Little Things Episode 2: “Dude” “Yaar” and “Daddy”

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.

Little Things season 2: Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal decode ...

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”.

Thing it’s easy to forget with this song, Madhuri is pretending to be her big sister, meaning all the sexy flirting here is imagined between a pregnant “bhabhi” and her husband’s younger brother.

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?

9 thoughts on “Little Things Episode 2: “Dude” “Yaar” and “Daddy”

  1. I’m not sure that Mithila being in charge of the food holds up but I don’t remember it that well. I do remember that Dhruv is a lot more into trying different food and just eating out in general. That’s like an important part of his personality.

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    • Yeah, I just finished episode 3, and that comes up again. Food seems to be another way that Dhruv is just a little more focused and goal oriented? Mithila is more likely to be happy with noodles made at home, while Dhruv wants to experiment and try the best new thing.

      What I like is, with food and other stuff, they are both clearly not status focused. They aren’t talking about “the hottest restaurant”, they are talking about some obscure new interesting thing. Just like they aren’t staying home to watch classic films, but just the cartoons they like. This isn’t a couple that cares about appearances, you know? Part of why it is fun hanging out with them.

      On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 1:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. It’s a really nice apartment! Is this like Friends or is that a realistic apartment for an unmarried couple that age?

    Agreed the push-pull of control is interesting, and the mix of modern and traditional. Did you catch when he texted his mom good morning as he was puttering around in the morning watering the plants? He did offer to make dinner at the end, too, and she offered to help, then said no, he could do all the work and she would sit back and distract him. I feel like it’s not that he never cooks, it’s just that he gets extra credit for cooking, while she can make a huge breakfast spread before he gets up and still get called lazy.

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    • I was wondering about that too! I think they live out in the suburbs, and it looks like they are right by a couple of universities. So maybe it is university housing related to his job? Which adds another touch to their power dynamic, that he is the one providing the apartment to them.

      I missed him texting his Mom, and I think you got it exactly with him cooking. And with him doing anything for their relationship. They both do stuff, but he gets a little more credit than she does when it happens. I’ve finished the first series now, and the final episode has them having a conversation that addresses these things, which is fascinating. So we are supposed to be noticing this stuff all along, and then in the final episode they say “see? This is what was happening, this is the problem”.

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  3. I missed this episode on my first watch, because it took me a long time to decide to watch the series after the first episode, and I just accidentally skipped it in the episode list. So I got to watch it the first time, and it is so charming! This might be my favorite of the two seasons I’ve watched. It really makes them feel like a real couple, but an aspirational real couple.

    Mithila’s and Dhruv’s changing employment and how it changes their dynamic really makes for one the of the interesting arcs of the show.

    Got really distracted by the question of what French toast is in India and why they are eating it with ketchup? Maybe it doesn’t have sugar in it? (The toast, not the ketchup).

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    • EWWWW! French toast with ketchup? that’s disgusting! That’s now my biggest take away from this episode. BLECH!

      I finished the first series and the final episode is so interesting with how it leaves clues for where they may be going next, individually and as a couple. I just started the second season and am very curious what is going to unfold here.

      On Tue, Apr 7, 2020 at 3:25 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Okay, unpopular opinion. I almost comented after watching the first episode but I am glad I waited until this one, because Mithila redeemed herself to me. The first episode was fine, but it was all about Dhruv doing everything Mithila wanted and her being dismissive of everything he wanted. If she wanted something he had to do it; if he was dissapointed then he had to get over it. While, I wasn’t a huge fan of Mithila, I saw her charm, but just didn’t care for her much. This episode made me like her a little bit more.

    I also, agree with Niki that I did not think food was her department. He never expected her to cook in the first episode. In fact, he would have prefered to eat out. In the second episode, he made tea for them and did all the household chores including heating up the water heater and watering the plants. And he brought her biryani because he knew she would love it. I don’t see this as one sided at all. The second episode made me actually happy that it was just such a normal relationship with the issues every couple faces.

    What was interesting, to me and my husband, about the two episodes was how much my we could identify with both of them! We “fight” about what food to eat. I get annoyed that he wakes up late. He does most of the household chores but I cook because I like to. It was just all so relatable. Literally every single thing about the episodes was just so relatable!

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    • YAAAAAY! I am SO GLAD you are watching this show. And like I said, it builds. So the first episode is so-so, the next is better, and on and on. Also, the “I have had that exact same thing” moments build and build. Look forward to fights over stuff like “I don’t want to go to a party at your friends house why can’t you go and I stay home/yes you DO have to come with me, it’s not okay for you to just go home while I go alone” and “why do you have to set the alarm half an hour early and then I wake up and you don’t/I can’t wake up on the first ring why can’t you just go back to sleep and ignore it”.

      Also, I just finished the second season, and I ended up leaning way far towards Dhruv in the second season. So really I think this is my prejudice. Whichever partner is more distressed and emotionally open is the one I care about, even if the other one is doing work in the relationship in a different way.

      On Mon, Apr 13, 2020 at 6:33 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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