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S01.E09: ... had to be on my best behavior

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Flashbacks unearth painful memories and resentment for Devi. Meanwhile, Kamala is forced to get honest as the family welcomes her suitor at home.

 

 

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I don't know how to feel about Kamala and the potential husband. I wish the guy hadn't been so blatantly attractive. And then they make him super nice, too! That stacked the deck in a way I thought was unfair. Yet they did seem to have a genuine connection, or at least the start of one. I'll be curious to see how this plays out.

I should probably feel sorry for Steve, but he seems like a doofus. I think his main appeal to Kamala was that she was able to hook up with him by choice. And at least she was smart enough to know she likely wouldn't marry her first boyfriend.

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It had been a number of years since I had seen Iqbal Theba in anything, so I enjoyed his appearance.

Dr. Vishwakumar's put-downs are funny for the audience, but she was very hurtful to Paxton here.  I'd have been angry if some other parent talked to my son like that.

Wanting to run away from an arranged marriage is such a stock plot (not without reason, of course), so the prospective fiance turning out to be a really attractive fellow is a different direction to take things from the norm (even if they don't end up together).

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18 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

I don't know how to feel about Kamala and the potential husband. I wish the guy hadn't been so blatantly attractive. And then they make him super nice, too! That stacked the deck in a way I thought was unfair. Yet they did seem to have a genuine connection, or at least the start of one. I'll be curious to see how this plays out.

13 hours ago, SeanC said:

Wanting to run away from an arranged marriage is such a stock plot (not without reason, of course), so the prospective fiance turning out to be a really attractive fellow is a different direction to take things from the norm (even if they don't end up together).

The only real life arranged marriage I've ever seen play out was a college student with whom I worked closely for 4 years, so I was surprised (and concerned) when she casually mentioned close to graduation that she was marrying someone she had not met. But then I was really surprised to see them together a month or two after their wedding and honeymoon and to see that he was just as attractive as she was, just as intelligent and well educated, the same age, and that they were genuinely affectionate towards one another. They both went on to get their PhDs while they were married. I've since lost track, so I don't know if they have had children.
I was happy to see Kamala's betrothed being similar to the young man my student married, although the student I knew didn't flirt or have boyfriends during college.

 

Edited by shapeshifter

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9 hours ago, SeanC said:

It had been a number of years since I had seen Iqbal Theba in anything, so I enjoyed his appearance.

For some reason, I always think of his "Kidney stones!" doctor on Friends. It was basically a throwaway role, but he put such personality into repeating "kidney stones" that it became one of my favorite episodes for that alone.

9 hours ago, SeanC said:

Dr. Vishwakumar's put-downs are funny for the audience, but she was very hurtful to Paxton here.  I'd have been angry if some other parent talked to my son like that.

Yeah, she was crushingly rude. That's unacceptable behavior no matter what.

9 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

real life arranged marriage

My parents knew an Indian couple who had an arranged marriage, although either one of them could have said no. I think that's the key. Someone else has done the vetting, but the couple can decide it won't work if they don't click. (I have to say, though, I shudder to think who my parents would have chosen for me had we been in that situation. We have very different ideas of suitable partners.)

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My parents were arranged. It doesn’t happen much with the Indian Americans nowadays but I’ve seen it occasionally. Blows my mind at times, but I can see why it works since parents and families try to find people that have similar interests and personalities (and of course their “stars” have to align together). I’m glad that Kamala’s guy was very nice because the trope would be her shunning an arranged marriage because he was a jerk or ugly. Didn’t help he was pretty hot as well.

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The mom is such a b*tch!  That is not a good person, there, to insult someone you don't even know. Poor Paxton.

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On 5/1/2020 at 12:31 AM, SeanC said:

Wanting to run away from an arranged marriage is such a stock plot (not without reason, of course), so the prospective fiance turning out to be a really attractive fellow is a different direction to take things from the norm (even if they don't end up together).

I actually thought it was kind of cliche. I feel like most movies/shows I've watched with that plot, the guy or girl turns out to be awesome. So I just knew the arranged husband would be good looking and probably a cool person. Still I just went with it because the show is that good that it makes these cliches work. 

On 5/1/2020 at 12:31 AM, SeanC said:

Dr. Vishwakumar's put-downs are funny for the audience, but she was very hurtful to Paxton here.  I'd have been angry if some other parent talked to my son like that.

