Get ready, Greek Diaspora community for The SLAP. Yet the latest twist in the big television networks’ attempts to coopt ethnic Greek identity for sensational rise in viewer ratings. It’s name, get this, “The Slap.” Yup, not making it up, but after the controversy over “My Big Fat Greek Life,” NBC will try again with a mini series whose title has rung true and loud in many a Greek domestic dispute.
The story involves a birthday get together for Hector, a 55 year old patriarch. As is usual when Greek families come together, drama quickly unfolds. While the adults are b-b-queing souvlaki and brizoles the kids in the back yard get into a brawl. This kicks into gear the overprotective drive and ego of the father of one of the boys that was bullied that results, can you guess?, a slap. That’s when the other fathers join in to break up the fight and come to the aid of their own spoiled overprotected sons. Oh boy, and this, my friends, starts the plot trailer for the show. The rest of the mini-series will explore the question, “Whose side are you on?” Apparently, the show springs from a novel of the same name by a Greek American named Christos Tsiolkas. I have not read it, but I am willing to wager, that the book has to be better than the show.
If this is supposed to be an improvement over the MTV reality show caricaturizing Greek lives, I have to say “NBC come on! You gotta try a bit harder. Substituting actors to play jerks instead of real life jerks does not excuse your ignorance of ethnic America.” My suggestion: find an actual Greek American writer who can be true to the Hellenic experience and offer her to write the script. At least if the show gets something wrong, we can blame one of our ethnic insiders (Malaka malako den xereis tin patrida sou.”) The Slap I predict will get a slap and NBC will lose even more credibility . This is yet another attempt at the big networks to create new story lines by digging into new or undiscovered ethnic identities to drive viewership. But in the process of having outsiders write the script for an insider identity they butcher an entire culture by providing cheap unthoughtful and unthought out caricatures, trite plot lines, and stupid conflicts. Get ready for another media awareness writing campaign patriotes.