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'The Slap' fan recap: Parents just don't understand

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Connie” | Aired Mar 12, 2015

A miniseries is a tricky format to get right. The Slap has just eight hours to tell its entire story, which is dense with complex familial relationships, lies, shifting loyalties, and above all, backstory. The format—each episode focuses on one character—has worked well for other shows, most notably the prison dramas Oz and Orange Is the New Black. But that’s because those shows present us with snippets, a scene here or there which, when all pieced together, give the audience not a perfect diagram of an entire life, but rather just enough to leave us hungry for more.

The Slap, in contrast, is an information dump. Each character’s motivations, quirks and actions can be traced perfectly back to their childhoods, which then need to be rehashed in excessive detail, along with every other significant event in their lives. This show is no “show” at all: It’s completely “tell.” And when the writers are worried they won’t have time to shoehorn in every last point, well, that’s when the narrator handily swoops in to deus ex machina any essential information that hasn’t already been directly stated.

“Connie” is the most obvious example of this tactic, but it’s been there all along. The episode begins with her sitting in class—she’s only in high school, remember?—and daydreaming about Hector. The bell rings, but before she and Richie (Lucas Hedges) can reach safety, they’re stopped by another student, who invites them to a party. Richie (her photographer friend) is amazed because, he tells us, he and Connie aren’t cool enough to get invited to parties. Parties are for cool kids, but he and Connie are the opposite of cool kids, because they are uncool. So why would anyone invite them, Connie and Richie (uncool kids) to this cool party?

At lunch, Richie explains his life’s philosophy to Connie: Some people are farmers, who work hard and lead a law-abiding life, and other people are pirates, who live outside the lines. They, of course, are watchers, because they are not cool enough to be invited to join either profession. (Also, some girl is twerking in the cafeteria, which is all the evidence you need to know just how far removed from youth culture every single one of this show’s writers is.)

Connie gets a text from Hector, and Richie admonishes her not to go down that path again. For all his clichéd teenaged opining, Richie is actually a likable fellow—at least when compared to Connie, whose main character trait seems to be whining. Richie reveals that he has photos of everything that happened at Hector’s party, including Hector and Connie together, and the slap itself. Connie tells him to delete everything.

Then she goes home, where her mother and stepfather are having a big argument they obviously don’t want her to hear. She yells at her stepdad for not being biologically related to her, then storms into her room. The narrator tells us that when Connie was a kid, her mother whisked her away from her real father in the middle of the night, and she still doesn’t know why. Oh, and he’s dead now.

That night, Gary is having an art show, and Hector and Aisha commiserate about having to go support their friend. Then Aisha gets called back into the office. Hector fake-complains about still having to attend, but secretly he’s thrilled because he knows Connie will be there. Connie, by the way, shows up doing her best impression of a wealthy, aging Manhattan widow, complete with a big, black fur coat. She also does a weird, sort of husky thing with her voice whenever she’s talking to Hector, like she’s practicing her take on Marilyn Monroe. Though she is obviously eager to keep their sorta-affair going, Hector comes to his senses and puts his foot down: No more babysitting, no more seeing each other at all. Just in case any blind and deaf people watching at home didn’t catch on yet that Connie has major daddy issues, she spits back at Hector, “Now I know exactly how my mother felt about my father.”

Distraught, Connie heads over to the cool party she and Richie were invited to. She gets plastered and tries to kiss Richie, but he gently pushes her away—the implication seems to be that he’s gay, but we may have to wait until his episode (the series finale) to know for sure.

Recap: The Slap episode 5, Connie. Christopher Saunders/NBC.

The next morning, Connie’s stepdad wakes her up with a bottle of aspirin and a letter, which he says her mother doesn’t want her to have, but which he thinks she should read. The letter is from a guy named Malcolm, who was an old friend of her dad. Connie’s hangover suddenly vanishes, and she calls Richie to come pick her up: They’re going to meet Malcolm. In the car, they go over everything Connie knows about her father: He was a musician who did a bunch of drugs, was bisexual, and had a “wild spirit.”

They get to the address, and they’re greeted by Malcolm (Patrick Breen), who tells them he’s moving, and he’s got her dad’s entire life’s work sitting in his house. He wants Connie to have it. When she asks how Malcolm knew her father, he answers that they were very, very, good friends (wink wink). Connie’s not a toddler, so she gets his meaning. So, did her dad leave her mom for Malcolm? No, Malcolm sighs wistfully, her dad actually dumped him. He then proceeds to tell Connie her entire life story, about how her mom and dad met and fell in love and all the good times the three of them shared (up until her mother couldn’t handle the lifestyle anymore and left).

Connie is moved by this revelation, so when she gets back to the city, she goes to see Rosie. She finds her crying, because the judge ordered Hugo to undergo a psychological examination—and I am dying to know how that works out. Connie tells her that Richie still has his photos from the party … in particular, pictures of Harry slapping Hugo. This places Connie firmly on Team Rosie—which can only bode ill for Hector.

The Slap airs Thursdays at 10/9C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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