Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Really Goes Into Those Iconic HIMYM Slap Scenes

The long-running CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" brought fans a host of amusing running jokes during its nine-season run. From laser tag games, music videos about going to the mall, to jokes about eating sub "sandwiches," the series — focused on a group of friends in Manhattan in their late 20s — utilized a non-standard sitcom format with cutaway jokes to create a new kind of energy that stood out from other New York City sitcoms like "Friends" or "Seinfeld" (via The Chicago Tribune). While the series starts with an older Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor, voiced by Bob Saget as the show's narrator) recounting the long, winding road to meeting the mother of his children, "How I Met Your Mother" blossoms into quite the journey for each of its five main characters, including Lily Aldrin (Alison Hannigan), Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders).

One of the series' best running jokes is the recurring slap bet between Marshall and Barney The original bet starts in the Season 2 episode "Slap Bet" as the gang learns about Robin's past as a Canadian pop star and ends with the group granting Marshall the authority to slap Barney five different times at any point in the future. The slaps play out in six more episodes throughout the series — some take affectionate holiday-themed titles like "Slapsgiving" — and as it turns out, the show's cast and crew took extra care in filming the slap sequences.

How I Met Your Mother filmed its slaps from every angle

In 2007, The Morning Call sent a reporter to the "How I Met Your Mother" set for the filming of the Season 3 episode "Slapsgiving," which features Marshall holding a Thanksgiving Day slap over Barney's head. The outlet noted when they visited the set of the show that its cast and crew stayed into a Friday evening to get the slap filmed appropriately; apparently, camera operators needed to film Marshall's slap from every possible angle to make sure the series had what it needed for post-production.

Though it sounds funny to imagine the show having rules regarding its slaps, Segel said that he was told not to perform any backhanded slaps for the episode. "No pimp slaps," the actor quipped. "It's got to all be the front hand slap, which limits me comedically, frankly, but they don't seem to care about that around here. So a front hand slap it will be."

At the time, Neil Patrick Harris said that he and the show's writing staff had expressed some concern over how "How I Met Your Mother" would top the slap in "Slapsgiving," considering the original bet still gave Marshall two more slaps at the time. The slaps return in four more episodes: Season 5's "Slapsgiving 2: Return of the Slap," Season 7's "Disaster Averted," Season 9's "Slapsgiving 3," and finally, Season 9's "The End of the Aisle," at Barney and Robin's wedding.