‘Roar’ Uses Outrageous Plots to Highlight Outrageous Truths

In Apple TV+’s new series, Meera Syal of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ brings laugh-out-loud comedy to thought-provoking satire as the “woman who returned her husband.”

Ishani Nath

April 15, 2022

‘Roar’ Uses Outrageous Plots to Highlight Outrageous Truths
Meera Syal and Bernard White (Apple)

“In America, if you don’t like your husband, simply exchange him and get a new husband.”

This suggestion would be a joke in any other context, but in Apple TV+’s new series Roar, it is a real possibility. The eight-episode anthology, which starts streaming on April 15, uses satire and magical realism to highlight the realities many women experience. Insecure’s Issa Rae is a novelist who periodically becomes invisible in public spaces and business meetings, embodying how Black women are all too often overlooked and ignored. Big Little Lies’s Nicole Kidman is a daughter, caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s, who discovers she can relive moments from her past by eating photographs. GLOW’s Betty Gilpin marries a man who keeps her on a shelf like a literal trophy. And in episode seven, the iconic Meera Syal is “The Woman Who Returned Her Husband.”

Syal — best known for co-writing Bhaji on the Beach and her laugh-out-loud performances in The Kumars at No. 42 and Goodness Gracious Me — plays Anu Bansal, who realizes on her 60th birthday that her marriage no longer brings her happiness. Rather than stick it out, she takes her friend’s advice and returns her husband. On the surface, it’s an outrageous plot, but like all good satire, Roar, and specifically Syal’s episode, uses absurdity to highlight outrageous truths — particularly for South Asian women.