Episode 2! Another pleasant 15 minutes of life with a young couple figuring things out together. (index of all Little Things reviews here)
Episode 1 was Sunday, and the overall theme was “FOMO”. They feel like they should be doing cool stuff like all their friends, but instead just stumble through the day and don’t accomplish any of the plans they made. But end up deciding they are happy enough. The specific theme was social media and seeing everyone else’s life, but there was a bigger theme of being in that little island of young adulthood where you feel like you should be doing something more somehow with your life. And the point of the whole show is that this scary little island of young adulthood is less scary when you have someone with you.
Episode 2 expands that, brings them into their work life and additional stresses as they go through Monday. It starts with fighting over the shower, rushing through breakfast, then Mithila gets to work late, gets called out at the weekly meeting for being late, is questioned about an email, discovers she sent the email but included the wrong information, has to confess to her boss, and generally feels terrible.
Meanwhile Dhruv is at his office with his lab partner (also, by the way, academic post-grad office REALNESS! Two people, crowded dark room with stuff everywhere, and random things on whiteboards). They learn they were rejected for the Stockholm conference they submitted to as a safety back-up conference, and lose all hope for the other conferences they submitted to and start questioning the quality of all their work.
But it’s okay, because Dhruv and his lab partner decide to order lunch, and Dhruv has the same order delivered to Mithila at work to cheer her up. And she draws him a little comic and sends it to him to cheer him up. At the end of the day, they have a dance party in their apartment, and are happy.
So, surface meaning of the story, life is stressful and hard especially when you are just trying to get started in it all, and at the start of the day it looked like being in a relationship was a liability (Dhruv was stressed and missed breakfast, Mithila was late for work), but at the end of the day having someone there when you get home is what makes it all okay.
Couple of things I found interesting. First, and this pattern may not hold, but we’ve had two episodes now where Mithila seems to be in charge of food. It’s not like she is a great cook or anything, just the conversations keep being Mithila offering to cook something and Dhruv being excited about it, not Dhruv cooking, or Mithila not-offering. I hope the show digs into this a little more, that they are still vaguely following gender roles. There’s other hints in this episode too, Dhruv’s career is so much more satisfying and important to him than Mithila’s for instance. And Dhruv is a little dismissive of Mithila’s concerns over being late for work. Lots of juicy places for this to go, Dhruv having increasing thoughtless expectations of Mithila, Mithila feeling increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied.
Second, the title of this post! At the start of the episode, Dhruv nags Mithila about being slow in the morning and says something like “if I were your father…”. It’s a meaningless thoughtless thing in the moment, and Mithila points out what a weird thing it was to say since they are dating and he isn’t her father, and then they talk about how sexy “Daddy” is, and Dhruv later mentions that “Bhabhi” is another most searched porn term. And through out this episode, and the last one, they are calling each other “bro” and “yaar”.
The thing is, for a couple dating like they are, there isn’t really good term for each other. “Daddy” is the sexy term for a young woman with a dominating boyfriend. But they are equals. “Bhabhi” is if she is the more experienced older woman in the household. But she is no more experienced than he is. Married couples would say “Ji” or “Husband” and “Wife” in casual everyday. But they aren’t married. So they call each other “bro” and “yaar”, like male collegemates. Which is, weirdly, the closest reflection of their relationship. They tease each other, they fight, they have private jokes, they hang out doing nothing much, they don’t worry about gender roles so much.
But again, how long will that last?