I’ve been thinking I need to do more streaming series reviews, so I sat down all ready to finally watch Family Man on Prime, deep and complex and clever and critically acclaimed, deserving of lengthy in depth reviews and discussion. And I just can’t do it. So instead, I went the total opposite direction and started Little Things on Netflix. Cozy, happy, uncomplicated, 15 minute episodes. Awwww. It’s like having a little piece of chocolate instead of a full meal. (index of all Little Things reviews here)
This started as a web series funded by Dice Media. Full disclosure, I kind of hate Dice Media. The articles about them are like a spoof of “new young hip company”. Their offices don’t have offices! Everything is open floorplan! People can work remotely! Everyone wears t-shirts and expensive haircuts that don’t look expensive! Their business plan doesn’t seem to include a way to MAKE MONEY!!!!
But the show is cute! Dhruv Sehgal, young actor/writer/whatever wrote and stars in it. Mithila Palkar, who was so good in Karwaan and I was so mad at how her character was underserved, plays the other lead. And the first episode is just about them.
As a web series, they can’t have a lot of sets, the ones they do have look like they could just be people’s homes, and they can’t really have a lot of actors either. But this show turns that into a bonus. It wants to show the coziness and intimacy of a young couple living together. They have an apartment that feels like it just grew around them, not like it is some fancy “set”. They go out in the world, but it’s like everyone else is invisible, just the two of them talking in their little bubble. The show itself is a “little thing” and it’s about the “little things” that make up a shared life.
The first episode is simply showing a Sunday in the life of this couple. They stay up late the night before just because Mithila is trying on outfits in the bedroom trying to decide what to wear to an upcoming wedding. They oversleep and miss out on their planed drive and then breakfast on Sunday. Mithila makes a big breakfast at home instead, then talks Dhruv into watching Inside/Out again and they both cry a little. They go out and try to play arcade games at a mall but Dhruv is turned away because his t-shirt is inappropriate, Dhruv wants to go home and watch a soccer match, Mithila convinces him to come to the hair dresser with her while she gets treatment for her curls, he watches the match on his phone. They think about going out for dinner and decide to go home instead. Are going to make dinner, then order pizza instead and finish Inside/Out.
That’s it, that’s the whole episode. It’s kind of perfect. This is a couple that likes each other and knows each other well, but they aren’t dramatically “In Love” every second of every day. And their days aren’t perfect high drama and magic, they are oversleeping and figuring out meals and all of that stuff.
And yet, it’s still different. The thing with a couple that is living together is that they aren’t married. “Marriage” is just a label for a couple that has made a public announcement to the world that they are together. Every society reacts differently to that announcement. In India, it is extra extra meaningful. Marriage means adulthood, children, taking on responsibility within your larger family, all kinds of things. The live in relationship means you get the couple part of marriage, the boring non-romantic every day life stuff, but avoid the external parts. There is no pressure about in-laws, or getting a house, or a better job, or having kids. It’s just the two of you, together, figuring out life, in a very low stakes limbo.
Thus, this show! The little things of life. They already met and fell in love years back, they will get married someday in the future, but right now it’s just the little things.