Ladies Room, Alisha, Girl in the City: Web series for women are a thing, and they're really good

Swetha Ramakrishnan

June 19, 2016 08:39:02 IST

What are the options a girl has on a weekend night in, if she wants to watch something girly but not Sex And The City (again), or something funny but not Amy Schumer re-runs?

Let's see; there are boring, old sitcoms re-hashed by TV channels, or there's yet another rom-com which will either make you feel super low, or make you cringe depending your relationship status. Also if anyone tells me one more time, "dude Game of Thrones", let's just say you won't need to watch The Conjuring 2 for your dose of horror (really don't care about Jon Snow, thanks).

And so, one uneventful Saturday night I decided to search the corners of the interwebz to find something to watch that would satisfy all my needs: something girly, something deep and something funny — all at once. It was quite the quest, but then surprisingly, Youtube came to my rescue.

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Mithila Palkar in 'Girl in the City'. Image from Facebook.

I stumbled upon the highly popular Bindaas show, Girl In the City and decided to give it a shot. Sure the protagonist, Mithila Palkar (who's an internet sensation), was tad too young for my liking, as the show chronicles the life of a fashion intern and her topsy-turvy struggler life in Mumbai. But something about the show had me hooked. It could be that instead of a formulaic two-hour-long film about the same tropes of love, fashion and friendship, here's a 10 minute web-episode that seemed more fresh in its execution. A couple of hours later, I had binge watched five episodes and was falling fast down the rabbit hole that is web series for women online.

Yes, that's a thing.

My online tryst welcomed me into a world where there was good content, just for women, on Youtube: a pop-sy show (Girl In The City), a detective series that revolves around a spy who solves mysteries due to her fashion sense (Alisha), and a show about two women in bathrooms (Ladies Room). It was an odd combination; detective stories, fashion, pre-teen drama and toilet humour. But I loved the variety, cliches and all.

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A screen grab from the show.


Girl In The City 
tells the story of Meera, a girl from Dehradun who comes to Mumbai to be a part of the fashion industry. She has three months to make a mark before her Army-officer father calls her back. Eight episodes down, the show has it all: A hunky model to drool over, lots of fun designs courtesy the fashion warehouse Meera works in, a bff with some shady issue that will reveal itself as a plot-point soon, a friend-zoned roommate who is clearly going to profess his love for Meera soon, regular usage of alcohol and pot (a clincher because who likes an unreal, morally grounded show?) a bitchy boss, a very talented protagonist (obviously) and lots of product placements for Castrol Activ Scooter.

A complete anti-thesis to Girl In The City, is YRF's Ladies Room. You can trust YRF to get it right, after the success of their previous web-series such as Man's World and Bang Baaja Baarat. This show features two women — Khanna and Dingo (effortless acted by Shreya Dhanwantary and Saba Azad) and is filmed in six loos. Yes the motif in this series, as if the name of the show isn't a hint enough, is bathrooms.

From episodes like 'In Which Dingo And Khanna Find A Flood Of Emotion' which is set in a flooding bathroom with plumbing issues, or 'In Which Dingo And Khanna Get Caught with Pot' which is set in a (really gross) train bathroom, Ladies Room doesn't believe in holding back; on either the puns or the toilet humour. Both the ladies are bloody (no pun intended) good at bringing it all together to make a crackling show.

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Saba Azad and Shreya Dhanwantary in 'Ladies Room'. Youtube screen grab.

The casual conversational tone in Ladies Room is a respite from the teen drama trope in Girl In The City, and as a real girl in a real urban city, I found Ladies Room far more relatable. The show touches upon themes and anecdotes like pregnancy scares, a jerk of a married colleague who sends dick pics on Tinder, accidentally drinking water laced with MDMA and tripping so hard you have a fight with your f*ck buddy, and suchlike. While the humour might seem a bit forced in bits (mostly Saba Azad), overall the show is a big win in merging a realistic story line that is still mighty entertaining.

The biggest winner of the show is probably the way the two women speak to one another: abuses galore, no holds barred. There's nothing feminine about the show, and yet it doesn't seem alienating to even the most girliest of girls. Ladies Room is an answer to all those rampant stereotypes about girls: sleepovers in underwear, pillow fights and an overdose of pink. The web-series shows us how we are all the same with our friends, regardless of gender. Infact, Ladies Room shows us that we are the same, period. Shit happens to all of us (literally).

Kudos to writers of the show Ratnabali Bhattacharjee and Neha Kaul Mehra.

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Screen grab from 'Ladies Room'.

And finally, there's Alisha, a detective web-series starring Lianne Texeira and Sarah Hashmi (in sort of Sherlock-Watson roles) that mixes fashion and mystery. Alisha solves crimes by being a fashion nerd, and the series has the sort of understated humour that you'd need in a show like this.

The mysteries themselves may be quite forgettable, but here's a show that takes a girly element and gives it a sort of edge. It still has the customary endorsement in make up brand Blush, which drives these kind of web series (with Ladies Room it was jewelry brand Mia) but one must applaud the makers of these shows for literally thinking out of the compact.

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Screen grab from 'Alisha'. Youtube screen grab.

Sure, one can argue that there isn't anything in these shows that is ground-breakingly new. If anything, all three web-series work well within the stereotypes associated with content for women. But there is such a thing as good stereotypes, and it's best used when you streamline content for one particular section.

That Saturday night I slept well, and I have the most cliched reason why. After binge-watching Girl In The City, Alisha and Ladies Room through the night, when the sun rose at 5 am, and I yawned my last yawn, I realised I was not alone. The million plus views on each of these shows combined, made me feel happy about the fact that we are finally making online shows for women, starring women. And I could swear I found it hard to find one shade of pink in there.

Updated Date: Jun 22, 2016 11:12 AM