By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversial episode of How I Met Your Mother. If not, lets get you caught up.
The newest episode “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra,” continued an on-going joke throughout the show where Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) humorously slaps Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).
Segel’s character explains that he went through training in Shanghai, China to perfect his slapping skills. The show then reveals his three “masters” who turn out to be the other main characters sporting Asian attire, hair accessories, and even a Fu Manchu mustache.
As you can expect, most of the Asian American community felt that all the “yellowface” used was a personal slap to our face. The episode angered so many viewers that the hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism blew up on twitter.
In response to the massive backlash, How I Met Your Mother co-creator Carter Bays tweeted his apology.
Hey guys, sorry this took so long. @himymcraig and I want to say a few words about #HowIMetYourRacism. With Monday’s episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved. But along the way we offended people. We’re deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it. We try to make a show that’s universal, that anyone can watch and enjoy. We fell short of that 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. @CarterBays@HimymCraig
— Carter Bays (@CarterBays) January 15, 2014
This is the point where opinions begin to divide. Some of the Asian community pointed out that while the apology is appreciated, something so obviously offensive never should have been aired. They have pointed out that we have had to hear this apology too many times and you would think that people would know to not use a culture as a costume. Angry Asian Man spilled out his sentiments by writing:
I appreciate apologies that acknowledge wrongdoing and avoid placing blame on the offended. People make mistakes. But this apology sounds a lot like the really really nice guy who hates it when people are mad at him. We get it, you feel terrible that we were offended. You feel terrible that you messed up. So how about actually addressing what you did to mess up? Aw, hell. I’m nitpicking at lackluster apologies.
Really, you just wish they’d had the sense to avoid this bullshit altogether. Obviously, as usual, that was asking too much. Now we all have that image of fu manchu’d Ted Moseby seared into our souls.
But then others in the Asian American community are disagreeing with the backlash all together. They claim that the apology is sincere, they acknowledged their mistake, and as a community, we are slowly opening the eyes of others. They point out that it’s a process and we need to allow people to see, acknowledge, and change their mistakes. This opinion can be seen with CNN host Don Lemon interviewing the popular Vietnamese comedian Dat Phan on his thoughts towards the controversy. Watch it below.
So now we turn towards the real question. Did How I Met Your Mother go too far? Are we tired of hearing all the excuses given to us when all we’re asking for is respect for our culture? OR is Dat Phan correct in saying that we have become hypersensitive and not everything concerning Asians should cause offense?
Watch the How I Met Your Mother clip below and tell us what you think.