Smother-In-Law is a Brazilian sitcom about an eccentric mother-in-law who hates her son’s wife. She makes it her job to disrupt their lives as she goes to live with them. The series is currently streaming on Netflix.
Isadir (Rodrigo Sant’anna) goes to live with her son, Carlos (Rafael Zulu) and his wife Alice (Lidi Lisboa) at the beginning of the lockdown. After the lockdown ends, she refuses to move out. This doesn’t sit well with Alice, who has a rivalry with Isadir.
Isadir hates Alice and thinks that her son deserves someone better. She purposely disrupts their lives and creates problems. This goes on for a while.
Alice finally has had enough and gives Carlos an ultimatum to choose between Isadir and her. She moves out of their house.
Isadir is ecstatic with the turn of events. But this soon changes when she learns that Alice is pregnant. Along with Carlos, she makes a plan to bring Alice back home. Alice accepts their apology and returns back home.
Everyone is happy about the pregnancy, but the celebration is cut short when the police arrives at the situation. Isadir is arrested because the police find drugs in the car she had used. The series ends with a handcuffed Isadir sitting in the back of the police car.
The entire cast had undeniable chemistry. They are able to back each other up with quirky, hilarious dialogues, maintaining the pace of the show.
Rodrigo Sant’anna is known for his roles as an old woman. He plays the character of Isadir admirably. His antics and personal touches to the scene are entertaining but sometimes feel over the top.
Rafael Zulu has a passive character whose only job is to diffuse the fight between his wife and mother. Despite having a small screen time, he plays the role quite well.
It is refreshing to watch the character of the daughter-in-law, who isn’t inherently submissive and falls in the trap of gender roles. Lidi Lisboa, who plays this role, has done a fantastic job.
The main plot of the sitcom, the rivalry between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, is relatable to many, allowing viewers to connect to them on a deeper level.
Despite being a little wacky and outlandish, Isadir breaks a lot of stereotypes that usually accompany old women. She is unapologetically herself and confident about her sexuality.
Since the series does not have English dubbing, many jokes and punchlines get lost in the subtitles. The language barrier stops some viewers from enjoying the essence of the show.
The obnoxious laugh track and the loud, tacky background noise feel a bit unnecessary and came off as bothersome in more than one instance.
There is the use of a homophobic slur in the first episode as a punchline. The joke is quite objectable and uncalled for. There are quite a few instances of Isadir calling Alice ‘cow’, which is quite regressive.
Some characters feel forced into the plot and serve no real purpose. Quite a few jokes are repetitive and lose their humor after a while.
Smother-In-Law unsuccessfully tries to recreate the traditional 90s sitcoms, with the laugh tracks, the regressive jokes, and stereotypical portrayal of many characters. The series could have been a source of nostalgia but comes off as tacky. It can be watched for fun, lighthearted time.
Also Read: Smother-In-Law summary and ending explained