Thursday, February 12, 2015

"The Slap": a kids' whiffleball game at an adult birthday party leads to a legal case


The Slap”, like so many movies and TV series, tries to film normal family life in New York City, and in this 8-part missive, Hector’s family appears to live in an ample brownstone in Brooklyn Heights.  There is a narrator logging his thoughts and fantasies, as in a novel by John Irving.  It’s not very public who created this. The Pilot aired tonight at 8 PM EST on NBC.
   
Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) has his 40th birthday party (where are the black balloons?) at the office of his architectural firm.  He looks older than that. His wife Aisha (Thandie Newton) is a doctor, and he is already paying too much attention to the babysitter.
  
There’s also a birthday party at his brownstone, and it’s a kind of heterosexual “boys in the band” with wives and children.  That’s the problem.  Some interesting younger stars appear as the older kids, like Penn Badgley (who let his chest hair grow after “Gossip Girl”) and Lucas Hedges, with his professional photography, looking like an angel.  (He’s still “Bob” from “Zero Theorem” and is still “nobody’s tool”).  Zachary Quinto plays Harry, Hector’s cousin, and here he is no Spock.  He’s the most macho dad at the party.
  
Trouble approaches, with little clues.  Another couple invites Hector and Aishaon a paid vacation to Greece.  That’s no gift if work keeps you home.  Thandie objects, in private.
  
After eating their September picnic, grownsups suggest a whiffleball game, involving the little kids.  Hector already has cloth bases.  This is like the backyard softball we played as kids in the 50s.   Does the average brownstone in Brooklyn have enough of a yard even for whiffleball?   There’s only one fair hit ball, a drive toward third base (we don’t see where it lands). A well-pitched whiffleball is hard to hit. (We even played the game one time when I worked as a substitute teacher on “Extended Day”. In fact, I recall we played it in a garden apartment complex near Princeton, NJ in 1970, and I pitched a “road” 3-2 win.)  A little kid strikes out.  He whines.  He screams that he deserves another turn. Some bedlam ensues.  It often does at kids’ contests.  The kid is not Harry’s son.  But Harry slaps him.
  
Everybody gets sent home, but it looks like legal consequences are coming, judging from the previews. 

Alex Abad-Santos has some details on the origins of the show (Australia) here on Vox. 
  
  
The official site is here

This one might hold the audience.


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