• Thu, Jan 16 - 5:02 pm ET

The How I Met Your Mother Creators Feel Just Lousy About That Whole Racism Thing

Josh Radnor in yellow face for a racist How I Met Your Mother episode January 2014As our sister site The Gloss wrote yesterdayHow I Met Your Mother did a little dabbling in racism for their show this past Monday night. They have an ongoing gag where Marshall, played by Jason Segel, is allowed to slap Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris, in the face, without warning, at any time he wants. He’s only allowed to do it a limited amount of times, though, and the second-to-last time took place in this past episode.

And apparently the way the show’s writers wanted to celebrate such an exciting moment…was with a racist interlude featuring several of the show’s characters in ‘yellow face’, using Asian stereotypes to illustrate one of Marshall’s stories. Sigh. Happy 2014 everybody. I’m glad we didn’t let Julianne Hough and Paula Deen‘s willful ignorance hit us on the way out…of 2013.

So since there was so much backlash, the shows creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have apologized, via Carter’s Twitter account.

(That’s a hashtag that started trending before the episode had even finished airing the other night.)

A writer at Angry Asian Man calls this kind of appropriation ‘kung-foolery’, which I think is such an amazingly accurate word that I want to start a slow clap.

I mean…all right. It’s great that they took complete responsibility for their actions, but it doesn’t make it any less worrisome that an entire show’s worth of employees thought that was an acceptable thing to depict on national television. And not just acceptable, but actually funny.

You can say ‘sorry we offended you’ as many times as you want, but ultimately — can you really apologize for the fact that in the twenty-first century, putting a group of white actors in yellow face makeup, pseudo-kimono, silly facial hair, and elaborate hairstyles as a sight gag still felt like fun to you? I don’t think you can, and I definitely don’t think you did.

(Photo: CBS)

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  • Kate

    Quick before the rabid fans attack! It’s Marshall played by Jason Segal who is the slap bet victor, not Ted

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Eeep eep eep! Thank you!

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I mean…what are you even talking about? I had it right the whole time.

      (Thank you!)

    • Kate

      Ahhh I’m not signed in so I can’t delete it but feel free to get rid of that comment!

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      No worries, I’m not ashamed!

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  • AngryFan

    It is not just the racism thing, that episode was fucking horrible. I mean, it was awful, It was a bad thing, bad written, and the episode was a complete nosense

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah if you’re gonna be controversial in any regard, you better also be funny. If you’re racist, lame, and unfunny, you don’t have a leg to stand on.