So, most of my friends will tell you that I’ve been badgering them to watch the Four Weddings and a Funeral miniseries reboot on Hulu for a while now. I’m a big fan of Mindy Kaling, and this show definitely didn’t disappoint. I loved watching the characters develop, and watching their relationships develop. I haven’t seen the original, but I definitely have a lot to say about this reboot.
At the core of any good, believable rom-com, are well-written characters. And I really did come to love the characters in this reboot. So, I’ll go into the characters and what I love/didn’t love, as well as some other things I’ve noticed. While there were some things I missed, overall, there’s a lot to love, and if you haven’t watched this show, what are you waiting for?
Spoilers ahead. So, if haven’t seen the series, go watch it now, and then come back and read this. Enjoy!
Maya and Kash
Ok, I just have to start off by saying that I LOVE these two, and I was really rooting for them throughout the series. Nikesh Patel and Nathalie Emmanuel have such great onscreen chemistry. You can really feel those moments of tension before they admit their feelings to each other, and when they finally do get together, it’s magic — it’s that perfect combination of ease and fun, but still romantic. I thought the show did a great job of showing their romantic development — we’re shown why they’re perfect for each other, rather than told. I think a lot of shows make that mistake of telling rather than showing, which makes it hard for the audience to buy the romance (e.g., Barry and Iris in The Flash). Maya and Kash didn’t feel shoved down our throats; it didn’t feel like the writers were trying really, really hard to get us to root for this couple. We just did, because they felt so perfect for each other. It was just natural. I loved seeing the little bits of their lives that they shared with each other — like Kash introducing Maya to Pakistani food, Maya helping Kash practice his lines for an audition, and Maya sharing really personal family issues she deals with. These little bits really show us how Maya and Kash get to know each other and learn to work as a couple, and Maya’s sharing of her family issues is a rare glimpse into who Maya really is and the things she carries with her (more on that later).
I really liked Kash’s character development, for a number of reasons. I like Kash as a character. He’s not perfect, and he makes mistakes (sometimes, really big mistakes #weddingdisaster). But, he learns from them, and he grows. He takes risks, and he follows his heart. But, he puts the people he loves before himself. He gives up his acting career prospects to stay in his banking job, to support his family when his father can’t work double shifts. He chooses to stay in London instead of going with Maya to New York when he realizes his family needs him. Kash isn’t selfish. He just does what he feels is right, even if the consequences might make people hate him, or might not be what makes him happiest. This is a big reason why it’s so satisfying to watch him finally succeed as an actor, and why it’s so heartwarming at the end to finally see him with Maya, without having to hide it or feel guilty about it. It’s nice to see a character get his own little piece of happiness, after spending so much time trying to put the happiness and consideration of others first.
With Maya’s character, it’s a bit more difficult. I like Maya’s character enough to root for her. Her heart is in the right place, but she’s also not perfect. She makes mistakes. She makes decisions that, while definitely relatable, are also frustrating to watch. But what I got from Kash’s character that I was really missing from Maya’s, was insight into who she was. With Kash, we got great scenes with his father, his brother, his best friend Basheer, even the Imam from their mosque. We saw who he was outside of his relationships. We saw the things that shaped his character. We don’t really get that with Maya. We know about her mother’s death, and that gives us insight into certain things like why Maya is uncomfortable going to Quentin’s funeral, and why she loves Mamma Mia. But we miss those explanations of how else her mother’s death, and just her family life in general, shaped who she is. We miss those explanations of how her family shaped her values, her approach to love, her fears, her goals. With Kash, we know why he gets into investment banking (family and cultural pressure to make money and do well), and we also know what his true passion is (acting, which he ultimately pursues and succeeds at). We know the motivation behind his decisions. We know his passions; we know his struggles. But we don’t know what Maya’s passions are (aside from “helping people,” but that’s not specific enough). We don’t know her motivations. We don’t know the expectations she had from her family, the struggles she might have had growing up. We don’t really know that much about her, save for that little moment I mentioned earlier, where Maya opened up to Kash about her father. So, while I rooted for Maya’s character, it would have had a much bigger impact if we knew her character more, and if her character was given the same thorough development as Kash’s.
Duffy and Gemma
I was really surprised at how much I liked Duffy and Gemma’s character arcs, especially because I didn’t particularly like either of their characters in the beginning of the series. Duffy honestly seemed like a Nice Guy, mad at All Women for “not realizing how much of a nice guy he was,” while silently pining after the woman he loved from afar. But, I’m happy to say that Duffy’s character evolved SO well. In the beginning, he’s far from perfect…he pines over Maya, and then when he breaks up with her because she starts to act sort of distant, he treats her pretty shittily — especially considering HE initiated the breakup. But, he eventually learns, and he grows up. I think Gemma had a really good effect on him, as she doesn’t really tolerate his crap. Duffy becomes a character that is an actual nice guy, not a Nice Guy. He learns to risk his ego to tell someone how he feels. He learns to take responsibility for his own happiness. He becomes a great role model for Giles. And we see some nice scenes that give us insight into who Duffy has become-like how great is with Giles, and how he cares for his mother.
