We jump into “Slap Bet” with Barney excited about Sharper Images’ opening it’s 500th store. Barney decides to take the gang on a shopping spree to celebrate but Robin quickly refuses to go to a mall. When the gang presses Robin to go, she blurts out that she doesn’t go to malls and wants the group to drop it. Ted calls off the dogs and tells the gang to respect her privacy. Later that night, Ted tries to get Robin to tell her secret but with no success. A few days later, Ted is still struggling with Robin’s secret. Barney informs Ted relationships work better the less you know about someone, sharing persona details can only lead to discovering your “deal breaker”. Ted disagrees and insists he needs to find a way to get Robin to divulge her secret. Barney and Marshall each have theories about Robin’s hatred of malls. Barney thinks Robin did porn and Marshall thinks Robin was married in a mall and even supports his theory with a valid argument. Barney and Marshall agree to a “slap bet”, which is where a person slaps the other person as hard as possible, on their Robin theories and dub Lily the slap bet commissioner. Later and against Lily’s advice, Ted presses Robin about being married and to Ted’s surprise she admits to being married at a mall in Canada. Robin assures Ted it isn’t a big deal, that she was married very young, and her husband moved away for business. Robin tells Ted she didn’t think a divorce was necessary and asks him to keep her marriage a secret.
The following night, Ted spills Robin’s secret to the gang at MacLaren’s. As soon as the words escape Ted’s lips, Barney’s face is met by Marshall’s gigantic hand. Ted confesses to the group he is worried Robin’s marriage will ruin their relationship. Marshall offers to look into Canadian divorce laws to see if Robins is even still married after years of separation. Even though Robin is married, Barney is convinced she did porn and would thus allow him to slap Marshall. The next day, Marshall finds Ted at the apartment and confesses he knows Robin isn’t married. He checked every Canadian database he could find and Robin’s marriage wasn’t listed anywhere. Confused by Robin’s lie, Marshall tells Ted he has to ask her questions about the marriage in hopes to catch her in the law and reveal the truth. Ted once again confronts Robin about her marriage and asks details of the wedding. After Ted catches Robin in the lie, Robin catches him lying that he found the information himself. Ted breaks down and admits he told Marshall her secret leading to an argument between Ted and Robin.
Meanwhile down at MacLaren’s, Barney confronts Marshall about Robin’s fake marriage. As mentioned earlier in the episode, Marshall and Lily tell each other every detail about their day. Marshall told Lily about Robin’s lie and as the slap bet commissioner, she had to tell Barney. Lily awards Barney three slaps for Marshall’s unjustified slap. Barney slaps Marshall three times repeatedly, leaving him teary-eyed. Ted and Robin continue the argument until Barney bursts through the door with Lily and Marshall in tow. Barney announces he has discovered Robin’s secret and refers to her as “Robin Sparkles”. Barney tells the gang he found a guy in Malaysia who has evidence and is uploading to the internet as they speak. Ted closes the laptop and tells the gang they should let Robin have her secret since it means so much to her but Robin finally gives in and tells everyone to watch the video but to keep in mind she was young and it started as an innocent modeling gig.
Barney opens the laptop and starts a video of a young Robin, dressed in a school girl uniform, pleading with her teacher not to giver her detention. Barney stops the video for “Robin’s dignity” and immediately turns and slaps Marshall. After Robin finds out the details of the slap bet she pushes resumes the video and mentions “she wished it was porn”. The video sudden;y turns into a music video causing the gang to slowly and collectively look at Robin with their jaws wide open. Robin confesses she was a teenage pop star in Canada that had one hit, “Let’s Go To The Mall, Today”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY_bhVSGKEg) Robin informs the group she toured malls for years, singing the song and living off of mall food. We also learn the “1990’s” didn’t come to Canada until 1993, which is why the music video looks like it was filmed in the 1980’s. Ted apologizes to Robin for prying but she tells him she is glad he knows and now they are closer. Marshall, being the future lawyer he is, can’t help but notice Robin did not do porn and was prematurely slapped without the commissioner’s approval. Lily gives Barney the choice of 10 slaps consecutively or five slaps from now until eternity, Barney chooses the latter. As the gang enjoys the Robin Sparkles video, Marshall unexpectedly slaps Barney announcing, “That’s one!”
“Slap Bet” is yet another reason why I love How I Met Your Mother, although it didn’t progress Ted’s story at all, it did make me enjoy the here and now. The absurdity of a slap bet is amusing in itself but throw in Marshall and Barney and you have a formula for entertainment gold. I must admit, I myself have been involved in a slap bet; I lost and my face looked exactly like Barney’s after Marshall’s first slap. “Let’s Go To The Mall, Today” was a hilarious jab at the 1980’s music video industry, complete with a talking robot, rap section and cheesy outfits. This episode is the second best episode of the season so far, only behind “Swarley”. I hope we see more of Robin Sparkles and the not so subtle Canada bashing.
My favorite scene, besides all the slaps, was Marshall’s one-liner when Barney mentions how big his hand is and Marshall responds with, “What do you expect, you’ve seen my penis.”