Where do I start? I love Ricky Gervais, I really do. I think he’s the funniest guy who has ever set foot on this beautiful earth. I appreciate his whole attitude and already had lots of fun not only watching his stand-up or his interviews with some of my friends but – and that is the really great part for me – discussing what Ricky just said. No matter if it’s about religion, about the barriers of a joke or all his actions on twitter. Everything about this man is pure gold.
And now, there’s this new show on Netflix. After Life. Alright, I thought, the title is a little bit strange for something that’s supposed to be funny. Because that’s what it’s going to be, right? It’s Ricky Gervais. It has to be funny. Well, it sort of is funny. But it’s more funny on the dark side. Jesus, the side is really dark.
Tony, a local newspaper writer, lost his beautiful wife of 25 years to cancer. And that’s the breaking point for this character, because he realizes that he just doesn’t care anymore. Without his beloved wife his life just doesn’t make sense anymore, everything stopped shining since she went away. Tony is depressive, thinks about killing himself. Only the fact that he has to take care of his dog prevents him from committing suicide. Tony decides that, if he has to continue, he will do it on his own conditions. He will live his life the way he wants to – without any hesistation to hurt everybody else along the way.
It’s heartbreaking to see Tony. Carrying all the grief, so much of it, that he doesn’t know where to put it anymore. This character feels so real, because he’s honest with his feelings, there’s no “oh, everything will turn out alright, life is still great“. Just sadness, every single second of the day.
But then the people around him make him realize that he doesn’t want to die. All those strange people, who in some sort are all lost themselves, save him. These characters around the leader are a big part of why this show is that brilliant. We, the audience, meet that many lovely and well thought through people, it’s a dream.
There’s the strange guy, who stalks the local newspaper, because his only dream left is that one day he’ll be featured in it. We get to see a strange friendship growing between Tony and a local prostitute, that is so absurd, but also just lovely to watch. We meet the old gorgeous lady, who is grieving about her husband, but still is patiently listening to Tony, who just wants to tell her how bad he feels.
We don’t meet these people just for fun, Gervais wants to tell us something: Every single person on this earth has suffered, just like Tony. There are no people in existence – except for babies maybe – that didn’t had to go through loss, grief and pure sadness. And Tony realizes this. He starts to understand, that everybody has their own horrible sadness to carry, but there are different ways of dealing with it: Some sit on the bench on the graveyard all day, some get addicted to heroin, some even just want to have a glance of fame by making it in the local newspaper once… and others just want to tell the world how sad and broke they are in every second of their existence. But by meeting with all these people Tony starts feeling less alone and slowly but surely starts getting back to live his life.
Of course all the tragedy gets some counterweight with some really, really funny moments. From the brilliant discussions with his postman up to Tony telling a fat, red-haired boy that even if he would be a pedophile, that boy surely doesn’t have to be scared of him. After Life isn’t just a drama, it’s also a comedy.
This show has made me so emotional. It’s amazing how lost I felt in one moment and only few seconds after I sat on the couch laughing my butt off. It’s brilliant. And it shows the spectrum of life doesn’t it? Sure, you’ll be down and sad in your life, but in the next moment something could happen, that just makes you smile for the rest of the day. Ricky Gervais perfectly depicts the emotions that life brings to us.
I can’t wait for Season 2.