The Slap is an American television show, which is actually a remake of the Australian version. Both are based on a book, but there are major differences between both. Obviously, the cast is completely changed, besides Melissa George, who plays Rosie, in both. The series follows the events, which occur, after Harry slaps an unruly kid, at his brother Hector’s 40th birthday party.
Some of the family members and friends take the side of Harry, but most do not. Of course, many revelations and startling events occur in correlation with the slap. Relationships are destroyed, friendships are tested and some wind up facing potential jail time. As someone, who has watched both versions, I can tell you that you’re better off watching the Australian original.
The American version of The Slap feels like a downgrade in all ways possible. For starters, the cast lacks any real charisma. I loved Peter Sarsgaard in The Killing, as Ray Seward, but when compared to the same performance, by Jonathan LaPaglia, Peter feels unnatural, out of place and simply dull. There is no passion in the performance, where as LaPaglia delivered a powerful performance packed full of passion and emotions. Sadly, Sarsgaard falls flat and his performance is simply awkward.
In order for the first few episode to be successful, Harry needs to be a strong presence, who is revered and domineering. With Alex Dimitriades, we receive a creep, who actually feels like someone you would despise. Dimitriades provides a Harry, who is arrogant, rude and hateful. This isn’t the case, with Zachary Quinto, who plays the Harry equivalent in the American remake. In fact, Quinto falls flat throughout the series and delivers a performance, which is reminiscence of a high school boy throwing a temper tantrum. Again, the Australian actor is heads above their American counterpart.
Uma Thurman, Brian Cox, Thandie Newton and Thomas Sadoski also fall short in their respective roles. There are two glaring errors, which make the show even less realistic, the overall size of the American Hugo, Dylan Schombing. Although he’s had some excellent roles, at his young age, he is definitely miss casted here. He is too old for the role and it puts a damper on Melissa George’s performance, which was captivating in the AUS version.
On the other hand, it seems the American producers decided to cast a Connie, in Makenzie Leigh, who is simply too old. In the AUS version, she felt young enough to still be in high school. In the remake, she looks old enough to be at a university. Of course, Lucas Hedges does a pretty good job as Richie, but Blake Davis is still better as the original.
Of course, the biggest problem of the show is the politically correct approach taken by the American producers. The Slap in Australia was raw, rude and sometimes insulting, but this is what made it great. There were plenty of moments that made you mad and shocked you. With the political correctness of the American remake, all of this has been tossed out of the window. Sadly, American viewers will never have the opportunity to hear Lex Marino, as Manolis, curse God for his depressing life.
Overall, NBC should have simply aired the Australian version. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was leagues above the dull, safe version that is currently airing on American networks. The cast lacks charisma and the story has been severely downgraded, in order to protect the feelings of American viewers. Due to these problems, The Slap cannot receive more than a 5.5 out of 10.