By Shubhangani Jain Jul. 30, 2019
Easy not only dissects our lives, but also acts as a reference for all the feelings we may be feeling, but are unable to articulate. It’s precisely why I call for a desi version of the show. Let’s face it, the lack of intimate discussions around sex, gender, and sexuality in India have done us more harm than good.
What if a fiery make-out session doesn’t culminate into something more, leaving you drenched in awkwardness? What if your partner of 20 long years tiptoes around the prospect of an open marriage? What if you meet someone new and unconsciously embark on changing yourself to impress them but get caught instead? Netflix’s Easy – an anthology series about love and life, that just ended its brilliant three-season run – tackles all these not-so-easy terrains of love without being that judgemental uncle you always bump into at weddings.
Directed by Joe Swanberg, Easy stays with its characters as they go through the roller-coaster of their relationships, whether it is taking us through Andi and Kyle’s – parents to two kids – trysts with polyamory or letting us peek into the trials and tribulations of the budding relationship between a lesbian couple, Jo and Chase. Nowadays, it’s rare to come across a scenario where millennials don’t come under moral scrutiny. This is especially true when it comes to our love lives: We are labelled as being indecisive and impatient in our relationships, constantly flitting around for the next right swipe. Yet, this is also a deeply anxious, insecure, and experimental generation, whose romantic lives function in a wholly different way than it did for the earlier generations. Easy is one of the rare shows that not only dissects our lives, but also acts as a reference for all the feelings we may be feeling, but are unable to articulate.
The pop culture we consume is yet to reflect the struggles of the commitment-phobic app-dependent generation. But Easy highlights the intricacies of these diverse, complicated – both romantic and platonic – relationships. Sparrow Grass/ Netflix
The pop culture we consume is yet to reflect the struggles of the commitment-phobic app-dependent generation. But Easy highlights the intricacies of these diverse, complicated – both romantic and platonic – relationships.
Sparrow Grass/ Netflix
In its third season, that premiered back in May, Easy tackled whether it is possible for a couple to go back to monogamy after settling into an open marriage; it trained its gaze on the impossibility of moving on in an age where your exes never leave your phone or life; and critiqued the never-ending fatigue of trying to conjure up meaningful connections from the abyss of matches on dating apps. But to me, the most powerful episode felt like the one centred around #MeToo. In it, a student suddenly reappears to write about her professor’s misconduct in a book years after living with the trauma and then confronts him about it. Her accuser remembers their sexual encounter as consensual. The episode then, didn’t feel like mere fan-service of a buzzing keyword, but instead offered compelling arguments about how women and men process the idea of emotional abuse and its aftermath differently. It seemed like a natural progression for a series that didn’t shy away from taking up the grey areas of dating and desire: For instance, the first season comprised an excellent episode on the misadventures of a married couple and new parents during a threesome and the second season went another step further with an episode that challenged the rigid definitions of family.
It’s precisely why I call for a desi version of Easy. Let’s face it, the lack of intimate discussions around sex, gender, and sexuality in India have done us more harm than good. We have grown up with chapters on sexual and reproductive health in NCERT books that lead us to believe that having no sex is better than having any and that female orgasms are a myth. The pop culture we consume is yet to reflect the struggles of the commitment-phobic app-dependent generation. But Easy highlights the intricacies of these diverse, complicated – both romantic and platonic – relationships. It tells us that safety and fun can go together if there is a healthy communication of our wants, something that could do with more articulation here in India, where desire is treated as some sort of a fancy. And that the routes of desire are neither black or white, nor are they straightforward. Instead, they’re messy, uncomfortable, and perhaps, even slightly self-destructive. Essentially, Easy offers a mirror to the human condition in a way that deconstructs it and makes so many of us feel like we aren’t the odd ones out.
Easy offers a mirror to the human condition in a way that deconstructs it and makes so many of us feel like we aren’t the odd ones out.
Imagine then, the joys of getting to witness a desi version of Easy that is rooted in the Indian milieu, representing our bodies, specific desires, and struggles that will be more equipped to grasp our nuances. Imagine saying yes to every Indian man asking you out like Annie did in the third season: Would the dates transpire the same way that they did in the series? Or would it be peppered with a highlight reel of creepy dudes, marriage proposals, and disappointing sex? How would the idea of a 30-something woman searching for a meaningful connection and finding it in a kid that she is babysitting, look like in India? And who wouldn’t like to see an episode featuring a progressive lesbian couple realise the double standards they hold regarding feminism? In her book, Feminism is For Everybody, author and activist Bell Hooks talks about how her craving for a tiny, simple book about feminism that she could hand over to people who wanted to learn more about it led her to write it in the first place. Likewise, I always think of a show for our digital age to recommend to people who want to know more about relationships, gender, sexuality, and found all of it distilled in Easy. An Indian version of the show would just be the icing on a pretty delicious cake.
Writer of everything pop-culture, gender, and the stuff that composes our everyday life. When she is not obsessing herself and people around her with digital cultures and feminist theory, she indulges herself in cafe hopping or a good sleep. Tweeting her drama and other cool stuff at @ShubhanganiJ