Problems with Four More Shots Please!
Four More Shots Please! Is an Amazon Prime original, sex comedy series, created by Rangita Pritish Nandy, starring — Kriti Kulhari, Sayani Gupta, Gurbani and Manvi Gagroo as the leading actors. The show revolves around four ‘unapologetically flawed’ female friends from different lifestyles who deal with romance, anxieties, conflicts and ambitions in modern Mumbai as millennials. The main cast is backed by a number of supporting actors — Milind Soman, Lisa Ray, Prateik Babbar, Neil Bhoopalam, Simone Singh and Amrita Puri, and with an all-women crew — The director being Anu Menon, writers are Devika and Ishita Moitra and Neha Parti Maitiyani and Antara Lahiri as the editors.
It was branded as a feminist show which celebrates women and their lives. It touches upon a lot of stifled societal topics such as female masturbation, sexuality recognition, and workplace harassment, however, it still fails in a proper execution, ultimately, blundering and making it quite mainstream. It does not show what the audience has not already seen before. It dwells on certain topics related to women empowerment which have already been spoken of in various other movies and shows, hence, making it quite predictable and average.
Problems with Four More Shots Please!
Is it really empowering women? It was a huge letdown at how the show has boiled down feminism and empowering women to four things — Cursing, smoking, consuming alcohol and satisfying carnal desires. It isn’t wrong to represent women voicing their opinions or talking freely about their dating lives, but that is a huge amiss to the fact that there are bigger issues to deal with, in India. Those topics have already been showcased in the entertainment industry and reducing freedom to a couple of privileged women living in a metropolitan society fails to divulge the issues surrounding the women ignored for years. It also blatantly ignores much more needed sequences which highlight workplace harassment, career struggles and aspects of the patriarchal teachings of weak femininity. It could have been better if the characters were more professionally driven, conjointly, it would have been an open door for character development and a better qualitative story, which they have seemingly blundered as well. Moreover, the passive aggression portrayed could have been toned down a bit because feminism is not about hating men.
The show still internalises prejudice. It covered an ample amount of points regarding bisexuality, but it was highly ignorant of the gay stereotypes portrayed during several sequences of the show. One of the characters, Siddhi, goes on a date with a character named, Mohit, who upon meeting her tells her that the empire line dress does not suit her. Its implausible that a straight guy knows about fashion, right? Thats how they introduce their gay character. Moreover, when Mohit tries to flirt with a guy who turns out to be straight, mentions that his interests include ‘watching sports and playing video games’, which establishes his sexuality.
The show’s take on body positivity does not get the concept right. Dialogues such as, “Men like curves, dogs like bones”, and skinny women making curves feel more desirable, isn’t what you use for a representation of an extremely sensitive topic. Siddhi is tremendously sensitive about her body because of the criticism she has faced by her mother, since her childhood. It is natural that the character’s supposed ‘best friends’ should be the ones helping her out with her insecurity, however, they never seem to offer her any validation or take a step in supporting her to accept her body. The only instance shown of her feeling validated and finally starting to accept her body, was when it appealed to the male eye. The show highlights that all bodies are acceptable, as long as men are approving it.
The characters seem to show very less development, whilst the supporting characters are completely overshadowed, leaving them no room for development. Their actions seem to have no consistency or context. The show has described its protagonists as ‘unapologetically flawed’, but they never really compel it.
THE FAN-SERVICE. To begin with, the show started off with a character, Damini, fantasising about being physically intimate with her gynaecologist. It has dozens of unneeded, and unnecessarily long, sex scenes. I agree, as it is a sex comedy, intimate scenes are supposed to be shown, but after a certain point it’s just overdoing it, and for a series supposedly about feminism, relying heavily on fan-service for keeping their audiences engaged is extremely saddening. It gets annoying and boring as it evidently tries to stretch out the episode duration and storyline.
The Sex and the City rip-off is not what we needed. The script has overlooked the internalised misogyny and prejudice norms of the marginalised sections of the society. The female-centric scripts in movies like Queen, Neerja and Tumhari Sulu have prevailed in showcasing female leads as determined and thriving. In Hollywood, movies such as, Post, Spotlight and Devil Wears Prada have presented their female leads with a developing career but thriving with women empowerment, inspiring many. Four More Shots Please! Is below average and can be ignored.