It’s clear that How I Met Your Mother never backed down when an opportunity came along to build on a long-running joke, but when the series circled back to the Slapsgiving gag in season 9, a certain episode stirred up a lot of controversy due to the unnecessary use of yellowface.
Throughout the show, one thing that kept cropping back up every once in a while was the slap bet, something that Barney feared from Marshall. How I Met Your Mother’s Yellowface Controversy is very interseting.
To act as though the trio were masters in Marshall’s eyes, Ted, Robin, and Lily wore silk robes and spoke with Asian accents. To make matters worse, they put a Fu Manchu mustache on Ted to poke fun at stereotypes. The episode was meant to be a playful tribute to Kung Fu, but instead, it came off as inappropriate and downright ignorant to the Asian community and people of color.
Some viewers defended the fact that the training took place in Marshall’s head so it made sense why it was his friends who played the masters. Others, however, thought the storyline should have gone in an entirely different direction to avoid questionable depictions of underrepresented communities. How I Met Your Mother’s Yellowface Controversy is very interesting.
HIMYM Had Fan Backlash After The Yellowface Controversy
After the episode aired in January 2014, many viewers took to social media. It was to call out How I Met Your Mother and their tasteless attempt at honoring Kung Fu. People pointed out the show’s lack of diversity on-screen and in the writer’s room. They thought that this would have never happened if people of color were on the writing team. The fact that they chose an all-white cast to depict martial arts masters.
It was very troublesome in the eyes of a segment of fans. Viewers shared their dismay with the yellowface controversy with a #HowIMetYourRacism tag on Twitter.
How I Met Your Mother’s co-creator, Carter Bays, was aware of the backlash and responded shortly after the episode aired. He shared on Twitter that “we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies. A genre we’ve always loved.” In the end, the group realized that they offended people. And they apologized for the trouble they caused. Bays also sent his appreciation to anyone who spoke up as it was a learning experience for all involved.