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Recap / How I Met Your Mother S 2 E 09 Slap Bet

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The gang tries to figure out Robin's aversion to malls, and Barney and Marshall make a "slap bet" over the reason behind it.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The video for "Let's Go to the Mall," which was filmed in the 90's, is inexplicably in widescreen and HD. This is especially impressive given that it's being streamed from the internet in 2006, long before HD video streaming was commonplace. Could be easily hand waved in that the story is merely being told by Future Ted, and such minor details were left out for convenience.
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  • Acceptable Targets: Canada, as per the norm. Highlights include Lily declaring that a Canadian marriage, like their money and military, is not real and Barney commenting on the quality of Canadian porn.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Marshall's slaps send Barney face-down to the floor, thanks to Marshall's giant bear hands.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: We see three examples of Barney experiencing an "Oh moment" (a deal-breaking revelation from a romantic interest): a woman who made a pact with God promising to stay a virgin until marriage, a woman with an eating disorder, and ... a woman who just turned 30.
  • Blatant Lies: When Ted is trying to cover up the fact that he told Robin's secret to Marshall he claims that the database he used to look up her fake marriage was the "Canadian Mall Marriage 6000".
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  • Boggles the Mind: Invoked by Ted, who tries to use a Scrabble game to broach the subject of whether Robin has ever been married.
    Ted: 'Husband'
    Robin: There's no 'P' in 'husband'
    Ted: Hmm… you seem to know a lot about husbands…
  • Character Signature Song: The episode marks the debut of "Let's Go To The Mall".
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Barney and Marshall's Slap Bet will be vital for the rest of the series' run.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The "Jessica" mentioned in the opening lyrics of "Let's Go To The Mall" is Jessica Glitter, the same friend in Canada Robin mentioned early in the episode that got married way too young. She will make an appearance in season 6.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: Robin doesn't want her friends to find out she was a Canadian pop star, so she lies and says the reason she doesn't like malls is that she got married in one.
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  • Continuity Nod: Ted mentions his parents' poor communication skills which was the main theme of the episode Brunch.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Cobie Smulders really sang the aforementioned Character Signature Song.
  • The '80s: Robin's music video is shot in this style because the decade didn't come to Canada 'til 1993.
  • Event Title: Much of the episode is set during the duration of Barney and Marshall's Slap Bet.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Barney doesn't like to sleep with a woman once she hit her 30s despite being 31 years old himself.
  • Idol Singer: Turns out being one is Robin's Old Shame.
  • I Hate Past Me: The premise of the episode.
  • I Have This Friend...: Subverted. The gang thought Robin is talking about herself everytime she mentions her friend in Canada that was married way too young. She isn't (see Chekhov's Gunman above).
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Barney keeps insisting that Robin did porn.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Normally, Robin giggles everytime she lies. However, she is able to resist that Character Tic while covering her Idol Singer past with a lie that she was married before in order to keep it a secret.
  • Noodle Incident: Barney tries to prove that Lily doesn't know all of Marshall's stories; the two stories mentioned involve a donkey eating his pants, and having to get nickels pumped from his stomach.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Although it wound up biting him in the ass, you have to give Barney some leeway; the opening to the "Let's Go To The Mall" music video did look like the beginning of a porno.
  • Pet the Dog: Barney consistently mentions that he'll only show enough parts of Robin's old video (mistaking it as porn) in interest of her dignity to prove a point to Marshall.
  • The Reveal: The entire episode keeps double subverting Robin's past. First they thought she was married. Then they find out it's not really true. Then they thought she was a porn-star. Again, it's not really the case. Finally, they found out she was an Idol Singer. This time, it's true.
    Robin: I wish it was porn, it would be less embarrassing.
  • Robot Buddy: Robin has one in her music video.
  • Secondary Character Title: Some international releases renamed the episode "Robin Sparkles".
  • So Bad, It's Good: The "Let's Go To The Mall" music video is described this way In-Universe.
  • Spoiler Title: Narrowly averted. The episode's original title was "Robin Sparkles," but it was changed to "Slap Bet" when the producers realized it might spoil the plot twist.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: While inquiring Robin about her aversion to malls, Ted asks if she got trapped under a boulder at a mall, leading to this:
    Robin: Who gets trapped under a boulder at a mall?
    Ted: Not me in Cleveland when I was six, that's for sure.
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