A single Silly Sunday post is always pushing it a bit in terms of reader interest, a second one is really unlikely to find an audience. But still, Shreyans Goenka and I came up with a really great limited series idea for Amazon Prime, and I feel the need to share it.
Okay, you read for a High Concept story? Based on “Poo” from K3G?
I think we can all agree that the Poo we see in K3G is the least interesting version of her. I want to see how she went from a scared little girl from India to the Campus Queen. Or, alternatively, I want to see how her amazing self-confidence translates into a successful adulthood. And I think the best way to do this would be a TV show in two eras.
We can start by not really revealing the connection. In the first episode, a young Anglo-Indian woman is starting her first job at a fashion magazine. Her long distance boyfriend is nagging her about working and staying in London, she reassures him that she will marry him and go back to India “soon”, she just wants to do this for now. Meanwhile, a 14 year old girl just arrived from India and living with her sister and brother-in-law is trying to make a place for herself in the London high school where she has just been enrolled. It seems like these two stories are unrelated, until the very end of the episode when the little girl tells her new friend from school (a skinny nerdy white boy and fellow outcast) that someday she will be like those cool beautiful women they see in coffee shops, and then we see our adult woman talking on the phone with her sister and looking at a photo of them together and we realise she is the little girl all grown up!
The first season deals with changes from both sides. In the past, she struggles to find a place in London and not bring her problems home, since her brother-in-law is trying to get his business going and is vaguely sad all the time and her sister is still grieving their father. She figures out that it is her fault her brother-in-law is sad, he married her sister and moved to London to give her a better life even though it separated him from his family because they disapproved of the marriage. She determines that she will always be happy and confident at home, make him see how much she appreciates the chances he gave her. She decides to solve her school problems herself, she allies with the skinny nerdy white boy whose family is rich but his parents are never home. They take on the mean girls and the nasty teachers and work together and succeed. At the end of the year, her sister tells her she is pregnant and says that their aunt in India has offered to take her in. Her sister and brother-in-law don’t want her to go, but if she would be happy back in her old neighborhood and her old school, they understand. She seriously considers it, but eventually tells them no, she wants to stay in London, this is her home now.
Meanwhile, in the present, she struggles with her job. The usual mean girl/cool girl charm is not working. In fact, her talent is usually dismissed because they see her as just a shallow pretty girl hired because her brother-in-law used his connections to get her the job. The only person she gets along with is the nice girl from accounting. And coincidentally the first day she is at work, she bumps into her old friend from high school, nerdy white boy all grown up and still nerdy but now a little bit cooler and running his father’s company. Over the course of the season, she ends up moving in with Nerdy White Boy when her living situation falls apart, and becoming close friends with the nice girl from accounting until finally, with the encouragement of both of them, she decides to break free and try starting up her own clothing boutique. Meanwhile, her boyfriend in India keeps pressuring her, doesn’t like her spending time with Nerdy White Boy, doesn’t understand why she is stressing about her job when she can just marry him, and generally doesn’t like her living on her own in the city “without family”. At the end of the season, intercut with her choosing to stay in London in the past, she chooses to stay in London in the present and breaks up with the Indian boyfriend once and for all, after telling him that she does have “family” in London, her friends are her family.
In season 2, in the past she struggles to consolidate her power as the Queen Bee of high school. And deals with a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth back home. Nerdy White Friend is there for her through all of it and people start teasing them about being a couple which she immediately rejects. In the season finale, she and Nerdy White Friend are going to go to Prom together and it might be the night that their relationship finally changes, but then there is a crisis with the baby and she chooses to stay home and help out instead of going to the dance. Nerdy White Friend stays with her, and their relationship stays just a friendship.
In the present, she tries to get her business of the ground along with her accounting friend/business partner. Meanwhile, Nerdy White Friend has a girlfriend, a nice appropriate woman with similar interests. Kareena tries to be supportive but feels weirdly jealous and doesn’t understand why. She is also increasingly missing her family. There is a special episode (intercut with the baby’s difficult birth in the past so we know he is fine in the present) when she goes to India and sees her family because she misses them so much and Nerdy White Friend surprised her by getting her plane tickets for her birthday. Seeing them and talking with her sister makes her realize that she might have feelings for Nerdy White Friend. She returns to London ready to confess her feelings only to find out that he and his girlfriend are talking about moving in together. It is all super dramatic and awkward for a couple more episodes, she starts packing up to move out of their shared apartment so he and the girlfriend can have it to themselves, and then finally as she is walking out the door forever, he says “STOP” and kisses her. End of Season.
