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MY3 Series Review: Barely quirky, mostly bland, and a missed opportunity- Cinema express

MY3 Series Review: Barely quirky, mostly bland, and a missed opportunity

Published: 17th September 2023

Watching the robotic-based drama MY3 reminded me of one of my earliest exposures to international shows. Remember Small Wonder, the sci-fi show with layers of family drama and comedy? It wasn't just my first English TV show but also one that delightfully skipped the aesthetics of the sci-fi genre in return for a domestic atmospheric setting, thereby making it more accessible. Closer home, there was Shankar’s Jeans, which had a touch of humanoid involvement. But as much as these creations might seem rudimentary now, they served their purpose in the 80s, 90s, and even the early 00s. It visually stimulated a discerning audience and offered something new and engaging for an audience at the throes of newer avenues. MY3 does very much the same... and that's far from positive because the makers only do what Small Wonder did... and fail to cash in on the technological, and storytelling advancements that have come into the picture almost 40 years since the English series first aired. 

Cast: Hansika Motwani, Mugen Rao, Shanthnu Bhagyaraj, Janani, and others

Director: M Rajesh

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar

Borrowing its plot from the Korean show I’m Not a Robot, MY3 is about a socially aloof and solitary heir of a wealthy business empire, Aditya (Mugen Rao). His childhood trauma leaves him with a human being allergy (we feel you, brother). While it feeds into the present generation's social battery meter, Aditya’s backstory never lends itself to a sense of empathy. Even when he acts all aloof on the outside, and cries to the scenes of Dil Bechara in solitude, we don't really feel sorry for him. But again, why are we still reluctant to show socially aloof characters, without dumping a tragedy down their childhood? Moving on, after introducing a barrage of simply dumb, and intended-but-not-so-funny characters, we now see a group of robotic scientists — Elias (Shantnu), Keerthana (Janani), Sam (Shakthi), Ram (Abhishek) — who are developing humanoid MY3, which takes the appearance of Mythri (Hansika Motwani), Elias’ former lover and a scientist herself. After a bunch of convenient turns, MY3 ends up being bought by Aditya, and in due course, instances push the real Mythri to act as the robot MY3. 

Set in Ooty, MY3 tries hard to lend itself to the aesthetics that Korean shows offer. But what lets the show down are the poorly produced green room shots, the never-ending running gag of name confusion between Ram and Sam, which makes me realise how irritated Madhesh from Jeans would have felt. After bombarding the show with Tom and Jerry-like background music, making a joke out of science by building a tech-savvy lab in a few days, and reiterating Bhajan Lal Sait stereotypes, (which actually makes me quite astonished how the community is restricted by that one name), MY3 goes all guns blazing to become an emotional love story. And boy! does this detour stand out like a sore thumb. In places, it leaves us with scenes that are laughable for its contrasting viewpoints. In a show that wants to highlight the workload of Indian housewives, it leaves no stone unturned to direct sexist remarks towards Keerthana, the only woman in the scientist group. Now, I know the show isn’t about feminism, but it isn't like there is anything good in the show for us to gloss over these missteps. 

Directed by noted filmmaker Rajesh, the lack of comic timing, and the staleness of the jokes is deeply worrying since it is made by the man who gave us Boss Engira Bhaskaran, Siva Manasula Sakthi, and Oru Kal Oru Kannadi. Also, why make a film about a robot, and incessantly make fun of robotic science?

While Mugen does put up an honest performance, it isn't charming enough. The show doesn't deliver on the aesthetics either. There is never a moment when romance is in the air, and the attempts at weaving a romantic story for the ages only make things more artificial. The series also tries to bring in several characters with quirky elements. For example, you have the stereotypical evil relatives who are painfully caricaturish. Even the initial character arc of Mythri being a smart scientist who devises interesting gadgets is woefully underutilised. The old Rajesh might have dialled up the quirkiness to make it a worthy adaptation of a K-drama, but the filmmaker seems to have lost the plot, in more ways than one. 

MY3 does try hard, but that’s not enough to make this an engaging show. It is clear that the show doesn't take itself too seriously, and the best example of this approach is how Hansika's dubbing is so out of sync. If your lead isn't taking the show seriously, why should we bother? As I reminisce on the faults in MY3, I wonder if Rajesh's target audience were humanoids, who cannot think but just consume what is given to them. That isn't a small wonder anymore.

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