By Joginder Tuteja
Hollywood television has been known for its numerous sitcoms over the decades. In India, the genre has been tried and though in the 80s and the 90s there were a few that left a mark, of late there haven’t been many success stories. In these times when an offering from the West, Indebted, arrives on an OTT platform [Sony LIV], I was curious to check out how it would turn out to be.
Thankfully, Dan Levy puts together a 12 episode and 20 minutes each sitcom that makes for a breezy and fun watch. A family affair, it is clean and entertaining with the kind of dialogues and visuals that do not make you look the other way with even kids around. Instead, there is a lot in there that actually makes you play it around with family members across age groups due to the funny appeal that it carries right through with dialogues, reactions and pauses (all of which is really required for a true sitcom to work) coming together quite well.
The plot is set right at the beginning within first 5 minutes as well, what with a young couple [Adam Pally, Abby Elliott] with a six year old son finding the parents [Steven Weber, Fran Drescher] at their home as they have gone broke after frequent splurges, especially their last long vacation at South Africa. Now ‘indebted’, they choose to stay with their kids, also comprising of the daughter [Jessy Hodges] who has her own business to run.
As is the narrative when it comes to sitcoms, Indebted too picks up a light topic in every episode and then makes for a happy viewing. It could be about relationship between husband-wife, parents-kid, daughter-in-law and in-laws, sisterly bond, uncle-nephew etc. etc., at the core of it there is a strong sense of family bond all around. This is what makes it a really warm show to watch as well because a lot is being conveyed without thrusting down anyone’s throat and at the end of it all there are some sweet and honey moments that keep the smiles on.
The performances too are consistent right through, though personally for me it was Abby Elliott who stood out amongst all. Other than the fact that she is really beautiful and has a neighbor next door appeal to her, she is also plain natural and never once overdoes her act. Despite the exaggerations required for the genre, she balances it out as well and is a delight to watch. As a matter of fact even Adam Pally does quite well and he plays to the genre with his high energy act and spontaneous response, which is his key strength.
As for the parents, Steven Weber indeed comes across as the gentleman of the house who has a fun side as well, what with his quirks around driving his car bringing on some delightful moments. On the other hand Fran Drescher, though quite experienced in the genre, comes across as way too loud and again, though this is the need of the genre, a bit of a control there could have helped. Jessy Hodges is practically the fifth character in this whole family affair and as a supporting character per se, she understands the relevance of her part and sticks to it.
This is how Indebted turns out to be as a whole too, what with sticking to the mood, tonality and relevance of the subject at hand. It doesn’t go and touch those really high peaks but then it doesn’t go low either. It stays consistent, constant and balanced, hence bringing on just the right smiles and chuckles right through its duration.
Play it on for some relaxed times.