Yeah it definitely crossed the line and kudos to the actor playing Paxton because you could see when he was getting more and more upset and how he was just internalizing it and restraining his anger. I knew at that point he'd be done with Devi, not because of her but yeah, who wants to be around someone whose parent makes you feel so small and inferior. 

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This was such an interesting episode. I know it was a cop out for Preshant to be fine af and a pretty cool guy, but I'm here for it b/c the actors sold it so well.

We all have meddling older relatives and I thought part of Devi's mom being cruel to Paxton (b/c that wasn't cool) had to do with the bs she was catching from Uncle. That's no excuse to say that to that young man, though.  I agree with posters above:  The actor who plays Paxton did a great job with the underlying pain and rage and hurt she caused. 

I enjoyed all the back and forth between the upstairs room and the downstairs action.  It was almost farce.  I liked that. 

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It was total farce. Elaborate lies and skulduggery instead of either a fraction of the truth or a small easy lie (like walk him out the front door in front of everyone and pretend he was there to fix the wifi or something).

I don't know that it was necessary for Preshant to be "hot", because how much do looks really matter when choosing a life partner? But I'm glad he turned out to be a reasonable, cool person with a sense of humor and decency, who isn't looking for someone who reminds him of his mother to go to bed with.

Devi's mom was incredibly rude to Paxton, and it was completely uncalled for. He's the one who's always rescuing Devi.

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7 minutes ago, Enginerd said:

I don't know that it was necessary for Preshant to be "hot", because how much do looks really matter when choosing a life partner? But I'm glad he turned out to be a reasonable, cool person with a sense of humor and decency, who isn't looking for someone who reminds him of his mother to go to bed with.

Just wondering if the character of Preshant's name was chosen because of it being some sort of joke that it is a homonym for the word "prescient."

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Arranged marriages exist in the US, just not as blatant.

People, at least here in NY, try to get their kids in the "right" preschool, so they can get to the "right" elementary school, the "right" high school and the "right" college, probably an Ivy.  There they were mean the "right" people to partner with.  It's not about saying, "THIS is who you will marry."  It's getting into certain circles where one will have the best opportunity to meet the "right" partner.

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The flashbacks to Devis dad just hurt my heart, it seemed like he ended up being a peace keeper between Devi and Dr. V, and when he died, their relationship just kept deteriorating, even beyond them both dealing with their grief. I wonder if Devi feels like the stress from the fight before the show lead to the heart attack?

Dr. V was really cruel to poor Paxton, who was just trying to do a nice thing. In fact, every time she meets him, like at the hospital or when is returned her dress, he is doing nice stuff for Devi, but she just insults him and treats him like crap. Even from a stranger, being called stupid over and over really hurts, especially when your a teenager and its an adult saying it. 

Devi aint wrong, Kamalas fiance is seriously hot! He seems like a nice guy, its interesting that they seem to be leading to her staying with the guy, but taking it slow. 

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On 5/1/2020 at 12:31 AM, SeanC said:

It had been a number of years since I had seen Iqbal Theba in anything, so I enjoyed his appearance.

 

On 5/1/2020 at 10:17 AM, dubbel zout said:

For some reason, I always think of his "Kidney stones!" doctor on Friends. It was basically a throwaway role, but he put such personality into repeating "kidney stones" that it became one of my favorite episodes for that alone.

That and "Achieve-meeeent!" as Principal Figgins (in the Blame it on the Alcohol episode) from GLEE.

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On 5/17/2020 at 6:24 PM, Neurochick said:

Arranged marriages exist in the US, just not as blatant.

People, at least here in NY, try to get their kids in the "right" preschool, so they can get to the "right" elementary school, the "right" high school and the "right" college, probably an Ivy.  There they were mean the "right" people to partner with.  It's not about saying, "THIS is who you will marry."  It's getting into certain circles where one will have the best opportunity to meet the "right" partner.

