AFTERLIFE SEASON #1- RICKY GERVAIS- NETFLIX

My wife and I sometimes talk about how we’d react if the other unexpectedly died. Morbid subject to be sure, but I think it crosses most couples minds once or twice. I’ve always stated honestly that I want to go first. I’d rather be dead, then try and “go on” afterwards. That’s how painful it seems to me. That’s also where we find our main character “Tony” played brilliantly, though I highly suspect much of it is based on real life thoughts, by Ricky Gervais.

This first season is only 6 episodes long, at 30 minutes each so it goes by pretty quick. Saw Ricky on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, and he said it shot in about 6-7 weeks which is pretty good clip.Overall , I enjoyed it quite a bit. I have not seen any of Ricky Gervais’s movies, so I’ve never really seen him act before. I’ve seen all of his stand up, so I knew going in there was going to be some biting comedy in it, and it didn’t disappoint. One of the things that fascinated me about this series is that Ricky really can act, and in the more serious parts of the “dramedy” you really felt for this character and what he was going through.

The rest of the cast is also pretty stellar also.It features a British cast, and I only recognized a few of them. The ones I did recognize, David Bradley(Lord Walder Frey-Game of Thrones, Harry Potter)and Paul Kaye(Thoros- Game of Thrones), playing Tony’s Dad and Shrink respectively, showed  a comedic side to them that I had not seen before. David Bradley has great comedic timing, and has some great one liners as Tony’s hospice care dad. Other cast standouts for me were Penelope Hilton “Anne”-A fellow grieving spouse who becomes a bit of a kindred spirit, Roisin Conaty – playing  prost- sex worker “Daphne”, and David Earl playing a really well done eccentric character “Brian”.Hope all five of these folks are in season 2. Cast totalled 12 , and all had some really well written and acted scenes with Gervais. Great casting!!

I’ve not seen the British version of the office, but I suspect the core of this show taking place in a newspaper bullpen, for lack of a better term, will draw some comparisons to the iconic show. The language is much, much more salty though. “Cunt” apparently doesn’t carry the weight overseas, that it does here. As with Gervais’s stand up, no subject is really taboo, but every single joke landed for me. That’s rare for me with any show. It is a bit of rollercoaster in that aspect. One minute your reacting to this shockingly funny joke, and 5 minutes later your feeling sad emotion for these characters who are dealing with death, shortness of our lives and the painful nuances of humanity. It really is quite the writing feat.

There is a brutal honesty to the series also. That comes from the self destructive behaviour that depression can bring about.It’s mostly met with humour, but it is there and plays an underlying theme throughout the series. if you get offended easily by jokes on a variety of subjects,  from death, to suicide, to pedophilia, to sex work, to- well , just about any taboo subject you can think of you may not want to take a look at this one. If you decide not to, your truly missing out on a lot of great character development, character building and great acting. The British make it look so goddamn easy most of the time.

Few other notes, I loved the way this show was shot and the locales it was shot in. Beautiful cinematography. Did make the seedier aspects of the show seem a bit far fetched, but it’s a minor detail. It’s about 3 hours of watching in total, and makes a great journey of loss, healing, discovery, acceptance, and hope, against a back drop of some of the filthiest jokes you’ll ever see in a series this year. Highly recommend you give it a watch

Til next time

Scott

 

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