The Family Returns
The Family returned to Channel 4 last night for a second series. This time, cameras are following a British Indian family, the Grewals of West London – all nine of them, with five under one roof. And don’t forget the two dogs. The question is, will we warm to them the way we warmed to the Hughes last time?
As the episode opens, you are introduced to the mother and father, Sarbjit and Arvinder. As Arvinder lazes on the couch, he shouts to his wife upstairs to make him some tea. And while she’s at it, some paratha for breakfast too. Although Sarbjit comes across as a stereotypical Asian wife, reluctantly submissive, she clearly does care for her husband. Later on in the show, you see brief but telling moments between the two of them that make it clear that although they were thrown together in an arranged marriage they do love each other. The more I see Arvinder, the more I like him. He’s chauvinistic in some respects, and a loving husband/father in other respects. He’s also a total joker with some interesting quirks. Although we haven’t yet met all the children, I like Shay the most already. She’s streetwise and funny. As the daughter-in-law (and wife of eldest son Sunny), she’s been wholly accepted by the family as one of their own. There’s an interesting back-story with her mother, who has disowned her for marrying into a lower cast, which I’m sure will cause more drama as the series progresses. Tindy, the youngest, is also quite the joker. Whilst he clearly is some kind of playboy, he likes to appear humble in front of his family. He stumbles quite badly when his mother finds a woman’s belt in their car. Sarbjit, who is grossly overweight by anyone’s judgement, then decides to try on the belt – just to make sure it’s not hers, of course! Just one of the funny moments in the first episode.
For now, the Grewals have got my attention. I look forward to meeting daughter Kaki and her puppeteer-ex-Bollywood-actor-husband Jeet. I’m laughing at the mere thought of what he could be like! In some respects, the new series will re-enforce Asian family stereotypes. It’s clear the Grewals live a daily life that is heavily influenced by culture and tradition. But what matters is that they are an eccentric but ultimately loving and caring family. As the series goes on, I’m sure they’ll provide lots of laughs and many reasons for us to keep tuning in.