Tweetable Takeaway: If you’re looking for controversy – or even a decent plot – this week, “The Slap” misses the mark by a mile.
Thursdays at 8pm on NBC
By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
If you started watching THE SLAP to get your fix of surprise or controversy or even plain old entertainment…you’re out of luck this week. Not only is there no redeeming value to the series second episode, there’s no real story, either. For those of you who watched the premiere, what did you take away from it? Hector is a cheating creep? Check. Harry’s an asshole with anger issues? Yep. Gary and Rosie are coddling their bratty son to the point of no return? Right there, too. In the scheme of things, you could probably skip this episode entirely and still everything would make sense from here on out. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
What’s wrong with this country? This is the mindset of Zachary Quinto’s Harry who, this week, is at least as terrible as he was last week. Harry’s character hinges on the fact that he’s angry all the time and, of course, he’s rich. We get so much evidence of him being vicious that by the first commercial break, I’m ready to call it quits on his character. He is, however, also pragmatic. When the cops show up at Hector’s house to question him, Harry is convinced to try and make peace with Gary and Rosie.
The scene where Hector manages to convince Harry to make peace is physically painful. Hector wonders, “What if you do a Harry and your head explodes on the stand?” Of course, Harry replies, “the weak suing the strong for being strong?” The final straw? “You don’t have to mean it, just make them feel like you respect them.” There are really no words, so I’ll just move on.
First, though, he has to get pretty aggressive with his wife and he tells his son to be more of a go-getter on the basketball court. Take the shot, get the glory.
Hector takes Harry to Gary and Rosie’s for moral support and to help smooth things over. Unsurprisingly, Rosie’s not really in the mood for a chat, especially considering it’s feeding time. She’s breastfeeding her 5 year old child in front of Hector and Harry. No judgement…it’s just a bit surprising. Anyway, Harry manages to strangle out a pretty convincing apology before he gets angry and aggressive all over again, kicking a chair across the room in anger.
Here’s where it gets a little interesting, though. When the cops talked to Gary and Rosie, they mentioned that their case would be easier to prosecute if Harry had a history of violence and aggression. Now, I want to believe that this was Rosie’s plan all along – lure Harry to her house and poke the bear until the claws come out. But – because Victor Garber didn’t tell me that was the plan, I’m not sure it was intentional on her part.
Meanwhile, Harry’s son Rocco attacks a kid on his basketball team because he wasn’t feeling respected. Like father, like son. When Harry hears about this, he realizes that he’s setting a terrible example for his son and he tells him to think before he acts. Good advice for everyone on the show, actually. Of course, once they get home, Harry gets arrested, booked, arraigned, etc. And after making a small concession and developing ever so slightly, Harry reverts back to asshole once again. He’s now determined to bring the fight, to destroy Rosie and Gary. Sure, there will be collateral damage, but so what?
And as if telling us a bedtime lullaby, Victor Garber’s soothing voice tells us that Harry views himself as a Greek warrior and it’s his duty to protect those who are weaker than he is. That means his son, by the way, not children in general or those less fortunate. Just saying.
So it’s been two episodes and it’s already very clear – there is no good guy in this story. There’s not a single character who I like, sympathize with, or identify with. I mean, these people are awful! Even the “star” of the episode has a glimmer of decency but by the end, he’s justified in staying the way he’s always been. Here’s hoping some of them develop a conscience in the next few weeks. Next up: it’s Uma’s turn to carry an episode and, oops, she’s pregnant! And while she doesn’t condone slapping children, apparently she thinks it’s time for everyone to get over it. Stay tuned, if you can stomach it.
In Rikki’s perfect world, she’s Queen of Westeros, best friends with Mindy Kaling, and her other car is a TARDIS…a girl can dream, right?