In season 3, they have to figure out what the kiss means. Lots of drama and back and forth, he swears he will break up with the girlfriend but then chickens out when her grandmother dies, Kareena thinks this means he isn’t sure what he wants after all, they get together and break up over and over again, including a romantic Paris getaway. And as a nice happy story, her unglamorous business partner the accountant lady starts a relationship with a super handsome male model that at first she thought was gay, and then couldn’t believe he actually wanted her, but he finally convinces her that he really likes her and they start dating. By the end of season 3 in the present, Nerdy White Friend gives a big dramatic speech to Kareena about how he has been in love with her since he was 14 years old, she is definitely the one he wants. And they are together for real officially.
Meanwhile, in the past, they are entering their last year of high school. And there is a new boy in school, another desi, very handsome and very cool. Kareena falls in love with him at first sight and chases him and gets turned down and then just wants him more. Nerdy White Friend is heartbroken watching this play out. After lots of back and forth all season, Kareena and the boyfriend are finally together and in love. And that same day, Nerdy White Friend tells her that his parents are pulling him out of school and sending him to a special boarding school. Kareena chooses to spend one last day with him instead of with her new boyfriend, and then they say good-bye and Kareena goes back to the new boyfriend.
Season 4, we shake up the format. We open not in the present, but in the future. Unglamorous friend and her model boyfriend were engaged and planning their wedding at the end of the last season, we think that is what we are seeing, but no, it is Kareena’s wedding to Nerdy White Friend. And then we get some quick flashes of scenes filling in the gaps of their relationship. They were together, stayed living together but fought a little more about dumb things, then made up, she met his parents and ended up telling them off for being so neglectful all those years which just made him love her more and he proposed that night, they had months of fights about the wedding between their two families, and now finally the day is here. And after that first episode, we leap again to them coming back from their honeymoon and discovering his father’s business has gone bankrupt. Kareena comforts him and they move into a small cheap apartment, she reminds him that this is how her sister and brother-in-law started out their married life. Another leap, now Kareena is struggling to keep her store going since her business partner is on maternity leave just as her husband is trying to get his own business going, she begs for money from her family, they have a big fight when he finds out, but then make up after he decides he will just pay back the money once he has it. Another leap, they now are in India for her nephew’s wedding. It’s awkward because her ex-boyfriend is there, but also nice to see all her friends from the past. And they are stressed because they are dealing with infertility issues. And they also learn that Kareena’s distant cousin is living with her great great aunt and struggling. Kareena suggests taking her home with them, but then learns she is pregnant and she and her husband have to seriously consider if they want to take on a teenage girl along with a baby and his still struggling business. But eventually, after a bit of a bait and switch where we think it won’t happen, Kareena and her husband end up adopting the cousin. The show ends as it started, Kareena and her husband decide to adopt the little girl and take her to England, and reassure her that it may be scary now, but someday it will be home.
Meanwhile, the past is going to the far past. We start in India with Kareena a sweet little girl in a loving family, a doting father and an aunt who lives right next door and spoils her, a group of friends she runs around with playing in the streets, and an older sister who she constantly goes to for advice and support. Over the course of the season, her sister and brother-in-law fall in love, her father gets sicker and sicker, her father dies and she is left with her aunt while her sister and brother-in-law elope. And then word comes that they want her to come to England and be with them. She cries and protests that she wants to stay with her aunt and her friends in the place she knows, until her aunt talks wisely to her and tells her that home is where her family is, and her sister is in England now, that will be her home. The ending image is a split screen, Young Kareena being welcomed and embraced by her sister and brother-in-law at the airport, along with Old Kareena and her husband arriving at Heathrow with the young cousin to be greeted by all their friends and family who are here to make the girl feel welcome.
Isn’t that nice? And life affirming and happy? Prime already has a partnership with Dharma, they should just go ahead and greenlight this concept.