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Four More Shots Please promised to bring us more ‘real women’ on screen, but does it deliver on that promise, or is it just a superficial rendition of the ‘modern woman’?
I was excited when I caught the trailer of the Amazon Prime Original series, Four More Shots Please. It seemed like there was an addition to the growing portrayal of the modern and ‘real’ women in cinema. However, after accommodating the first two episodes, I continued to watch the first season with a growing sense of disappointment and feeble interest.
The four main characters, all female, successfully reinforce the stereotypes held in society about women. The general personas are thickly bracketed, giving shape to characters so evenly painted in shades of black and white, leaving the show to be a rendition of cliches and memes.
They give us the workaholic with neurosis and commitment issues, the female lawyer who is a divorced with a child and has fulfilment issues, the rich, plump girl under her mother’s thumb with self-esteem issues and wrap it up with the bisexual who sports tattoos, piercings and, in my view, has style issues.
If some of these features and traits had been shuffled between the characters, the writers would have managed to add some depth to their story, because right now, it comes across as plain and obtuse like the instructions of a product on a cardboard box. Albeit a pretty cardboard box, because, well, they do look hot.
If I compare this show to Parched, which left me breathless with its honest, poignant and courageous depiction of women, it feels like I’m likening lukewarm tea with a used tea-bag to the potency of a strongly-brewed hot mug of swirling chai with wafts of cardamom and ginger in the air.
Parched made love to the image of women and delved into the crevices of their sexuality, vulnerabilities, flaws and perpetual wrestling with subjugation. Four More Shots…is a quickie with a Tinder date; limited, superficial and a vague recollection in the future. And its biggest mistake is the ignorance of the wide spectrum of grey adorned by women. I may be unfair in this comparison, but as a representative of the group the lead characters target, I am allowed to expect something above commonplace impressions.
In an age where feminism is still construed as anti-male, women in large organizations attempt to raise their head beyond the glass ceiling, sexual harassment is swallowed as a dose of reality and careers linger at the opposite end of family, we do not need stereotypes aiding the misnomer of ‘modern woman’.
I want to see women who are my friends on TV; the girl with the tattoo who is single and craves for a child, the chubby VP in an MNC who is dropped to work by her husband, the cynic who flits from one man to another and has a beautiful relationship with her parents and the thousand other combinations that can successfully exemplify women today.
We need the portrayal of ‘real women’, who are not defined by their looks or traits but choices. The real women who don’t follow the categorisations of society easily and step over boundaries. Women who are reserved and horny, wear Indian attire and can drink a man under the table, clean their house on the weekend and school a boardroom during the weekday, are single and happy, are married and sad. We need more real women in cinema to help us absolve ourselves from the fairy tales we grow up with and come to realize the fairy tales we write for ourselves.
I want to see real women on TV, like the ones around me, who are unique, different and yet the same, but always fail to fit stereotypes.
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Meenakshi Iyer is known to put the "fun" in dysfunction.
Writer, poet, avid reader she
Beautifully written, Meenakshi. I’d just watched one episode and I felt the same way that you did. Your comparison between Parched and Four More Shots is spot on. 🙂
Thank you Kasturi!
Well written article. However I did binge watch this show and did love some parts of it. The hotness factor of the women and men was a fun welcome change from usual Indian tv soaps. I did relate to the mommy’s guilt part when taking care of her 3 yr old. Of course women who are not divorced also have guilt issues. I would have loved to see more of how hard it is for married women too to get past that phase and move on in life. Maybe season 2 can introduce some new women and make it more interesting. There was a lot of surface level that weren’t as fun to watch about. I enjoyed the interactions at the end of the day at the bar. I thought the tattoo girl’s acting was brilliant and funny with the way she switched smoothly between Punjabi and English.
Thanks Sushmita. I watched the Season in bits and pieces too, in part for the fashion and in part for the men 😉
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