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'How I Met Your Mother' Episode Features Actors In Yellowface
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:
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:
With Monday's episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved.— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014
But along the way we offended people. We're deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it.— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014
We try to make a show that's universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that this week, and feel terrible about it.— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014
The comedy's other co-creator Thomas retweeted Bays' comments and added:
Here is a clip of Robin as "Red Bird":