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The Slap

The Slap is a critically acclaimed novel written by Christos Tsiolkas in 2008, which was adapted by The ABC into a television mini-series in 2011.

The story, set in the suburbs of Melbourne, follows the lives of a group of people after they witness a man slapping someone else's child at a party. The single act is so divisive, that a family and life-long friends are torn apart by interwoven loyalties, and the result is not pretty.

The book has won or been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Man Booker Prize 2010, and Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009 (in the latter case it won Best Book).

Not to be confused with a tie-in website to the Nickelodeon teen-comedy Victorious.

Tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Gary.
  • Bumbling Dad: Played for drama. Hector is a vice-riddled man who has no idea how to manage his own children, leaving it to his wife as much as possible.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Hector in the first episode of the series has a little time to himself... and is then interrupted when his mother arrives.
  • Deadbeat Dad: Richie's dad was this when he was growing up
  • Domestic Abuse: The child who is slapped - the reader/viewer is left to consider; was the slap abusive, was the child's Hands-Off Parenting upbringing abusive, or both? Other, less controversial examples are also present.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Played With: The series asks what would happen if someone else physically assaulted your child.
  • Family Disunion: Pretty much a staple of the show.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: averted with Anouk
    • Melissa George (formerly of Alias) is Rosie.
    • Alex Dimitriades aka Nick from The Heartbreak Kid/Heartbreak High is Harry
  • Hot-Blooded: Harry.
  • Inciting Incident: Harry slapping Hugo. A lot of the other issues that come up have presumably been bubbling away for ages, but it's the tension and family disharmony caused by the slap that make them blow up.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Harry may be a bastard, but considering that Hugo was about to hit a kid with a cricket bat, he's pretty justified in wanting to do something about it. Slapping him might not have been the best idea, though, and especially not when the bat had already been taken away (as it harms his defence in court).
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Hector's mother seems extremely keen to belittle Aisha by indirect means. This seems somewhat centred around the fact that Aisha is not Greek. One example is the mother hijacking the couple's already-planned holiday by making the holiday in Greece with 'family' instead, seems imbued with the implication that if only Aisha was Greek such issues would not be a problem.
  • Mama Bear: Rosie
  • Moral Dilemma: The drama of these is basically the point of the show.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Anouk's relationship with Rhys.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Connie. Not the worst example ever but she still has her cross to bear
  • Papa Wolf: Harry could be seen as this
  • Pet the Dog: Harrys affectionate scene with his son
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Harry definitely has aspects of this though The Slap isn't a show where any character is set up as a hero or villain
  • Race Lift: in the book Aisha is Indian-Australian, in the miniseries she is Mauritian-Australian. The seductive bloke who was Asian-Australian in the book becomes a Latino-Australian.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The events in the book are explored through the perspective of several different characters.
  • Serious Business: A child is slapped once. It tears a family apart. How reasonable any of this is is left to the reader/viewer.
  • Spoiled Brat: The kid who gets slapped. So, so much. At one point, he actually spits at an old man who has done absolutely nothing to him, and his mother's response is to assume said old man startled her child. Depressingly, this is in the last chapter/episode, leaving the reader/viewer with the realisation that she has learned nothing from the experience.
  • Time Skip: Episode 5 of the miniseries is set about two months after the previous one.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rosie gives one to Harry and receives one from Bilal
  • Your Cheating Heart: Several characters including Hector, Aisha and Harry.

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