*Is it ever okay to discipline another person’s misbehaving child by smacking him across the grill?
NBC’s new drama “The Slap,” adapted from the original Australian series, is sure to divide viewers when it premieres this month, despite the child being so intolerably bad that even you – no matter where you stand on corporal punishment – may want to reach through the television and tear his lil’ a** up.
The slap comes during a family get together, where the adults and kids have had to endure little Hugo’s bad behavior for hours while his parents did nothing, or very little, to stop it.
As depicted in the trailer (see below), Zachary Quinto’s character Harry seems to act on impulse, only after the boy swings a bat at his son, and then kicks Harry in the leg. But is it the boy’s behavior, alone, that causes Harry to lose control, or is it fueled by the personal baggage that he brings to the party?
Of course, the slap is just the tip of the iceberg. The multitude of characters at the party – Harry’s cousin Hector and his wife Aisha (Peter Sarsgaard and Thandie Newton), Aisha’s BFF Anouk (Uma Thurman), Hugo’s new-agey parents (Melissa George and Thomas Sadoski), Hector’s babysitter and sidepiece Connie (Makenzie Leigh), and even Hector’s proud Greek parents (Brian Cox and Maria Tucci) – all have baggage that the slap will expose during its eight-episode run.
“All of these characters come to the table with a tremendous amount of internal conflict and struggle about different aspects of their lives and relationships,” Quinto explained during the recent TCA Press Tour. “The slap is just this codifying incident that puts all of that into clear relief.”
“It was very difficult for me personally, obviously, so I understand how anybody could be motivated to this until I really got into the idea of what Harry believes he’s defending, the people that he loves, protection, honor, teaching his son what it means to be a man even if that’s a really misguided concept,” Quinto said.
Newton, meanwhile, has become accustomed to the creative freedom of non-network television, as the star of DirecTV’s original series “Rogue” and co-star of HBO’s upcoming sci-fi drama “Westworld.”
Below, she talks about having to film this project for a network: (Sarsgaard chimes in at the end.)
“The Slap” premieres Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Watch a “First Look: video and the official trailer below: