Four More Shots Please (Season 3) — A Review as Deranged as the Season
Yes yes, that same dumb show on Amazon Prime that we’ve all pretended to hate but dutifully watched all three seasons of. That one only. After watching it I was enraged for a full three days so I really need to put down my feelings before I explode.
Having publicly shared my opinion online many times in the last few years, we’ll start with a response to hate comments before we even begin. Firstly, should I even write this? I work in this industry and I’m basically risking pissing off a lot of influential people but hey maybe I’m not as important as I think I am. Secondly, I’ve only ever written one screenplay, that was 2 minutes long, for a workshop so who the fuck am I to give an opinion? But hey shows are made for viewers, right? Thirdly, there are bigger problems in the world so why am I even spending this much time and energy on some random show. Well, I’m literally in this business to hopefully be a part of and create work that ideally will be the opposite of this fucking show, so here goes.
Obviously this has spoilers so if you haven’t watched season three, don’t read this. Secondly, this is going to be very aggro/bitter/angry/judgemental, so if you want a nice level headed reasonable review you can exit now only thanks.
Okay now coming to the motley list of insane characters and their stories so far:
- Anjana — divorced her man child husband Varun and lives with her daughter. She’s a big shot lawyer who ran out of patience with her ex and fucked off as any financially independent reasonable person should. She then had a side scene with her colleague/boss who said he was in an open relationship but turned out he’s a lying cheater (surprise, surprise). Meanhwile Varun has gone off and married some boho cool chick named Kavya whom we know nothing about other than the fact that she’s chill af. Kavya and Varun have a baby together. Sigh.
- Umang — small town Punjabi queer girl who loved her childhood best friend who broke Umang’s heart by marrying Umang’s brother because she didn’t want to face the wrath of coming out. So Umang fucks off to move to Bombay and become a personal trainer. There she trains and then falls in love with famous actor Samara but then leaves her at the altar after having a very late realisation that she’s going to be second place to Samara’s career. Yabba.
- Siddhi — rich 25 year old who’s never worked a day in her life. Daddy’s princess with wicked witch mom who fat shames her and pressures her to get married. She’s the token fat friend whose entire identity revolves around her weight and lack of love. She also takes up a career in comedy, because token fat friend is always the funny one, FML. At some point she reunites with her childhood friend Mihir who proposes to her but she dumps him and I honestly can’t remember why and don’t care enough to go back and check. Also tbh it’s not relevant given the rest of this shit storm.
- Damini — fancy journalist writer girl with impeccable English and intellectual parents who falls in love with a bartender bro Jeh while having a side scene with her super hot, much older gynaecologist. She gets pregs with Dr. Gyno’s baby but ends up having a miscarriage. Then she gets back together with Jeh who apparently also OWNS the bar. (I’m sorry but from what I understand, people who have enough money to own bars are rarely mixing drinks at said bar themselves, but okay maybe he’s really passionate about it.) Also everyone in this show uses her full name way too often. Why do I even know that’s it’s Damini Rizvi Roy? She also talks about herself in third person a little too much I feel.
Now let’s start with the critique of this premise only. Firstly. Sigh. FIRSTLY AND FOREMOSTLY (yes I know that’s not a word) Sex and the City spin off much? But in Mumbai so could be fun? Idk, moving on. Nextly (yes I know this is not a real word either)— they all apparently become BEST friends after meeting at Jeh’s bar. WTF? Adult friendships are so insanely difficult and usually the ones we hold on to are from school, college, or work (where we see each other every fucking day for years on end). How the flying peanut butter fuck did these four women from SUCH different backgrounds, doing SUCH different things, at SUCH different phases in their lives, become besties after getting drunk together one time? It makes zero sense, they have NOTHING in common except drinking at Jeh’s bar, but #diversity I guess?
Also how is it that none of them seem to have any other friends from work, college, school, life, neighbourhood? They only have each other and love/sex interests apparently. Okay fine, it’s an ensemble cast, how many characters can you possibly squeeze into one show, fine, forgiven.
Moving on, let’s recap what happens in season 3.
- Anjana + Varun = Kavya finds out that Varun and Anjana made out one time because Anjana’s daughter spills the beans (LOLz too good). Kavya kicks out Varun and he promptly moves back in with Anjana. Varun you’re a grown ass man, do you seriously have nowhere else to go??? Paapa this Anjana falls back into a nostalgic rut with Varun and is so happy that their kid is happy. Until Kavya changes her mind and Varun just frolics back into her arms. WHAT ARE YOU DOING VARUNNN???? But at least he’s a self aware dumbass so we’ll give him that much.