With Gemma’s character, she seemed snooty in the beginning, but as the series went on, you really got to know her character — and I ended up finding her character really endearing, funny, and relatable. She had some of the best dialogue in the show. I loved how she learned to break away from what was expected of her, and do what she felt was best — especially after Quentin died and she had to take care of her son Giles on her own. I loved how she learned to stop truly caring about what her other rich friends thought of her, yet she still retained a bit of that social class humor that made her character unique. Gemma and Duffy balanced each other out really nicely. They brought out the best in each other. (Also side note: I had a feeling these two would end up together, after the following two scenes: the one where Gemma is the only one who recognized Duffy’s costume at Ainsley’s birthday party, and the one where Gemma tells Duffy that Maya’s letter wasn’t meant for him. Not gonna say I called it, but….I called it.)
Ainsley and Bryce
So, I found Ainsley’s character slightly grating and annoying at times, but in the end, I really liked how her character grew. I think out of all the characters, she experienced the most growth. From realizing that Kash really wasn’t right for her, learning to forgive Craig and going to his wedding in the end, learning to say “fuck it” to what she thought looked best and instead following her heart, and learning to forgive Maya and Kash and move on with her life — the girl grew UP. I also loved seeing the juxtaposition of her previous relationship with Kash, with her budding relationship with Bryce. With Kash, you DO get the sense that their connection is shallow, that they look great on paper but they don’t really know each other. With Kash, Ainsley is mainly focused on the appearance of a perfect relationship, a perfect wedding, a perfect life. She seeks external validation to fill something fundamental that’s missing in her romantic life and missing in the way that she perceives herself. But with Bryce, Ainsley doesn’t need all that. Ainsley is her best self when she’s with Bryce. She learns to not care what people think, as long as she believes she’s doing what’s best for herself. She doesn’t need other people to see how well she’s doing. She doesn’t need a perfect wedding. She no longer feels the need to prove anything to anyone, because she’s finally happy and at peace with herself, with her decisions, with her relationship. What I love the most about seeing Ainsley and Bryce, is that we see Ainsley for who she truly is. She may look a bit shallow, a bit spoiled, on the surface — but when we see her with Bryce, we see how great she actually is. How much she cares for her friends. How thoughtful she is. And we see that she really loves Bryce — she knows the little things about him, like his fascination with neat facts, the fact that he can’t keep a plant alive, and that his father designed Dallas Lovefield. The Ainsley we see with Bryce is a much more mature, thoughtful person than the Ainsley we see with Kash. Her character at the end of the series is miles and miles from the character she was at the beginning of the series.
Andrew Aldridge and Tony 2
I was not expecting Andrew and Tony 2’s characters to be a big part of the series, but I was pleasantly surprised. While their characters didn’t have as much screen time as the other characters, the writers (and actors) really made the most of the screen time they had, and no scene was wasted. Each scene, each line, did something to advance their characters and their story. I love that, while these two aren’t major characters, we still get a good glimpse into their background, which explains why they are the way they are. We get to know who these characters are. We see Andrew’s fellow Parliament members, and their conservative political views. We see Tony 2’s family, and the struggles they deal with as undocumented immigrants. And we see development from their characters — we see Andrew’s regret over his lost love (which is what pushes the main couple, Maya and Kash, back together). We see Andrew finally pluck up the courage to do the right thing, even though it may cost him politically. And one of my favorite scenes in the finale is when Tony 2 finally becomes a British citizen.
Honorable mention characters:
A few characters that deserve an honorable mention: Quentin, for being hilarious and an unexpectedly sweet and thoughtful husband to Gemma. He was gone too soon, and most definitely missed. Marcus, for being a great source of comedic relief AND for eventually becoming somewhat of a friend and ally to Maya. I actually really liked their relationship — it reminded me of the relationships I have with some of my coworkers. It’s a lot of playful, sibling-like bicker and banter, but underneath it all, quite a strong bond. Basheer and Fatima, for being another couple that I really rooted for. These two had great chemistry, and their wedding was my favorite in the entire series (and just one of my favorite scenes in the series, period). Also, Basheer is such a good friend to Kash. I loved watching their friendship grow. And Basheer was one of my favorite comedic relief characters. Craig and Zara, for being such fun to watch and for having a really cute relationship and character development. Both Zara and Craig had some great lines; both were hilarious. And I loved how Craig was a goofball with a big heart, and Zara was someone who, like Ainsley, might seem shallow and self-absorbed at first, but turned out to be quite thoughtful and understanding. I thought the scenes with Zara trying to get Molly’s mother to make amends with Craig were sweet, and I loved how in the end, they did come together as a family. And I also loved how Craig and Zara grew when they became parents. Fatherhood fits Craig so well, and it’s so like him to be really involved in the kids’ sports, and be an overprotective dad. These two were great fun to watch, and their wedding was one of my favorites as well.
