Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

'How I Met Your Mother' Episode Features Actors In Yellowface

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

How I Met Your Mother is under fire for a controversial episode that featured its main actors in yellowface.

The episode, which aired on Monday night, followed a running joke on the show about a slapping bet between Marshall (Jason Segal) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Marshall discussed how he mastered the "Slap of a Million Exploding Suns" to give Barney the slap of a lifetime, and that's went things spiraled out of control... and got pretty racist. Guess the show's creators thought it would be prime time for some Oriental Dragonlady depictions and all-around kung-fu fun. While the creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have apologized today for their depictions of Asians, the actors haven't commented on the situation.

The three "masters" of the hand-slapping technique in the episode were Ted (Josh Radnor), Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), who were nicknamed the Calligrapher, Red Bird, and White Flower, respectively. They had all the Asian stereotypes down. The three wore silky outfits; the women had on Chinese qipao dresses and put their hair up in buns with chopsticks (yes, really). Ted had one of the most offensive yellowface depictions, donning a Fu Manchu mustache. The actors ate noodles with chopsticks and Robin held a folded fan. Lily and Robin even spoke with slight broken-English accents.

The show enraged viewers and a #HowIMetYourRacism hashtag on Twitter surfaced:

Support for LAist comes from

Angry Asian Man joked on his blog: "At least nobody had their eyes taped back."

Max Nicholson of IGN reviewed the episode and wrote, "That reminds me, though, 'Slapsgiving 3' was also just pretty racist across the board, which... yeah, that'll ding it a few points. (Seriously, with the faux Asian accents?)"

How I Met Your Mother's co-creator Bays, apologized on Twitter:

Support for LAist comes from

The comedy's other co-creator Thomas retweeted Bays' comments and added:

Here is a clip of Robin as "Red Bird":