This is my belief as to why Mossimo and Loughlin were so hell-bent on getting their twit offspring into USC.  It was about making sure their daughters ran in the "right" circles of California society and would eventually match with old money (for California) sons. They are new money and they were trying to gain the respectability of an old money match, similar to how new money in New York would match their daughters with penniless but landed gentry sons from England in the Gilded Age. That's why a place like ASU wasn't good enough. Honestly I'm kind of shocked this show didn't make a joke about the admission scandal because it seems right up Mindy Khaling's alley. (However her brother admitted that he pretended to be black to use Affirmative Action to get into law school so maybe she felt like it would have been hypocritical?) Anyway I liked that the twist that Kamala realized she wasn't that into her boyfriend when it came down to it. She was more into sneaking around and being rebellious than being in love with him, so she broke it off to explore this spark she seems to be having with Prashant. As my French teacher once said of the ending of La Boum, "When she had him she realized she didn't want him. And that's what dating is!"

Edited by methodwriter85
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On 5/17/2020 at 7:10 PM, tennisgurl said:

The flashbacks to Devis dad just hurt my heart, it seemed like he ended up being a peace keeper between Devi and Dr. V, and when he died, their relationship just kept deteriorating, even beyond them both dealing with their grief. I wonder if Devi feels like the stress from the fight before the show lead to the heart attack?

Same here, this episode really hurt because I've experienced this dynamic in my own family. both with my parents when I was a kid and then with my daughter and husband (though without a heart attack or death, thank goodness). (TMI warning: Feel free to skip the next part, but I promise that I will relate it to the show.) When I was a kid, my mother was the critical one who made me feel like I wasn't good enough, and my father was loving and the peacekeeper. When I was in my 20s, my parents got divorced (my mother's choice) and I became estranged from her, though she periodically sent me cruel letters about what a terrible daughter I was. So when I got married, I did not want to have children because I thought I would be a bad mother. I was finally convinced by my husband and with the help of therapy that I was not doomed to repeat the past, and when I had a daughter I became Supermom...for a while. But she was a very independent and fierce personality (like Devi), and as she got older (especially teens) we often argued over what she was allowed to do and were very angry with each other. My husband was the "nice" and "easy" parent and tried to act as peacekeeper, but that just made it worse because I felt like he was treating me like a child. I often was depressed at being such a bad mother and felt like giving up because I feared she would stop loving me and we would become estranged like my mother and I. So I empathized with Nalini's outburst about Devi not being her child, and I understood that she said that not because she hated Devi or no longer wanted her, but because she felt hopeless about their relationship.

Fast forward to my daughter in her 20s and 30s: Our relationship has improved a lot, in part because we have been able to have long, honest discussions about our feelings. She knows I love her unconditionally, and she has reassured me that she loves me and will never cut me out of her life. She had a daughter 3-1/2 years ago, and I am happy to see that my mothering mistakes are not being repeated--my daughter is loving and incredibly patient with her daughter, but she does sometimes share with me her fear of losing patience and harming the relationship. All of this is to say that, even though they are fictional characters, I am hoping that Nalini and Devi can repair their relationship by talking honestly and sharing their grief.  

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On 5/18/2020 at 2:10 AM, tennisgurl said:

The flashbacks to Devis dad just hurt my heart, it seemed like he ended up being a peace keeper between Devi and Dr. V, and when he died, their relationship just kept deteriorating, even beyond them both dealing with their grief. I wonder if Devi feels like the stress from the fight before the show lead to the heart attack?

Dr. V was really cruel to poor Paxton, who was just trying to do a nice thing. In fact, every time she meets him, like at the hospital or when is returned her dress, he is doing nice stuff for Devi, but she just insults him and treats him like crap. Even from a stranger, being called stupid over and over really hurts, especially when your a teenager and its an adult saying it. 

 

Honestly, I was certain they were going with Devi blaming her mother for her dad’s heart attack, but I think the actual storyline was much better.

As for Paxton, I do think it was unfair. He has shown to be nothing but kind. Definitely not what I accepted out of this character.

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Totally unsurprising that Devi's mom and uncle reacted to Devi's lie about going for a run at night with OMG NOOOOOOO! I did laugh that her uncle's two examples as to why this was dangerous were Charlie Manson and Harvey Weinstein.

The wacky hijinks with Steve climbing in through the window might have been a bit over the top if we hadn't already seen him do it previously. I did feel bad for him though. He got dumped by Kamala twice and he seemed to really like her. Kamala, on the other hand, was too scared of her family to openly date him even though she claimed to like him.

I was glad that Prashant was a normal guy (and that he took the news about Steve pretty well), and I liked that he suggested he and Kamala just get to know each other rather than getting engaged immediately. But I also thought their mutual "I kind of like you" seemed premature. They just met. They talked for about five minutes total (when Kamala's uncle wasn't monopolizing the conversation, that is). That doesn't mean you like each other. It means you think the other person is hot enough to not immediately dismiss them.