- Anjana + Her lying cheating colleague = Things are hella awks, his wife divorces him, as she should, and their work is getting affected. So this Anjana sweetly makes amends and then this lying cheater takes her kindness for interest and hits on her AGAIN. Why are men so DUMB?? But at least after she says no he apologises and fucks off. The bar is so fucking low, I cannot.
- Umang + Meher = Umang is in her rebound phase and Meher is her first victim. Shit happens. Umang ends things proactively. Meher is sad. Standard story. Nothing much to say here.
- Umang + Sean = Umang then hooks up with her former-addict-turned-yogi-teetotaler employee Sean who is kind and reasonable and non judgemental. Again, shit happens. Umang is fairly self aware and apologises sincerely. Nothing major going on here. Also why are all the men in this show so reasonable and kind?
- Umang + Samara = Samara, her ex, randomly returns but credit to Umang they actually talk/fight it out honestly before hooking up. Not the messiest situation tbh. Happens fairly often in real life.
- Siddhi + Randoms = Siddhi is grieving the loss of her dad and is in a really fuckall spiral. Understandable. She even ends up in a dangerous situation, which happens all too often, but she makes her way out of it and smashes his car’s windshield. Idk but realistically women who have been violated tend to GET THE FUCK OUT for fear of being murdered but okay she took the time to smash his windshield in, good for her? Then there’s one ex and one rando to showcase how pathetic the modern dating landscape is. Fairly realistic, so let’s move on.
- Siddhi + Mihir = for some COMPLETELY INEXPLICABLE REASON Mihir is still in love with Siddhi and refusing to give up on her. Excuse you Mihir but you live in New York! Dating capital of the WORLD with the second hottest US population after LA. Why are you so hung up on your childhood best friend who is being horrible to everyone in her life instead of, oh I don’t know, GOING TO THERAPY??? This timeline just does not make sense because we have literally no information about why he loves her so much, especially given that she’s dumped his ass publicly and there’s no explanation about why he comes back for her??? Also the actors just have ZERO chemistry on screen my god. It’s like watching estranged cousins. It’s all the more jarring because all the other romantic/sexual pairings somewhat make more sense and the actors have great chemistry.
- Siddhi + Her Mom = Her mom is getting hit on a LOT by all the creepy uncles and it seems like Siddhi is jealous? Bro you’re both grieving, your mom is not hitting on anyone. Paapa she finds one point of safety in the turblence that is her life and you rip them both to shreds for spending time together. Get a journal, Siddhi, please, you’re pissing everyone off.
- Damini motherfucking Rizvi motherfucking Roy + Jeh = Damini is the one true villain of this show. She’s so self critical and projects all her self judgement onto Jeh and then uses that as an excuse when she confesses to Jeh that she cheated on him with some politician she’s been working with. Fine man, things happen, but she gaslights the fuck out of Jeh’s every emotion and treats him like a pile of dog turds for literally no reason. That too after an entire season of Jeh being literally the most perfect human being and giving in to her every single fucking demand and forgiving her non stop lack-of-treating-him-like-a-human-being. I just cannot. There’s an extremely thin shred of empathy the audience can hold on to that she’s struggling after her miscarriage but her behaviour towards her perfect boyfriend is just disproportionately cruel. Ugh.
I need to take some deep breaths, brb.
Okay I’m back.
Some of the themes in this show that have pissed me off:
- Female friendships — while it’s great to have a show where women are friends in stead of competing with each other for the same man, this friendship makes very little sense. Firstly they all have nothing in common. Secondly it seems like they not only forgive each other’s sins but also gaslight themselves and each other into believing that the way they treat people is okay. Uh… there are a few moments where they call each other out but it’s just not enough given the state of affairs. If nothing else just sit and talk and hear each other out. Recommend therapy or journalling or anger management. Something other than egging each other on??? Also it’s such a fuck up that the men in this show support the women much more than the women support each other. UGH.
