“Hey, do you want to come over to Netflix and Chill?”
Not only has this phrase become a very repetitive meme, but it is also an incredibly lame pick up line most people use on dating apps! And from what I remember, Netflix was considered to be a big streaming giant. However, in their peak, a lot of their content could be categorized as great content!
But recently, all I’ve heard about is how Netflix puts out movies or shows just for the sake of it. Especially since Indian Matchmaking has made a spot for itself on our “favourite” streaming platform, people don’t like how it makes them look. Now I know art is subjective, but there’s a whole bunch of people who seem to think their content is trashy. So which one is it?
Matchmaker, Matchmaker. Make Me A Match!
“Hi, Sima from Mumbai.”
Never in a million years did I think that a phrase as simple as that would be like music to my ears. Of course, I was going to start with Indian Matchmaking, people love it, hate it, love to hate it. What seems to be peak trash television, also happens to represent a lot that takes place in arranged marriages in India.
Now, before you hold a dagger to my neck, let me clarify. I’m not saying that all arranged marriages in India involve the same amount of, as Sima Aunty would put it, compromise. And while this show infuriates many, it solely does so because, in some twisted way, we see a reflection of ourselves. It’s an extremely entertaining show for all the wrong reasons, which is why you can never have enough.
Let’s start with Sima Taparia, Mumbai’s Top Matchmaker in her own words. If you’ve ever had a nosy aunt who’s constantly up in your business, telling you about these boys she thinks is perfect for you? That’s Sima Aunty for you. Her extremely regressive thought process and condescending tone every time she thinks you’re being too difficult gave me a headache. Her constantly bringing in skin colour, education, a certain body type, while annoying, also showcases how she still lives in the past. My favourite part of the show is how she mentions all these ideal qualities while describing a woman towards the end last episode, and then promptly giving her a 95 for it. What does that say about her?
However, even though the show has drawn flack for blindly showcasing Sima’s regressive beliefs, many fell in love with the people we meet on the show. And granted, a few of them were fifty shades of fucked up, it was entertaining to watch Sima trying to decipher their needs nonetheless. My favourite fuck ups will always be Akshay’s mother and Aparna’s mother. Both of them, while being poles apart, in some ways were quite similar. Controlling, opinionated, and just so unnecessary.
I also take pride in the fact that if Akshay’s mother ever comes across me, her BP would skyrocket. Because not only am I 24 and unmarried, I wouldn’t be as flexible as she expects women to be. Oh, and I’m d a r k. But we’ll get into that later. Aparna’s mother, on the other hand, in the words of Tanmay Bhat’s, is a quota in human form!
Now let’s talk about the show as a whole. I have a lot of things to say, but I’m going to start with the title of the first episode. If you’re wondering what Indian Matchmaking is all about, then all I can say is “Slim, Trim, and Educated.” That’s it. That’s the show. While the show tries to make marriage look like an accomplishment, the glaring reality is that men were trying to find a woman who wouldn’t be their wife, but their glorified stay-at-home babysitter.
Apart from blessing us with all the sexism, classism, and racism, this show has also ended being an uncomfortable watch for many. Partially due to how real everything is, and partially due to how regressive Sima Aunty makes us look. Everything from the skin to the height of a candidate could make you a liability, and if you’re a strong, independent woman? It will be harder to find you a bride because in her words, “people are scared”.
While I can keep yapping about how problematic Sima from Mumbai or the show is, I’d rather let you draw your conclusions by looking at memes with zero context, or watching the show and deciding for yourself.
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
“Are you lost, babygirl?”
Another trashy favourite on Netflix has to be 365 Days, a Polish erotic romantic drama. Or as I like to call it, a discount Fifty Shades of Grey.
I have to come clean though, I haven’t watched either of these movies yet, because I couldn’t bring myself to. At all. But I definitely couldn’t avoid the backlash 365 Days got because anyone with a phone and Instagram knew what people were saying about it.
While Fifty Shades of Grey was already considered problematic, this takes it a step further. *Spoiler Alert* This movie is all about a mob boss, who kidnaps, drugs, and does everything but screw a random girl for a year in the hopes that she will fall in love with him. Not only is that fucked up, but it’s also crazy how many women thought this was attractive.
While I’m not here to judge problematic people, I am here to judge a problematic film that has been doing incredibly well on Netflix. There’s so much we can talk about, but I want to talk about how dangerous the plot is. While the stranger initially does resist the mob boss, she eventually ends up falling for him, after literally falling off a yacht due to a heated argument with said mob boss, and then was rescued by the mob boss.
And like everything on the internet, even this movie has been heavily memed. However, most people seemed to have a huge issue with the message a movie like this was portraying. It also invoked the wrath of a huge number of Poles, who would rather have any movie but this represent them. And not only did many people think the story was triggering, but a huge amount of people also were rightfully concerned about people who found the main lead, and his behaviour attractive. Not only did this glorify rape culture, but it also puts Stockholm Syndrome on a pedestal, which frankly is not required.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
All of us collectively have an incredibly annoying knee-jerk reaction when we see something we don’t like. We either want to ban or boycott it. But we end up doing the exact opposite. Instead of boycotting something, we end up giving it so much importance, that it probably tops the charts.
Now, I don’t know how most of this works. But what I do know is that Netflix is not going to give a shit about what hurts your sentiments and what doesn’t. Regardless of whether you boycott or ban them, you’ve already paid them. So they’re good. However, you’re also giving them publicity by being extremely negative or excessively talking about it. It doesn’t matter what the context is. You’re still mentioning them.
I’ve come across so much talk about Indian Matchmaking, and honestly, that’s the only reason I watched it. I couldn’t avoid any of the memes, images, or articles I kept coming across. And even though most of it annoyed me, I ended up watching the whole series in a day, partially because I was bored, and partially because I couldn’t get enough of it. And even after watching it, I’ve come across both positive and negative content revolving around the show. While this was my situation, a friend of mine was simply triggered and infuriated by the show, but he kept watching because he wanted to see what happens next. And that’s just how it’s managed to rack up so many views.
Most of the times, especially right now during the pandemic, any trash we come across (*cough* Too Hot To Handle *cough*), you’re going to still watch it.
But I have something effective that is the best possible solution to your Netflix is trash problem. Just don’t watch it. It’s that simple. Because let’s face it, no matter what you do, you’re not going to be able to affect a giant like Netflix. Especially if it’s a particular show that you dislike.
Because come to think of it, Netflix does have some great content. It’s just a few of their newest releases that are shit. Are you into trashy TV shows, or do you think Netflix needs to chill on the shit content? Let me know in the comments. And if you enjoyed this read, then you can check out more of my work here!