Ordinarily, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother is just about the most innocuous show on television. But following Monday’s episode, dubbed “Slapsgiving 3: Slappapointment in Slapmarra,” accusations of racism have been flying.
The ire comes down to a Kill Bill-style homage that showed series leads Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, and Josh Radnor donning Fu Manchu mustaches and kimonos while teaching Jason Segel’s character the art of the slap. Since then, fans and critics alike have tossed “yellowface” charges at the show’s production team.
The ire has even spawned its own hashtag, “#HowIMetYourRacism,” which—as of yesterday—was evidently strong enough to reach the doorstep of HIMYM creators. Explaining the episode as an intended “silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies,” series creator Carter Bays apologized for the error.
The result, instead, was three white actors apparently playing up a host of Asian stereotypes
“We try to make a show that’s universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy,” he said “We fell short this week, and feel terrible about it. To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill. Thanks”
With this season, the show’s ninth, serving as the last, this isn’t exactly the way to go out on the right foot. Especially for a show that already famously lacks a strong minority presence.
Perhaps next time, take the friendly advice of this Twitter user:
If you're going to make fun of Asian people and kungfu, at least use Asian actors on your show instead of whitewashing it #HowIMetYourRacism— ☮ K A R E N ☮ (@kaarenmeelon) January 15, 2014