It wasn't the mother of all Slapsgivings, but Monday's "How I Met Your Mother" managed to mine a few more laughs out of the remaining slaps in Marshall's slap bet with Barney.
And how's this for stunt casting: Chris "Cabin Boy" Elliott as Lily's dad? They had me at "Tijuana Slum Lord," even if it isn't really fun for all — or any — ages.
HIMYM historians will recall that the two slaps that Marshall still owed Barney date back to their bet three seasons earlier over Robin's unexplained fear of malls. (Filming a "Robin Sparkles" video in a Canadian mall will do that to you.) Lily, in her capacity as Slap Bet Commissioner, determined that Barney lost the bet and Barney makes the unwise choice of selecting five slaps from Marshall over eternity as opposed to 10 immediate, rapid-fire slaps.
The always reliable Wikipedia — "Wikipedia: where lazy bloggers go to 'check' their facts" — offers a summary of the three slaps delivered so far.
Feeling generous after Ted and Robin miraculously recover the organic turkey that he forgot in a cab, Marshall decides to bequeath one of his remaining two slaps to them before they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.
I was hoping that Marshall would break out the online Slap Countdown that he once used to torture Barney as the seconds ticked off before a promised slap two seasons ago, but we had to make do Monday night with Barney's attempts to get Robin and Ted to turn on each other in a fight over who gets to slap Barney. The "Slap Throne" was a nice touch, though.
Chris Elliott offered a welcome distraction as Mickey, Lily's loser dad who squandered all his quality time inventing disturbing board games. 'There's a Clown Demon Under Your Bed' may have been my favorite, but who wouldn't want to hook the kids up for a round of 'Car Battery ... How Long Can You Hold On?'
Mickey's been dead to Lily since she discovered that her grandparents had to cancel their Florida retirement plans to continue supporting her loser dad living in their basement. What's worse than having your 40-something-year-old son still living at home? How about a 40-something-year-old son who hangs a sock on your doorknob for some privacy as he entertains himself?
(If only Chris Elliott had been around to share that idea with my college roommate ...)
Lily's inevitable reconciliation with her dad over Thanksgiving dinner isn't as entertaining as the flashbacks to the other people who've suffered Lily's "Dead to me" stare. There's Whitney the bridesmaid who makes the faux pas of admitting that she's underwhelmed by Lily's strapless wedding gown and Mr. Park, the Korean bodega owner who ignores her request for decaffeinated coffee and convinces her that he hasn't just poured her a cup of regular coffee.
But my favorite is the old guy neighbor who fails to flinch when she catches him stealing the newspaper off their welcome mat but promises to return the paper after some bathroom reading.
Glad to see that Marshall and Lily still subscribe to a newspaper, because I was beginning to fear that the newspaper industry's core audience these days more closely resembles "Old guy neighbor looking to kill time on the can after a big steak dinner the previous night."
In the end, everyone is happy. Lily and Mickey are reunited, and Marshall delivers the fourth slap just as Barney starts to think he'll escape this Thanksgiving unscathed. No one spins around after a massive slap like Neil Patrick Harris. He could teach a few lessons to the child actors featured in the throwaway fake ad for Slap Bet, the board game.
Some viewers may be over the Slap Bet, but really, I'm more interested in how the show sets up the fifth and final slap than in how they introduce the mother of future Ted's children.