Creating realistic, relatable but also often deeply unlikable characters in television seems like a fairly recent development. Character complexity is being gifted to viewers more readily than ever before and ABC series Please Like Me is leading the charge in Australia.
There’s lots to like about this series, not least of which is how often you find yourself disliking the characters- each lovely and intesnely watchable but seriously flawed, sometimes to a degree where you’ll thank God you don’t have to endure friends like that in real life…Or do you?
1. Mental Illness- the series explores it pretty thoroughly. Josh’s mother overdoses on painkillers in the opening episode and it successfully sets the tone for a series that – it could be argued- is about mental health. While Josh is obviously in a fairly unstable position himself (he pretty much has to be politely told that he’s gay), he goes to the aid of this flaling family member without much hesitation and that in itself is a striking concept. Support networks for mental health are often weak in themselves. How to deal with others’ problems when you have an abundance of your own?
This is something almost every character grapples with throughout Please Like Me but they don’t delve into the deep well of drama as much as they’re entitled to. While the various forms of mental illness on display are some dire, upsetting incarnations of serious problems, it never dictates the slightly euphoric, quirky tone of the show.
2. Lena Dunham tick of approval – It’s not impressive because of the star-power, trust us. Her tweet about the show in which she cooed “All I ever want is to be curled in bed watching Please Like Me. This show soothes my existential unrest. I love you,” is significant because she’s one of the foremost masters of realistic Gen Y writing. AND she’s managed to hit the nail on the head in describing much of the show’s appeal in it’s ability to soothe some ‘existential unrest’. It’s very realistic. Season two excels in an episode where it’s lead characters throw a wild house party but find themselves mostly too socially anxious to really want to engage with any of it’s attendees. Perfect.
3. Thomas is lovely to watch. Despite his many digs at his odd appearance throughout the series, Thomas is a thing to behold on screen. We’ve only ever really seen him in form as a comedian and occasional social commentator but he has natural acting ability. Awkward in all the right places and intensely believable, we’d love to see him do some more acting on the big screen.
Check out this naff US trailer for the show…
Please Like Me Seasons 3 is on ABC/ABC iview now. You can purchase the first two seasons on iTunes/Google Play now. Pump some of that hard earned into an Aussie series. Garn…