The finale was great and wrapped the story up nicely, but I almost wish it had been longer. At times, the pacing felt choppy, and it almost felt like it tried to cram too much into one episode. It felt a little like the finale of The Vampire Diaries. The ending was good, but we needed to spend more time getting there, and we needed our big moments to have more impact. While I liked Maya and Kash’s reunion, I felt like it was a bit rushed. So much screen time was devoted to Duffy and Gemma, and I felt like we didn’t get enough time to organically work our way to Maya and Kash’s reunion. And while I thought their reunion was cute, I felt like Maya and Kash’s moment at Bash and Fatima’s wedding was so much more romantic and had much more of an emotional impact (seeing Kash in the mirror, making their way to each other). In the finale ending scene, you still did get the sense that these two felt like they were the only ones in the room, but the moment just didn’t feel quite as big and romantic as it did during Bash and Fatima’s wedding. For a happy ending reunion (and for the main couple in the show), it should have been a bigger, more impactful moment.
I think what would also have made the finale more satisfying was a bit more of a reconciliation with Maya’s friends. Before the ending, both Duffy and Craig kept saying that they “weren’t allowed to talk to Maya,” or “weren’t talking to Maya.” I get why her friends took Ainsley’s side at first, but they didn’t even bother to hear Maya’s side of the story — and I did think it was a little bit of a dick move to just stop talking to her altogether. First off, are they in high school?? Like, yes, it’s not a great move to date your best friend’s ex, but did anyone forget that Craig remained friends with Kash as well? What happened with Craig and Kash’s friendship? (And I’d just like to point out that Kash and Bash were able to remain good friends, even after Bash and Fatima started dating, got married, and had a kid.) Also, Duffy knew, before anyone else in the group, that Maya had feelings for Kash, and he also knew that nothing ever happened — but he never mentioned that during their big argument. I understand that Maya dating Kash did hurt Ainsley, but I don’t think it was necessary nor fair for all her friends to ice her out like that. I did like that they showed how Ainsley realized that Maya and Kash loved each other — but I wish Maya’s other friends had the same realization and forgiveness for her as well. I think a reconciliation was implied in the end, with the wedding dance scenes and everyone having fun together, but a reconciliation of this type, after a year-long exile from her friend group, deserved some more heartfelt dialogue and more of a resolution. Plus, we never see Maya dancing/interacting with Craig or Duffy in the final scene. I wanted to see the friend group back together, with Kash, and everyone getting along.
That said, I did like that it was Ainsley who brought Maya and Kash back together. And I like the way Ainsley and Kash mended things and were finally able to move on and just be friends. One thing I like about rom-coms is that, the main couple has to overcome some things where, if they hadn’t overcome them before, they may not have been as successful. Both Kash and Maya needed to get to a certain place before being together, and both of them needed to get together again, without the feelings of guilt or needing to hide or feeling like they were doing something wrong. With Ainsley being the one to bring them together, both Maya and Kash were able to reunite and start a relationship fresh, without the baggage that plagued them both before.
Some more things…
Ok, so this is the same dilemma I have with literally every movie/show that takes place in a big city. How does those people afford such a fancy apartment in a city with a ridiculously high cost of living, doing jobs that most likely pay UNDER the median income? Maya works for half-salary in London, and Ainsley runs a design shop that never really looks that busy. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
Also, I found it hilarious how the writers just skirted over the logistical issues Maya would actually face if she really did move to London and start working there. Like, forget about working visas and all that — it’s a rom-com! Ha.
And while I was really happy that Kash finally made it as an actor, let’s be real here. It takes way, way, way more than one year to work your way up as an actor and star in a play on the West End with Eddie Redmayne.
But hey, it’s a rom-com. When have rom-coms ever been realistic? That’s not the point. Rom-coms are fun, feel-good, and they give you hope. We don’t watch rom-coms because they’re realistic. We watch rom-coms to get away for a bit, so that for at least a short time, we can feel like there IS going to be a happy ending, and that things DO work out.
Would I recommend this show? Abso-fucking-lutely. Am I going to rewatch the whole thing? Yes, right now.
Originally published at http://ariadneabby.wordpress.com on September 14, 2019.