Cast: Jikki Nair, Jaytesh Calpakkam, Arjun, Aarti
Director: Jaytesh and Jikki
In one of the scenes in MXPlayer’s new anti-romance, F*ck Buddies, we see a middle-aged man on his couch drinking a glass of scotch, when his daughter walks in, sits next to him and takes a swig. “How’s your sex life?,” he asks her, matter-of-factly. They drone on about his date and her new friends and when the scene ends, she replies, “to answer your question, it’s going pretty amazing.” The effect the show is going for is cool and casual; just a father-daughter duo knocking back after a tough day at work. But then you watch it again and notice that there’s nothing else in the scene. It doesn’t lead to anything nor does it reveal something new about Jiah (Jikki Nair), the show’s protagonist. And when you realize that the father doesn’t get a second scene in the show, you sense a problem. The scene was written exclusively for its shock value.
Which is ok if the show was trying to achieve something that was truly shocking. Even its central concept, about two friends “benefitting” with no strings attached, isn’t exactly fresh. Other than the novelty of such a scenario being set in Chennai, it isn’t rocket science for it to be explained. The contrived “Rules of F*ck Buddies” for instance. ‘No going out’, is one. ‘No texting or calling’ is another. Not only are these rules spelled out, but they are written up, framed and hung on Jay’s (Jaytesh) bedroom wall. For people trying to keep things casual without labels, they seem extremely finicky about the rules.
It’s a show that tries too hard to be hip and progressive, but in the process, it reduces millennials to a bunch of alcoholic dimwits with nothing but sex on their minds. How about some texture while writing these characters? I know nothing about Jay, even after the whole show, other than he’s a YouTuber (don’t know what kind) and that he’s a “wet dhummer”(someone who only smokes when he drinks). The same goes for Jiah. She’s free and sexually liberated but does every single scene have to play out exactly the same way. It’s hinted that she has some sort of a disease but it’s neither serious enough to do some real damage nor is it used in such a way that it contributes to the screenplay.
F*ck Buddies is a show so excited to be able to use the F word (and its many iterations) that it forgets that those words have to also make sense. And for all its progressive take on a modern relationship, one wishes they’d taken a ballsier stand. What’s more to say about a show whose only intention is to make the audience go WTF.