The Slap (2015)
It’s Hector’s 40th birthday, and his wife is throwing him a big party with lots of friends, family, and food for what will undoubtedly be a happy, celebratory day. Or so they think. As Hector tries to navigate family politics, awkward friendships, and the younger woman he’s secretly seeing on the side, the built-up tension explodes when Hector’s hotheaded cousin slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. Everyone is understandably stunned, and the party abruptly ends – with the child’s parents vowing legal action as they leave. But what the hosts and guests don’t know is that this moment will ignite a chain of events that will uncover long-buried secrets within this group of friends and family… and vigorously challenge the core values of everyone involved.
From writer Jon Robin Baitz (Brothers & Sisters), executive producers Walter F. Parkes & Laurie MacDonald (Gladiator, Men in Black franchise) and director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right ), comes this unflinching look at how one little slap… can have a huge impact.
The Slap Series Review
The first episode which airs on February 12, 2015 introduces us to the characters and sets the scene for the premise of the entire series. Hector (Peter Sarsgaard; Green Lantern), is the NYC public servant who is turning 40 and having a full on midlife crisis. He gets passed over for a promotion at work and has fantasies about the young woman who works in his wife's medical clinic.
His wife, Aisha (Thandie Newton; The Purstuit of Happyness), has some issues with the family dynamic , especially Hector's overbearing parents. His parents played by Brian Cox (Troy) and Maria Tucci (Once More With Feeling) are portrayed as the stereotypical Greek Patriarch and Matriarch of a large brood. Rounding out the family are Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Melissa George (Alias), and Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom).
When Cousin Harry (Quinto) gets tired of Rosie's (George) "brat" Hugo (Dylan Schombing; Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce) misbehaving, he disciplines the child the only way he knows how – with a slap across the face. This moment changes the family forever and sets in motion a series of events that has unfortunate consequences, including a fissure in the family that I doubt will ever be repaired.
From the outset the audience can tell this isn't just another television drama. From the first few scenes I was drawn in to Hector's world which seems to be rapidly crumbling around him. As we meet the family I felt a twinge of agitation at the thought of my own large family gatherings.
Director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are Alright) mimics some of her past work; a technique which allows the audience to feel a connection with this family. Her visuals draw the audience in as if they are participants rather than merely spectators to this family meltdown. The cast is chock full of heavy hitters who to a tremendous job. Quinto, as Harry, is the young successful cousin we all love to hate and George and Sadoski are the "hippie" couple whose lifestyle and parenting skills regularly illicit eyes rolls from the rest of the clan.
It will be interesting to see if the series can maintain the early momentum but, for now, I'm eager to see episode two which bodes well for the show. A-
"The Slap" premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
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