TV Review: The Slap Episodes 101-104

I was asked to review this show. I had actually never heard of it. Based on the name and the show description I thought it was a sitcom. I didn’t realize it wasn’t until I started watching it and noticed that the color scheme was more in line with the standard hour long drama. Which is exactly what this show is. Its a drama. A very badly named one. I’m not sure what name would have worked better but its just a horrible name. The titular slap isn’t even the entire revolving point of the show, although it is the jump starting event. Apparently, the show is a remake of an Australian series with the same horrible name. You’d think someone would have thought of a better title during the adaptation process.

Besides the horrible name the show actually isn’t bad. Its interesting, well made, well written and has a cast of really good actors. I was expecting a horrible cliche filled sitcom and instead was treated to a decent drama. It has some cliches but not enough to ruin the show. And it does have a pointless voiceover that jumps in sometimes but its not often enough to become irritating.

In the first episode, Hector is turning forty and his wife is throwing him a birthday party. We follow Hector through out his day leading up to and during the party. At the party Hector’s cousin Harry slaps a five year old boy. Of course, it isn’t as simple as all that but that is the basic premise of the event and that is what jump starts the series.

Each episode follows a different character as the main focus. Although, many main characters appear in each episode. The first episode is Hector. Hector is one of the stronger characters on the show and this episode is one of my favorites so far. Its a very good start to the show.

The second episode follows Harry and it doesn’t make him more sympathetic. One flaw the show has is several stereotypical characters. Harry, the bully, is one of those characters. Another is Rosie, the mother of the child that is slapped. She is portrayed as a “hippie” that is over indulgent with her out of control child. Even going as far as showing her nursing a 3 year old which feeds into the idea of nursing as a method of spoiling. Which is a stereotype that is getting old and that is really outdated since it has been proven over and over that nursing past infancy doesn’t actually effect children at all. This cheapens the show to me but luckily it isn’t dwelled on heavily past this one episode. I’m hoping it is redeemed when they get to the episode told from Rosie’s point of view.

The third episode is titled Anouk and is told from her point of view. It covers the period a few days after the party. The timeline continues forward the focus just shifts from character to character. While we do get a repeat of past events on occasion, it mostly keeps moving without getting repetitive. In the case of Anouk we see more what is going on in her life with her much younger, really hot, boyfriend than we do her connection to the slap itself. Although, as the best friend of Hector’s wife and Rosie, she is in the middle of it as much as anyone else. This episode is probably my favorite of the first episodes. Anouk isn’t given much to do prior to this episode but she is by far one of the most interesting characters.

The fourth episode follows Manolis. He is Hectors father and Harry’s uncle. He is in a very complicated position. He raised Harry and feels responsible for his actions and he also loves his nephew. He wants to do what is right but seems torn as to what that may be. Manolis is a character that a lot of shows would not give so much screen time too but when he is given the screen time he is definitely worth watching.

The show is dealing with a complex issue. Is it ever okay to hit a child? Especially a child that isn’t yours? When a child is clearly out of control and in need of discipline what do you do? While the show would be able to present this issue better if Harry wasn’t clearly a bully and a brute it still does a pretty good job of showing all sides of the situation. Its overall a really good show and now that I’ve started watching it I will probably finish it.

It seems to only have 8 episodes. The Australian version was a mini-series and only had the 8 episodes with no second season. There appears to be no official word on whether the US version intends to go the same route or if they will be attempting to continue the show. I think it could continue. These characters are complex enough to have more story to tell. I’d personally like to see more story but I haven’t had good luck this season with shows that start out as miniseries being renewed. So, we will just have to see.

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The Slap airs on Thursdays at 10pm on NBC.

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