If you’re unfamiliar with the Australian version or the book it’s based on, The Slap is about exactly what the previews tell us it’s about. At a birthday party, a way too sexy an angry man takes it upon himself to discipline an unruly child that is not his own by slapping him across the face. With his hand. And hard too. This isn’t The Tap. It’s The Slap.
I just want to get this out there; Zachary Quinto could slap me anytime. Anywhere. A birthday barbecue in Brooklyn. In a bar. In the privacy of our home. In a church. But I digress.
Episode one opens on Hector (Peter Sarsgaard), who is in the beginning stages of a mid-life crisis. He didn’t get a promotion he was expecting, but doesn’t want to tell his wife Aisha (Thandie Newton). Instead he self medicates, listens to bad jazz, and then thinks about banging the baby-sitter, who looks like she’s 12. It’s his 40th birthday and his wife is planning a family barbecue at their place to celebrate. She’s slicing up all these tomatoes for him and he’s just thinking about banging their baby-sitter. Men. Am I right?
By the way, there’s a narrator, but fuck that narrator. I’m not going to acknoledge him again, because he’s the worst thing about this show. If we were at a family barbecue, I’d slap him.
Rosie (Melissa George) and Gary (Thomas Sadoski) are a couple of hippes who’s misbehaving son Hugo is the catalyst for this entire show. He’s kind of an entitled brat, but then again, so are his parents, and you can’t really blame a 5 year-old for behaving the way he was raised. A bunch of other people show up to this party, including Harry, played by my TV husband Zachary Quinto, who wants to know where he can park his giant fucking car so that it “doesn’t get jacked”. Hector tells him to park on the street and Harry can’t even believe that people do such a thing. But oh yeah, they’re in Brooklyn, so he parks in the street. There’s a lot of people at the party, but most of them aren’t introduced and their relationships to each other are not explained or set up in any way. I can only assume that it might not matter.
Hugo tries to destroy Hector’s house and belongings and to take care of the problem, his mother sticks a tit in his mouth. He’s like 5. He needs some discipline, not titty milk, but there ya have it. It reminds me of that scene in Grown Ups when the 4-year-old is being breastfed and someone asks Kevin James’ character how old he is and he’s so embarassed he says he’s “48 months” to make him sound younger. Hector’s parents (I think. Again, no one is introduced.) show up and give the gift of a free trip to Greece for everyone. I suspect by the end of this episode, this trip won’t be happening anymore, but it was a nice gesture while it lasted. Hector’s wife doesn’t want to go. I think she doesn’t want to be stuck on a plane with all these shitty white people, but she just claims she’s very busy at the clinic. Then she pees with the bathroom door open and we all get to see it. Girl, I ain’t here for you and your body fluids. Shut that door.
Out in the backyard, Hugo is tearing up Hector and Aisha’s garden while his parents make snide remarks about the free trip they were just given. God, these people are assholes. And so boring. If I was at this party, I’d slap someone too. Hector needs to get away from this nonsense, so he takes some pills, listens to some more bad jazz, and tries to organize sports for the kids so Hugo will stop tearing his shit up. So, really, this whole thing is Hector’s fault. But I really have no sympathy for him or his plants, because he goes to flirt with their 12-year-old-looking babysitter while his wife is hosting this birthday party for him with his wretched, wretched family. Though, to be honest, if this was my family, and my boring-ass birthday party, and Harry and Gary were fighting about every little thing, I’d go try and make out with the babysitter too. Though I probably wouldn’t let Uma Thurman catch us holding hands like Hector does.
Hugo starts swinging a bat dangerously near Harry’s son Rocco. God, these people and their kids’ names. His parents don’t really do anything about it, so Harry bolts down the steps and into the yard. If you never seen an angry Quinto, then you don’t know fear. He’s terrifying when he’s angry and he does scary very well. I would have dropped that bat and cried like a baby. And then probably would have taken my pants off. But Hugo is not me. Hugo’s a brat who continues to swing the bat and then kicks Harry in the shins after he takes it away. Though to be honest, Harry is pretty scary and he grips Hugo tightly by the shoulders. I would have kicked him in the shins too. Kicking him is the least of the things Hugo’s done. If you wanna hold someone like that, you kind of deserve to be kicked.
We all know what happens next. A slap ensues. I knew it was coming and it was still a little jarring. Bang, zoom. Straight to the moon.
Hugo’s mom is crying harder than he is. The adults are shouting at each other, each taking a side, except for Hector, who tries to play peacemaker. Harry calls Gary a “lazy hippy” and Gary asks Harry’s wife if Harry hits her too. If I had to guess, I’d say that, yes, he probably does. He seems the type. Aisha says something about Harry’s “history” but doesn’t elaborate. I’m gonna assume he beats his wife. Or he slapped some other kid before. Maybe this is like the 6th kid he’s smacked.
Hector is almost happy for “the slap”, because it stopped him from fucking the baby-sitter and screwing up his marriage. The incident jarred him out of whatever fantasy he was in and he told the baby-sitter this must stop. But then he keeps thinking about her. Since I’m told every episode is going to be from the perspective of a different character, I imagine we won’t come back to Hector’s potential affair anytime soon, if at all.
So, overall, this episode was kind of boring. But everything had to be set up, so I guess that’s how it goes. Ultimately, the next seven chapters of this mini-series is not going to focus on the actual slap, but rather the aftermath that ensues for the grown-ups. It seems like everybody else is more upset about the slap then Hugo is. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this.