"What's next?!" Is no longer something that will come out of my mouth when it comes to television programming.
Early last week I saw Uma Thurman interviewed on the Today Show regarding an 8-episode mini-series on NBC she was going to be starring in called The Slap. The premise of the story: during a friendly backyard BBQ celebrating his cousin's 40th birthday, Zachary Quinto (Harry) slaps a child (not his own) in anger. All hell breaks loose...blah, blah, blah..I decided it looked like an interesting story line so I set it up on the DVR to give it a whirl. (I guess I was curious to see how dysfunctional the show would get...).
I had no idea what I was in for.
Not only does this show address what happens when an adult hits a child who is not his own (doesn't matter if it's your child or someone else's, in my opinion it's always wrong), there are several additional aspects to this series that would put The Jerry Springer Show (which is not real life either, by the way) to shame.
Here are just a few ways in which this show displays the essence of what is wrong with families today:
- In the opening show Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) finds out he isn't the chosen candidate for a position at work, it's a Friday and he decides to keep his wife in the dark about it because she's planned a 40th birthday party for him that night and he doesn't want her to feel bad. Same character flirts relentlessly with their high school babysitter, even DURING the lovely party his wife (a full-time physician) works so hard to give to him. Did I mention they have two children who are old enough to see and understand their dad's actions?
- One of the couples who attends the party has a son (guessing about 5 years old) whose behavior is obnoxious to say the least. Every time he gets out of control his mom pulls her boob out and nurses him. No words here. (Although I think I threw up in my mouth a little the first time I saw it happen). Just a guess this is not the actress's son in the real world...and that he is indeed a 5-year-old, not just playing one on t.v.
- Enter the rich cousin (complete ass-full of himself) and his wife and son. You can tell almost immediately this guy needs anger management training. He is the "slapper". He does so because the obnoxious kid was about to hit his own son with a baseball bat during a friendly backyard game of baseball among the kids in attendance at the party. All of the adults at the party (except the birthday boy and the teen babysitter) are on the deck watching the game. Only Harry has the balls to head down to the yard to be sure no child is harmed when the bat is flying around. During this time, Mr. 40th is under the deck contemplating kissing the babysitter when the slap happens. He is later relieved the event occurred when it did because you can't take back stupid, right?!
- Harry slaps the obnoxious child, everyone gets (understandably) into a tizzy. Obnoxious boy's parents freak out and basically the party is over. Last night, during episode two, Harry is served papers by the cops from the "slappez" parents. Hector (a/k/a Mr. 40) tells his cousin to cut his loses and go over and apologize to this couple so he doesn't have to face a court hearing that he just might lose. Harry, detesting the idea, but smart enough to understand his cousin might be right, decides to give it an honest try. He is invited into the couple's kitchen (where she has her boob out again nursing the 5-year-old), only to be goaded into another angry explosion, thus getting himself arrested by the end of episode two.
- Did I mention Harry is married to a lovely woman whom he physically and emotionally abuses (which his son witnesses)...AND that he is screwing one of his sales people at work as well?
Honestly, I could go on and on about how degenerative this story line is. I guess I will never cease to be amazed at the kind of shit that makes it into our homes.
When will we begin to hold ourselves to a higher standard??!!