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Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ The Slap (2011/2015)
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'Based on the best-selling 2008 novel by Christos Tsiolkas, the eight-part Australian television mini-series, The Slap (Matchbox Pictures, 2011), generated widespread local interest when it premiered nationally on ABC1 television. An ensemble drama, The Slap follows the repercussions of a fateful moment at a suburban barbecue in multicultural Melbourne when an angry adult slaps a misbehaving child that is not his own (but who, arguably, may have deserved the slap). Promoted with the tagline ‘whose side are you on?’ each of the eight episodes of the series advances the story from the viewpoint of a different character, in the process allowing barely concealed tensions of class, gender and ethnicity to rise to the surface. Upon the release of the series, Tsiolkas noted the specificity of the drama, stating that its approach to multiculturalism ‘reflected the Australia that we do live in’, but the unique programme format attracted international interest, NBC/Universal announcing that it was set to remake the series in the US with Matchbox Pictures' show runner, Tony Ayres, as a co-executive producer. This essay engages critical frameworks of adaptation and translation studies to interrogate various formats of The Slap. It considers not only the cross-cultural remaking of the Australian mini-series for US television, but also the adaptation of Tsiolkas' high profile novel to ‘quality TV’ – in ABC's description, ‘a bold, provocative television drama series that forensically examines the mores and morality of contemporary middleclass life’ (The Slap, Official ABC website). This analysis consists not only of an interrogation of the industrial situations and narrative strategies of the mini-series, but also – and given that Tsiolkas' novel was heralded locally and internationally as a comment upon contemporary (post-conservative government) Australia – an understanding of its reception contexts.' (Publication abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies Transnational Television Remakes vol. 29 no. 5 2015 10904638 2015 periodical issue

    'This special issue of Continuum seeks to provide a cross-cultural investigation of the current phenomenon of transnational television remakes. Assembling an international team of scholars (from Australia, Germany, Israel, the UK and the USA), this edition draws upon ideas from transnational media and cultural studies to offer an understanding of global cultural borrowings and format translation that extends beyond those approaches that seek to reduce the phenomenon of television remakes simply to one of economic pragmatism. While recognizing the commercial logic of television formats that animates and provides background to these remakes, the collection develops a framework of ‘critical transculturalism’ to describe the traffic in transnational television remakes not as a unitary one-way process of cultural homogenization but rather as an interstitial process through which cultures borrow from and interact with one another. More specifically, the essays attend to recent debates around the transnational flows of local and global media cultures to focus on questions in the televisual realm, where issues of serialization and distribution are prevalent. What happens when a series is remade from one national television system to another? How is cultural translation handled across series and seasons of differing length and scope? What are the narrative and dramaturgical proximities and differences between local and other versions? How does the ready availability of original, foreign series (on services such as Netflix Instant and Sky Arts) shape an audience's reception of a local remake? How does the rhetoric of ‘Quality TV’ impact on how these remakes are understood and valued? In answering these and other questions, this volume at once acknowledges the historical antecedents to transnational trade in broadcast culture – for example, the case of Till Death Us Do Part (UK 1962–1974), All in the Family (USA 1972–1977), and Ein Herz und eine Seele (DE 1973–1976) – but also recognizes the global explosion in, and cultural significance of, transnational television remakes since the beginning of the twenty-first century.' (Editorial introduction)

    pg. 769-780
Last amended 23 Mar 2017 11:00:54
769-780 ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ The Slap (2011/2015)small AustLit logo Continuum : Journal of Media & Cultural Studies