Review: Honesty & Relatability Make ‘What the Folks’ a Must Watch
The honest portrayal of folks in ‘What the Folks’ makes us wonder if dysfunctional has become the new normal.
'Coz nothing really matters, except the little things.' Remember how the web series Little Things made us go gaga over the minimalistic, conversation based series? The 5 episodes made us realise how much the small and little things matter in life.
The production house behind Little Things, Dice Media, is back with another web series, What the Folks. The new show deals with the similar everyday struggles and how the mundane little things make our life beautiful and worth living.
It revolves around Nikhil, the damaad number one, who is forced to live with his in-laws for a few weeks.
The three episodes that have been released so far deal with the classic parents vs children divide.
Dysfunctional is the New Normal?
Has it ever happened to you that you are having a discussion with your parents and you come to realise that what they are saying is not just illogical, but also based on stereotypes?
It’s not just you. What the Folks has this invariably funny dinner table conversation that makes you scream “OMG, this is so true!”.
On the one hand we have superstitious, religious and nagging parents who want to make sure that everything is going fine in their kid’s lives, and on the other we have children who are trying to break away the social stereotypes and struggling to make space for themselves.
The tussle between them and the generation gap that Nikhil and his sister-in-law, Akshata, try to deal with is so true and relatable that it is unnervingly funny.
But what makes it even more realistic is that despite fighting almost everyday, despite the innumerable differences and despite the fact that no one understands each other, they continue to love one another.
The show also shows some nagging relatives and the stereotypes that come along with them. Some implicit sexist jokes that come to the forefront and how Nikhil constantly tries to avoid them, without being disrespectful, is something that almost everyone has faced in their lives at one point or the other.
All this just depicts how the show is not about an “ideal” but a “real” family. The ‘mad house’ that most of the ‘arranged families’ live in is so common that we start wondering if dysfunctional families have become the new normal.
An Atypical Family Drama
The most interesting part of WTF is that although it has a very regular and normal familiar feel to it, it completely inverses the typical saas-bahu drama that we have seen innumerable times.
It is Nikhil, the husband who is living with his in-laws, and not the other way round. What makes WTF stand apart is the utter honesty of the current situation that we live in. Contrary to the way daughter-in-laws are (ill)treated in most Indian families, the son-in-laws are always given a special status.
It is sin to offend the ladke waalas or the fact that the damaads do not make mistakes, is integrated in the Indian mentality. The amount of importance Nikhil gets as he comes to his in-laws’ house is evident when Prakash (the father-in-law) gives Nikhil his car, that he purchased from his retirement money. What’s even more surprising is the fact that he doesn’t say anything to Nikhil when the car is damaged in an accident.
(The guilty) Nikhil, like all son-in-laws, is put on a pedestal when he just wants to be treated as a human who makes mistakes. The entire series is like a situational comedy where we end up feeling sorry for Nikhil.
The Struggles of Today’s Generation
Akshata, the younger daughter and Nikhil’s sister-in-law, is the prototype of the modern teen who is stuck in an orthodox family and is trying to break away from it.
The last scene of the first episode where Nikhil and Akshata are smoking, Akshata opens up and says how frustrated she is because of her parents. She is also constantly seen trying to stop fights between her parents, wanting them to “grow up”.
The episode 3 gives a glimpse of Akshata’s psyche when she gets uncomfortable talking about something (that cannot be mentioned in their house) to Anita and Nikhil. Although the show has not (yet) disclosed what she is talking about, but it is evident that it is something that her parents won’t approve of.
This is the fight that most people have — whether to let their parents down by doing what their heart says or let yourselves down by doing what parents want. What the Folks also talks about this darker side of the generation gap which is not fought between children and parents, but within ourselves.
What The Folks is no WTF
Keeping it very simple, What the Folk’s essence lies in the conversations, situations and the little things. It is raw, real and completely relatable; it doesn’t have any instances of forced comedy — and that is what makes it watchable.
PS: On a final note, it is not just you, dysfunctional families are all around; everyone is battling similar battles; the generation gap is generations old. Also, despite everything, what is most important is the fact that you love them and they love you. So just sit back, enjoy the moment and if possible, have a laugh too!
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