Essay to TV! Modern Love: Mumbai, Season 1, Episode 3: “Mumbai Dragon”

Amazon Studios has adapted my Modern Love essay!!! (I feel three exclamation points are warranted for this bit of news.) It is episode 3 from Modern Love Mumbai, entitled “Mumbai Dragon.”

So of course I knew about the Modern Love series on Amazon Prime, but I didn’t know they have branched out to culturally specific versions of Modern Love. From Wikipedia:

In April 2022, Prime Video announced the Indian version of the series in three different languages — Modern Love Mumbai in HindiModern Love Hyderabad in Telugu and Modern Love Chennai in Tamil. A Japanese version of the series, titled Modern Love Tokyo will premiere worldwide on October 21, 2022.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Love_(TV_series)

Can you guess which of these stills is my episode? If you guessed this one…

Me and Mom, TV-ized

…you are absolutely correct!

So for those with Amazon Prime, which seems to be just about everyone I know, you can watch this episode whenever you wish (turn on the English subtitles!). I would recommend you either read or listen to the essay beforehand, so you can see all the changes that took place in the adaptation:

Now for some questions and answers:

  • This was released almost three months ago — how come you are just posting this now? That’s because I wasn’t made aware of it until this past Friday! The Modern Love folks at the Times were waiting to tell the authors until the financials were worked out. They were indeed worked out, so ergo, I was notified. 🙂 Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t aware of this until now, because if I had come across it when it came out, I would’ve been very much in the mold of, “Now wait a minute…this sounds a little too familiar…”
  • I just saw the episode, but where was your name in the credits? Yeah, that’s just the way it goes. If you look at the first Modern Love series, you’ll notice that only the episodes that hew very closely to the original essay give credit to the author. Mostly those were the stories that were super popular/went viral. Mine did not, so the writing team made many, many changes to tell their own tale. I knew this before watching, so I was prepared for it to be a very different story — but I was absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out! Much of my essay did make it in the episode, and the theme/spirit of my piece is totally there. The director of the episode, Vishal Bhardwaj, is a legendary filmmaker in India, so I lucked out big time. And the performances are top notch, too. There were three people in my essay — my mother, my wife Dawn, and myself. The same trio stars in the episode, modified — mom the cook, son the singer (!), and sagacious girlfriend.

    So long story short, no official credit. But hey, there can still be an unofficial credit, right? Thank you, IMDb!
  • Now that your essay has been turned into a podcast and a TV episode, what’s next? Isn’t it obvious? Broadway, of course! Somebody please write a musical, pronto…
Dawn and Mom, TV-ized

Lots of people loved the series and this episode in particular — check them out.

https://www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/2022/05/modern-love-mumbai-review-another.html
“The third episode titled ‘Mumbai Dragon,’ directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is perhaps the most interesting of the lot. Set against the backdrop of the Indian Chinese community, it tells the story of Sui, a single mother who overbearing love for her son gets threatened when he shares his portion of love with his girlfriend. The mother played by Yeo Yann Yann is easily the best thing about entire anthology.”

https://abstractaf.in/modern-love-mumbai-review-mixed-hotpot/
“This was easily the BEST of the lot! Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, the short focuses on familial love.”

https://www.leisurebyte.com/modern-love-mumbai-review-warm-comfort/
“I perceived Mumbai Dragon as a story of how stubborn most Indians are when it comes to love. They want their children to marry someone from their community. More than the happiness of their children, what matters to them is their pride. Even though the ending is predictable, the delicious food, performances and tuneful music keep you going through the end.”

https://www.highonfilms.com/modern-love-mumbai-season-1-review/
“Vishal Bhardwaj is, to put it simply, eons ahead of anyone in the people in this anthology web series. His direction is so expressive, so vibrant, so lively, so dynamic that it’s unfair for everyone else. He brings out the best in Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Naseeruddin Shah, and Wamiqa Gabbi; giving them ample room to visualize their characters’ feelings with words and sometimes, without them.”

One last thing — this is an embarrassment of riches, but another artist on Instagram reached out to me with a third take on my essay this morning! Andrea can be found on Instagram and her website.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg8kQ0cs8Ts/

Haiku and Review: Search Party, Season 5

Well, it took me a while to finally catch up to the final season of Search Party. Initially I wanted to see one a week, to dole out these precious episodes because there would be no more, but I have to admit, my forced metering soon became an unforced metering.