Poor Paxton. No matter how strict Nalini wants to be with Devi, that is no reason to insult his intelligence. Just because he's younger than Nalini doesn't mean she gets to be outright rude to him.

And poor Devi. I know that Nalini was just frustrated, but she was pretty over the top about how angry she was just because Devi misplaced her sheet music. CALM DOWN, LADY. Yes, she was just venting but no kid ever needs to hear what she said about Devi. I hate to break it to you, but not all teenagers are meek, compliant, obedient, and subservient. You still have to parent them even if they aren't what you deem perfect.

And moving to India? That is a huge fucking bomb to drop on a 15 year old girl who just lost her father. I'm pretty sure she is only fluent in English so moving to a country where she doesn't speak the language in the middle of high school would be really difficult for her. I know that Nalini said she has no support system here, but Devi has no support system in India. All of her friends are here. It sucks enough to have to move in the middle of high school but moving to a country where you don't speak the language and don't know anyone? That's a huge thing to ask of a teenager.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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41 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Kamala, on the other hand, was too scared of her family to openly date him even though she claimed to like him.

I think Kamala enjoyed the illicit aspect of dating Steve more than she liked Steve, though I do think she liked him. Just not enough to introduce him to/defy the family.

46 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Just because he's younger than Nalini doesn't mean she gets to be outright rude to him.

She doesn't get to be outright rude to anyone for any reason. Nalini lost a lot of my understanding with that one outburst. That was inexcusable.

49 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

It sucks enough to have to move in the middle of high school but moving to a country where you don't speak the language and don't know anyone? That's a huge thing to ask of a teenager.

Plus, I think Devi might be an American citizen, so there's likely some bureaucratic red tape to take care of before just up and moving. At the very least, Nalini likely has to prove Devi isn't a victim of custodial interference. I know, this is putting too much RL into things, but still.

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I was wondering: even though Devi is a minor, as a US citizen can her mother force her to leave the country? Like, legally can Devi protest/fight that choice?

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I don't think Devi can, as a minor, unless she makes some outrageous accusation against her mom, like she's being kidnapped, will be a child bride, that sort of thing.

ETA: I think Devi would have to become an emancipated minor, and that has its own set of qualifications.

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On 6/2/2020 at 2:02 AM, auntiemel said:

For those wanting more insight into a real-life arranged marriage situation, author Sonali Dev wrote this article about hers, and it's really good! https://masalamommas.com/2015/09/24/why-arranged-marriage-you-ask/

After reading that article, I see that less as arranged marriage and more "asking your friends and family to set you up".

I think of an arranged marriage more as it is shown in the show, where basically as long as Prahsant's parents approved of her and the two of them couldn't come up with a better reason than "I'm just not in love with him", that marriage was pretty much a foregone conclusion (well, at least until Kamala and Prashant were like "hey, I like you, but let's slow this thing down a little before agreeing to get married).

Edited by HappyBerry

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16 hours ago, HappyBerry said:

I think of an arranged marriage more as it is shown in the show, where basically as long as Prahsant's parents approved of her and the two of them couldn't come up with a better reason than "I'm just not in love with him", that marriage was pretty much a foregone conclusion (well, at least until Kamala and Prashant were like "hey, I like you, but let's slow this thing down a little before agreeing to get married).

I got the impression the way it'd happen in this show is similar to the article.  I never got the sense that Kamala had to marry Prashant or he had to marry her if either found something displeasing about the other.  So "I just don't love him" wouldn't have appeased a family wanting their daughter to be married because arranged marriages often work on the basis that love will develop.  But "he's not attractive" or "he gives me the creeps" likely would be enough.

Arranged marriages, from what I understand, run the gamut between "this makes sense as a way to unite our families so this is who you need to marry" to "here are some people we think will be a good match, pick one and marry."  How much choice the parties (and women) get vary but I've even seen depictions of choice in movies about Orthodox Jews. 

What isn't involved as much is dating to see if love will come because the arranged marriage is based on other factors such as shared values and goals. And that's the difference between a family or friend set up and an arranged marriage.

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Further discussion about arranged marriages in general should go in the Small Talk thread, please. 

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