In Mumbai you have a choice. You can stay in, and between bouts of worrying about family and friends in Delhi, Ahmedabad, and other towns which are equally overwhelmed but less in the news, between talking to others about loved ones they have lost suddenly, you can try to drown yourself in a gushing stream of multi-season TV shows. “Binge watching is hazardous to your health,” as that famous mental-health consultant, Washington Post, told us. So we watch only one episode at a time. But we watch several shows during the day, and take the recommended time off between shows to make tea, and exercise the muscles of our core. We also do alertness exercises now and then. For example, right now, I have set myself the goal of choosing a favourite among Peaky Blinders, Shadow and Bone, Friends!, Ugly Delicious, and Call My Agent.
The first season of the French serial Dix pour cent (10%), searchable as Call My Agent on Netflix, turned out to be unexpectedly good. Each episode features a real-life film star, whose agent belongs to a fictional company called ASK. Each gets into an unbelievable situation, which the agents try to retrieve by putting together a complex and unworkable solution. In spite of all these hilarious rushings about to no end, things always work out in the end in an unforeseen way. After a few days of roflmao it struck me that the absurd stories reminded me of Wodehouse. There is no Jeeves working behind the scenes to set everything right, and there is no one Wooster, but the agency serves very well as a Drones Club. All the agents and their assistants are as barmy as a Fotheringay-Phipps. But set aside the background. The most Wodehousean (if there is such a word) part of the serial is the plot, with the slowly mounting absurdities which collapse like a failed souffle, out of the ashes of which (to wildly mix metaphors which no man has mixed before) rises a perfectly acceptable solution.
I understand that as the serial became more and more popular in France, bigger names began to express their willingness to be on it. Eventually there were episodes featuring Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Huppert, and others. I will continue to watch the remaining seasons in the hope that the screenplay remains as fresh as it starts off.