Timeslot a slap in the face for Aussie drama that packs a punch
FOR a minute there I thought I was going to have to write about The One this week. (‘‘It’s more like I know something’s going to happen, I just don’t know what exactly,’’ says Valerie ‘‘ The Psychic Grandma’’ Bradshaw.) But— tremendous relief— the ABC’s pulled something out of I have no idea where and here’s The Slap.
It’s just in the nick of time. I’ve been reassessing my rela- tionship with the ABC — or ABC1 anyway — wondering just what it is I get out of it. It’s not entirely their fault, they’re on a low income these days.
But they’re not hippies, they’re not great at producing anything cheap and usable. So I don’t know if they’ve been saving up their money, or maybe Screen Australia only says yes to two shows a year.
And about that other show. Crownies. This is where things go bad. Crownies is pretty good. Or it’s certainly not bad. I can’t commit to the 22 billable hours or however many there are in it — too many, really — but there is no plausible reason why it has to be moved from its timeslot. Other than the established fact that Thursday night is one of television’s killing fields. But Crownies is being moved to make way for one of the best dramas the ABC has had in years— The Slap.
Ask yourself why The Slap isn’t on a Sunday night. It’s not like there are more impressive, urgent programs the ABC has to show us. Anyway, all we can do is watch The Slap and be glad it got made at all.
I’m up to the fourth episode, and I’m loving it. I think so far I’ve liked the first episode the best, where the actual slap takes place. The sense of something looming is right there from the start. It’s Hector’s birthday party, he’s going to be 40 and he’s into everything — from the cigarettes he’s trying to give up but fished out of the bin in the kitchen, to the bag of drugs one of the guests has brought along, to his kids’ teenage babysitter — and the whole day feels as if it’s spiralling some place dangerous.
This is adult television, and there’s so little of that around.
I love seeing a lot of accomplished actors all at the same time as well. Usually it’s about one propping up a lot of struggling satellites.
I don’t like Thursday night, though. It’s stupid. It’s also one of the smallest audience nights of the week.
Can’t have it all, I guess. The Slap premieres on ABC1, Thursday, 8.30pm