November 19th, 2007
Well, this was it. After over 115 days of waiting, the Slap Bet Countdown posted by CBS in July has finally been brought down to zero. At one point in the episode, Barney pleaded with Marshall to cancel the slap, saying that knowing about it ahead of time only made the suspense and fear grow. Similarly, perhaps you could argue that there was greater fan interest as a result of the countdown (Based on hits to this post explaining the Slap Bet here at Cultural Learnings, this is in fact that case).
However, I actually thought it took away from the slap itself. The episode was really more to do with Robin and Ted than it was with the Slap Bet, and while it provided a great coda to the episode (Complete with a fantastic piano ballad featuring backup vocals from a recovering Barney) I really didn’t feel like it had the impact that our first surprise slap did. And, while I perhaps was more likely to tune in knowing it was going to happen, it seems to have been an issue of quality promotion over quality comedy…and that’s kind of disappointing.