My biggest complaint of the season: even though by the end of the show, we are literally talking about the end of the world as we know it, the emotional stakes between the characters couldn’t have been less compelling. Also, there was a curious lack of humor — if not for John Early’s usual brilliance, this season could’ve been purely a drama. And as a drama, well, no. I don’t watch Search Party for drama.

The second and third seasons of this show were the best — the second for dealing with the consequences of the murder, and the third for its comedy. Shalita Grant‘s lawyer character, Cassidy, in the third season was the sixth-man MVP (in basketball parlance) — just thinking about her still makes me laugh:

So if that snippet makes you as happy as it does me, then I’d urge you to watch the first two seasons, and then watch the third just so you can get to this part of the episode. Yeah, it’s that worth it.

I actually enjoyed the fourth season, mostly for the breakout performance of Cole Escola; there’s also a scene revolving around a roundabout (pun intended!) that might be the show operating at its comedic peak.

Anyway, even though the fifth and final season was a letdown, it wasn’t enough of a letdown for me to not write a little haiku for each episode (and two for the last episode ever!). So here they are. All in all, I’m thankful this show existed — I’d never seen John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner, or John Early before Search Party, and now I’m a fan for life.

S05E01
Drew seizes the day.
El and Jeff, baby daddies.
Dory, savior.

S05E02
Dory’s great escape.
Drew and Portia, echoing.
Murderous laughter.

S05E03
D and D, again.
To the “center” of the “Earth.”
A Tunnel’s vision.

S05E04
Portia’s Dory drink.
Very Lyte influencers.
Dory sees the blood.

S05E05
Brunch and the sultan.
Undercover Elliott.
Blue enlightened beans.

S05E06
Colorful foreheads.
Dr. Carpet finds beetles.
Poisons everywhere.

S05E07
Virgin hostage Drew.
Is Elliott hideous?
To Acapulco.

S05E08
Saved by the manhole.
They all take turns with Dory.
Jellybeans of…joy?

S05E09
The Walking Party.
Slowest go-kart in the world.
Dory delivers.

S05E10

Zombies take Brooklyn.
Brain dead Portia, just leggy.
Flame throwing Chantel.

Portia sings the sun.
Dory and Drew tie the knot.
Wall of the missing.

Haiku: Search Party, Season 4, Episodes 1-3

Season 4, Episode 1: The Girl in the Basement

Dory in a trunk
Dory back at “home”, with Chip
The gang’s drunk kisses.

Season 4, Episode 2: Something Sharp

Portia playing Portia
Elliott flipping to Red
Andrew, tall white guy.

Season 4, Episode 3: Escape to Nowhere

Dory’s great escape
from window to car to Chip
Andrew back to Drew.

Dream: Search Party

Ever have a dream you wish would never end?  That’s what I experienced last night, when I was at some kind of a party with the actors of Search Party.

Search Party, if you didn’t know, is a TV show about to start its fourth season.  I came to it very late, but a few weeks ago I got caught up.  And because of the new season, the show’s been on my mind quite a bit.  It’s one of the funniest shows out there, though as the seasons have gone on, the comedy has had company with a bit of the macabre.  Which sometimes makes it even funnier?  Anyway, I adore it, and I wish more people would see it.

I guess the dream took place at a restaurant, though I’m not really sure.  All I know is that Dory, played by Alia Shawkat, was the one I spoke to first, and we sat down at a table.  I told her how much I loved the show, and she gracefully accepted my praise with total sincerity, so this is more like the first-season Dory.  Then Drew, played by John Reynolds, moped in – and he looked tired and didn’t look like he wanted to talk to anyone.  Then Elliott, played by John Early, sat right down, and every time I tried to say something, he’d talk right over me!  Initially this frustrated me greatly, but then I realized he was just being Elliott and then I was okay.  And now here’s the strange part – Portia, played by Meredith Hagner, was not there and instead it was Anna Chlumsky, looking very much like her intense, brittle Veep character.  Now Portia is my favorite character on Search Party so I just couldn’t quite understand why this was happening – like I knew I was dreaming and wanted Portia there, but no, I couldn’t make her appear.

And then we were all in a different restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and everyone had a proper dish in front of them except for Drew, who had like a Lean Cuisine-type of meal, except it was way bigger, black and white, and had the insignia of the restaurant, so I guess it was more like a pre-packaged meal that they sold?

I’ll never know, as I woke up then (but not before Drew, hangdog as ever, let out a massive sigh of disappointment).  But wow, it was so nice hanging out with my favorite foursome (even though Portia wasn’t there, she was, in spirit!).