Maid  Netflix Review – A Compelling 10-Episode long ‘Misery Porn’
Maid Netflix Review: For me, opposing marriage and childbirth was always rooted in how much I hated living through misery or how much I detested being a miser. But now, all of it feels pretty inevitable, to be very honest. Especially if you’re building a career in one of the costliest cities of India.
Being poor is extremely stressful. Consumers of Indian entertainment have a fair idea of what I am talking about. Indian media has successfully managed to paint the sorry picture of the country’s poor by conveniently othering them and how.
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But the Netflix mini-series – Maid has made it palpable. So much so that it felt like I was almost living through it all. This 10-episode long reality check ends up being much more than what it appears to be at first. But let this not be mistaken as Maid being just about the hardships of survival, because the moments of uplift have their fair share of humor and levity. So, it could be really sad at some point, could make you feel like you’re choking up on that lump in your throat but the very next scene could have you giggling at the innocence and the sheer intent it is written and made with.
The most important and maybe the biggest selling point for the series is that it does not shy away from complexities in people’s personalities. It’s not just their financial potential, making it your everyday sad tale of those who cannot make ends meet. Believe it is a fresh and nuanced take on all kinds of relationships – mother/daughter, husband/wife, mother/father, employer/employee, rich/poor, the abuser/abused.
What makes Maid on Netflix interesting and worth a watch?
The very thing that the writer of Fleabag had going for her – breaking the fourth fall, enabling the narration to plunge into the protagonists’ imagination. What is greater – a woman of colour or different ethnicity trying to fight inequality or a white woman escaping domestic abuse? Can’t choose. Can’t prioritize but the trick lies in knowing how and when to address both.
A line that has stayed with me –
“So you’re looking for a big fat government handout because you are a jobless, white trash piece of shit, am I right?”
This is an excerpt from the protagonists’ imagination. She imagines being slandered in this fashion by a social worker. This automatically boosts her relatability quotient up by notches. Of course, what the social worker actually does is ask her to fill up a form. But think about it? Don’t we all spiral into self-deprecating behavior at the sight of slightest struggle?
Another incredible tool used by the writers are the numbers flashing on the screen representing her budgetary calculus. It’s extremely haunting and dark but it’s also very telling of how literally every penny counts.
What I love about Maid the most is that it isn’t just circling crisis and drudgery. It’s about embracing the need for help and being able to ask for it and thereby being able to build upon what you already have. But the star of the multiple stories that the series tries to narrate is the telling exchange between a mother and her daughter – each other’s worst enemies but also somehow each other’s best advocates.
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Set in the States that harbors thousands of homeless people. More than 900,000 cases of domestic abuse are reported almost annually. Alcoholic and drug abuse figures are shooting through the roof. The rich continue to flaunt at the cost of the gaunt misery on the streets.
Amid so much happening, Maid successfully shines a warm light on what is a very personal yet not so personal story that’s both entertaining and enlightening. It’s not your everyday dreary take on the widening gap between the rich and the poor. But it could be emotionally challenging for some of us and that said, it is an exhausting watch as it should be.