TVF 'Pitchers' review: Just like beer, this intelligent web series flows freely
Pitchers, the web series by YouTube humour-heavyweights The Viral Fever (TVF), isn’t about most people. Yet somehow, it is about everyone. Everyone, who is tired of his or her stupid job, everyone who wants to quit and everyone who wants to start afresh.
“Tu kya hai? (What are you?)” Often India’s young working class asks itself that question when it wakes up in the morning to get ready for work. “What are you doing?” it wonders in front of the mirror. Few have the courage to come up with an answer. Most just tuck in their shirt and continue with the drill.
But then, Pitchers, the web series by YouTube humour-heavyweights The Viral Fever (TVF), isn’t about most people. Yet somehow, it is about everyone. Everyone, who is tired of his or her job, everyone who wants to quit and everyone who wants to start afresh.
Pitchers, a reference to pitch - a talk given to persuade someone to buy what you’re selling, and also to the large jug that holds your brew, is a show about four friends who have quit their jobs to work on their million-dollar idea, their ‘startup’.
Naveen, Jitu, Yogi and Mandal have high-paying jobs. What they also have is an idea, a dream -- to start their own company, to be masters of their will instead of being slaves for their employers. And it all begins at a bar when Naveen, whose brainchild the idea for the startup is, gets drunk and is inspired by the words of his senior and mentor Bhati, an entrepreneur. “Tu beer hai,” Bhati tells him, “aur teri company, bottle.”
That’s when Naveen decides to pop out of the bottle and quit his job to work towards his dream. His friends, who trust him blindly, quit their jobs without batting an eye and follow Naveen into the unknown.
Perhaps that’s how the show’s theme can be described best – a venture into the unknown.
The five episodes of season one follow the four friends’ through their struggles, from soaring baby corn prices to rejections from investors to fund their startup. Encouraged by making it to the finals of NASSCOM Product Conclave, the guys invest all their time and money into their idea.
Jitu, played by the brilliant Jitendra Kumar, is the coder. He juggles his married life, a tyrant and disapproving father and marathon coding sessions for their product.
Naveen, played by Naveen Kasturia, is the team leader. He is committed to see them through the storm and is ready to sacrifice anything for his startup and to reach ‘where magic happens’. Naveen is the one who takes on the heavy task of making all the important decisions for their product. He is also the one who adds an emotional touch to the show.
Yogi, played by the TVF’s founder Arunabh Kumar, is the team’s armour. Yogi quit his high-paying MBA job in a second to work on the startup. He is often abusive and brash and always acts the tough guy. But the team needs his brains as much as it needs his brawn. He is the guy who gets shit done.
This brings us to Mandal. Abhay Mahajan, as Mandal is the heart of the show. Brilliantly acted, Mandal is the guy who ties the team together. He is the guy who always cheers them on and picks up the pieces when things are falling apart. Like Mandal says in the season finale, “I am a zero. But, when I get behind these three, their value increases tenfold.”
The show is brilliantly written and acted. The casting, done by a fellow TVF member Nidhi Bisht, works well as the four friends seem very real and raw. It’ll be unfair to categorise Pitchers as a buddy-comedy. Of course it's funny and is about friends, but so are other shows, such as Baked, on YouTube. But where Pitchers stands out is in its intellect. It’s very intelligent yet never comes off as pretentious. It never overdoes the buddy-comedy thing and avoids clichés.
Probably one of the reasons why each episode of TVF's Pitchers has more than a million views is because the Indian audience has been craving for a show like this, one that takes its viewers seriously. The show has also been ranked in IMDB's Top 250 TV list at rank 50.
At about 40 minutes each, episodes are crisp and the entire season can be binge-watched in a single day on the TVF Play website or on YouTube. A must watch, Pitchers, simply put, is miles ahead of the curve.
P.S. - We hope there is a season two.
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