How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 9

Lily's estranged father shows up at Thanksgiving, and Marshall gives Robin and Ted a gift: one of them can slap Barney, bringing the total Slap-bet count to 4.

In working on my fanfic script of HIMYM, I had envisioned Lily's dad as a stodgy, old man named Alderman Aldrin. But in "Slapsgiving 2," the writers took a totally different route - although I hit the nail on the head when I considered him estranged. In last night's episode, Mr. Mickey Aldrin was an inattentive father who preferred to create boardgames - like Tijuana Slumlord, Car Battery, and There's a Clown Demon Under The Bed - rather than spend time with his daughter. To top things off, his character is played by Chris Elliott, who is the perfect actor for a quirky father who doesn't understand why his boardgames aren't selling.

Lily had yet another angry role to play this season, but it was the first time we saw the effects of her red-eyed death stare. She went through a whole gamut of emotions in this episode, from considering her dad dead, to storming out after finding out Marshall invited him to Thanksgiving, to realizing that she doesn't want to stay angry at her father forever. While it was nice to see a storyline for Marshall and Lily, it was Marshall's desire to bring the family closer together that won me over, rather than Lily's about-face while sitting in the neighborhood bodega.

While Marshall was out of line in inviting Mickey over, it made sense for his character. As Lily mentions, he has a tight-knit family that still includes him - via Webcam - for Sunday night dinners. His approach to getting Lily and her father reunited may have been a bit too much, but in the end, it worked out (albeit a bit too quickly) and Lily and her father started to make amends.

While the Lily & Marshall storyline had some heart, it was the slap bet everyone looked forward to in this episode. Who's going to hit Barney? Robin, who is still getting over the breakup, or Ted, who really has no reason to hit Barney at all? Not knowing who makes Barney flinch every time one of them moves, prompting him to worry about getting 'crow's feet'.

The two roommates argue over who has more of a right to slap Barney across the face, and Barney encourages it. If they don't make a decision before sundown - aka before dinner - then no slap will be had. "No way" passed my lips when Ted proclaimed that he was still in love with Robin, which is why he deserves to be the slapper, but (thankfully) Robin called him out on his lie.

Two minutes til sundown, Robin and Ted realize the 'slap' isn't fun anymore when they argue about it, and Robin gives the gift of the slap to Ted. He winds up and then...he stops. He gives the slap to Robin, who goes through the same process of getting ready, only to realize that someone else should get to slap Barney, who is nervously waiting in the Slap Throne. Robin gives the slap to Mickey, who gives it to Lily, who can't do it either... which of course prompts Marshall to cheer about how the Slap Bet brought everyone together. He then tells Barney that there will be no slapping today, Barney confidently stands up, and Marshall slaps him across the face. Awesome.

Although, it wasn't as good as the 'original Slapsgiving,' with Barney taunting Marshall and the Slapsgiving song, and Robin and Ted figuring out how to be friends after they broke up. (Major Bummer! Salute.) Barney did nothing really to deserve the slap this time around, unlike when he put on a play, but Marshall played it well, as he did throughout both his storylines in this episode.

What did you think of this season's slap? Do you think they'll show the final slap before the show is eventually over? What did you think about Barney not being the center of attention in this episode (even if he was the receiver of the slap)? Did you gasp when Ted told Robin he loved her? And what did you think of Mickey and his boardgames - especially "Diseases," which explodes all over the turkey?

Share your thoughts below!

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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