- Imperfection vs Cruelty — the perfect counter example of FMSP is the show Euphoria. It’s a show where every single character behaves horribly to every other character. But apart from the interactions we get a rich detailed view into their lives that tell us WHY they behave the way they do. The addict struggles with grief and mental illness. The ‘slut’ struggles with her sexually abusive past and bullying. The controlling ‘bitch’ has a broken family life. So you can see WHY they’re acting the way they are. In FMSP there is NOTHING. A few TINY SHREDS that try desperately to justify cruelty. 2 seconds of loneliness, 3 seconds of looking in the mirror, 1.5 seconds of family conflict. IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH. If imperfection lies at 5/10 on the scale of good and bad, these characters are at 9/10 and we just do not get enough information about why. There just isn’t enough time spent on building a sense of empathy for the protagonists. There’s just so much going on on the damn show that we can never really figure out WHY they’re acting this way. It’s explained in dialog here and there but you just don’t FEEL it. So the protagonists just become the villains. At least with antiheroes we get a sense of WHY they’re being terrible and it’s often for the greater good. But wtf is thisss???
- Modern urban women and sexuality — For decades Indian women have been classified as either the Perfect Parvati or the Vampy Veronica with nothing in between. In an attempt to create grey areas and showcase the imperfection of women, this show has fallen back into old tropes. Other than maybe Umang who genuinely seems to be struggling and is self aware, the others fall into the usual black and white. Either perfect or terrible. I suppose they intended to portray urban female modernity through sexual freedom but it’s just becoming a use and throw situation. Sure, that’s what male characters often do and so why not show the same thing with women instead?
- But Equality! —Honestly if you want create complex female characters then fully commit to it. Write layered, complicated, horrible stuff where women get to play psychopaths and murders and mafia bosses. This show just inadvertently correlates sexual openness and cruelty without giving us enough context to say that correlation does not mean causation. So the aam aadmi will fall back on age old misogyny to say sexual openness = bad women. UGH.
- The contrast with the male characters — Adding fuel to the sexist fire is the fact that all the male characters are seemingly wonderful people. They’re all self aware, silly, trying hard, caring, affectionate, struggling. (Except lying cheating lawyer and sexual assaulter, ofc.) This just furthers the narrative that men are perfect and women are horrible. We don’t need this and it’s just SO far removed from reality. It just makes zero sense. If they were trying to showcase that women can be as imperfect as the men, then the men should have been imperfect too. It would have been a Gossip Girl-esque drama fest which can be amazing. But no. They didn’t do that either.
- Portrayal of romance & romantic conflict — A simple example — if a character like Umang is falling head first into a rebound, or Damini is escaping her suffocating relationship, or Siddhi is spiralling, show the fucking conflict in the sex mannnnn. Use light, sound, music, something to show us that things are not as simple as they seem!! Instead every sex scene looks like it’s amazing and perfect and delicious and so it feels so jarring when characters suddenly dump each other or cheat. There’s just not enough of an indication of conflict DURING the sex which leads to a loss of the overall context.
Other things about this show that are annoying:
- Costumes and styling — so fucking overdressed and over-styled all the time. WHY? Like literally my skin itches seeing the fabrics and accessories while they’re in sweaty, humid Mumbai. Ick.
- Locations — ITALY? One baseless Emmy Nomination and you have the budget to go to ITALY? I guess it’s fools like us keeping their show in the top ten that gets them there.
- Acting and dialog delivery — Again, all the male actors are so much better than the female actors wtf why? Even Sayani Gupta (Damini) and Maanvi Gagroo (Siddhi) have disappointed, despite being genuinely good actors. Sadness.
- Siddhi’s “comedy” — JESUS effing Christ what in the 7th circle of hell???? She goes on stage and give gut wrenching details of sexual assault to pin drop silence and then gets roaring cheers when she’s done with her “comedy set”???? I CANNOT.
It’s just so sad that a premise with such potential ended up where it is now. Even if they had fully adapted Sex and the City they would have done better. Those women have friends outside the 4 of them. They fight with each other properly. They call each other out. They make up after giving things time. They put each other before their romantic interests. There is honestly in their relationships, variety in their lives, something worth watching. It wasn’t perfect by any means and some characters are genuinely annoying, but they’re meant to be. It was ahead of its time and FMSP could have been the same for an Indian audience. It honestly just makes me more sad than angry. Sigh.
Also to comment on this as an actor rather than a viewer — it’s always fun to play a character that’s so far removed from reality. You can use the character to portray the worst version of yourself and just do the things that we’ve all sometimes thought of doing. I can fully understand wanting to play these characters, it seems fun to just be this kind of unhinged. So I hope they all had a good time.
I also hope that the writers get a chance to watch Euphoria and possibly end this show with more layers, more empathy, and more grey areas. Sigh. Now to try and not completely ruin your day, let us end this with the few good things about this show… Jim Sarbh, Rajeev Siddharatha, Prateik Babber, Neil Bhoopalam… and that’s all I can think of. So…
Have a nice day and RIP my career.
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