'The Guest Book' season 2 episode 8: Adhir Kalyan and Meera Kumbhani on 'Let me put you on a Brief hold'
'Let me put you on a Brief hold' is a beautiful story about two people going through a very similar dilemma 8,000 miles away without knowing it
The brilliantly titled 'Let me put you on a Brief hold,' marks season 2 episode 8 of arguably the funniest show on television, ‘The Guest Book.’ The TBS show saw yet another brilliant episode Tuesday, December 4, and it took the viewers all the way across the world. For the first time this season, a majority of the storyline will happen far, far away from Mabel Beach, where two young Indians have a very difficult decision to make.
Adhir Kalyan and Meera Rohit Kumbhani are the young generation of Indians trying to light-heartedly deal with a huge tragedy in their lives. One of the distractions they have on their hands is a seemingly cocky American customer Logan, portrayed by Jon Bass, who is on line for customer care regarding his phone. The parallels in their current life situations have them more connected to each other than either of them realizes.
Kumbhani points out: “Even when Bass's character first calls the customer service number, I imagine the audience would first sympathize with him - thinking, ‘Oh, yeah, I've been there.’ But where they haven't been is 8,000 miles across the world where ‘those customer service guys’ actually have this whole life going on that maybe people don't think about. And the fact that this one is so far from any stereotypes we usually see of Indian families - that's what's impactful in the end.”
It’s an episode that is as touching as it is funny. “What was so interesting to me about it was that even though the character I played was across the world from Bass’s character who is staying at ‘The Guest House’, they’re essentially going through the same thing without the other knowing it,” said Kalyan, who plays Vali, a young customer care executive determined to trouble the customer on the phone as much as he can. “It speaks to the idea that while we can sometimes make sweeping judgments about someone upon first interacting with them, we might not know what that person is going through, we might have more in common with them than we realize, and choosing a response that is kind and compassionate can oftentimes have a profound effect on that person."
Despite the light-hearted nature of the show, which resonates in season 2 episode 8 as well, the episode talks quite a bit about death, which is where the duo in the episode – Vali and Jazmine – use the distractions of games, competitions and even talking to Logan, to cope.
As Kumbhani stated: “In the actual moments of a person dying, especially when it is somebody old and maybe it's been a long road and the death is expected, there's too much work to be done to just sit in the emotion of it or take it in as it's happening. Instead, I think we distract ourselves with whatever possible - making sure that person goes painlessly, fighting with your brother, Jenga, whatever is around!”
She added further: “At some point it hits you like a brick - that this person is gone from your life. What's special, I think, is the way Jasmine and Vali deal with it together. Even in their little fights - I think they latch on to each other, because they're a team now. And even though they bickered through the whole thing, they showed up for each other. And though it's in ridiculous and petty ways, they gave each other the distractions they needed. Sometimes the bickering is what's needed."
Jasmine and Vali make for the perfect duo, with not only a great rapport between the characters, but also realistic chemistry between the actors. While Vali starts off as the primary protagonist of 'Let me put you on a Brief hold,' the smart and determined Jasmine holds her own and steals the show. She's no wallflower - she's used to stepping up when she has to.
"What I loved is how Jasmine and Vali's whole family story could be told in just a few pages of dialogue. That we learn so quickly, who these two people are and then we go on this whole mini-journey with them. Especially because we don't get to see stories like theirs on TV very much.”
Their camaraderie and team spirit make us wonder if season 3 should take ‘The Guest Book’ across the world to India, where Vali and Jasmine become the caretakers of the guest house. Kalyan seems to be all for it: “I’m not sure if the skills Vali displays at the call center are all that transferable to him running his own Guest House, but that could very well result in a comedy of errors, so why not?”
Don’t forget to watch season 2 episode 8 of ‘The Guest Book’ at 10:30 Tuesday, December 4, on TBS.