Amazon prime show Four More Shots Please! is trying too hard. It aimed to present itself as an Indian version of Sex and the City or the series form of Veere di Wedding, but it falls flat in this regard. The show stars four different modern females in the lead roles, though the characters are not very easily identifiable and are also rife with stereotypes.The show’s protagonists are women who met in a bar and bonded over their love for shots. In the beginning, you would think that this show would be a vehicle of social change on how women are represented in media. However what we end up with is a narrative without a central theme and weak character development.
Now, the characters in the show are unapologetically flawed who are trying to make their way in the world. This is good as it is always nice to watch strong women taking the center-stage and owning up to their flaws and desires but this shouldn’t come at the cost of the fluidity of the narrative. A good show has a strong narrative along with strong characters and this show focused so much on the characters that the theme of the show just got lost. The theme of the show keeps changing. It shifts from friendship to relationship to independence etc. There is absolutely no consistency and the lack of this just brings down the entire quality of the show. Due to a limited central theme, the badass nature and unapologetic selves of the characters look forced.
The first character the show opens with is Damini. She is a highly driven journalist struggling to save her startup as well as the world from gossip news. Her ideas are noble but she is mean in her approach. There is an instance where she is seen yelling and calling two girls names for reading a piece of gossip. No person would just go to a random person and start screaming at them for what they reading. This act is further not necessary of her as the gossip news the girls are reading is from her website in which she is editor-in-chief and thus nothing would be published without her permission. So she has no right to scream at them as they reading her approved news.
Next, there is Umang, a bisexual fitness trainer who ran away from her family in Ludhiana and is enjoying her sexuality. It is so stereotypical that the girl who is bisexual is shown constantly sleeping around. This portrayal is not true as not all bisexuals are overtly sexual. Furthermore, the creators missed the opportunity to explore issues and conflicts of being bisexual and the struggles faced by the LGBTQ community which could have been a great way to bring awareness of their issues.
Then there is the problematic character of Siddhi. The show keeps present Siddhi as overweight with subsequent body image issues. The character Siddhi is curvy and has no need to be fat shamed, but the fact that she is reiterates the idea that unless you a size zero, your body and yourself cannot be loved. Siddhi has to go to the extent of becoming a cam girl for her to get some appreciation. This sets the wrong idea that unless someone validates you, you can not feel happy. This idea of seeking validation from strangers is toxic and sets a whole new range of problems for her in terms of online harassment, however, thankfully Siddhi does not accept victim blaming and is ready to fight for herself.
Lastly, there is Anjana, who is the overworked single mother and is still in love with her ex. She puts in so much effort in raising her child and being there for her but is faced with the threat of losing custody of her kid because she indulged in a little bit for herself. Her character is presented well in showing the struggles of the single mother but it is also not free on stereotypes. The idea of women not being comfortable with masturbation is shown via Anjana, so there is a stereotype present.
Having said that, there some heartwarming moments too present in the show. Watching these four friends get together and supporting each other lends faith to the importance of friendship. Four More Shots Please! Also has refreshing music as well. Mikey McCleary and Darshan Raval’s compositions make the series enjoyable. the show had great potential to portray a realistic version of women issues. Nevertheless, the characters are shown as one-dimensional with limited development. Female-centric entertainment has come a long way. While these shows are compared to movies like Pyaar ka Punchnamaand Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety, their similarity is limited to the fact that they are about hetero friendships. Also, the show’s biggest flaw is its failure to bring out the most basic problems of its target audience: urban Indian women.
Picture Credits : indiawest.com