Give “After Life” a Quick Binge

I am taking a break from “summer reading recommendations” to share a Netflix series that I recently watched and thoroughly enjoyed…”After Life” is a “quick binge” (6 episodes each under 30 minutes). It stars British actor/comedian Ricky Gervais as Tony, a small-town journalist whose beloved wife of 25 years has died of cancer. He has lost his will to live and he deals (or doesn’t deal) with his grief by adopting an attitude of doing whatever he wants and telling everybody exactly what he thinks and when he gets tired of it all, he plans to kill himself…except that he feels an obligation to take care of his dear dog.

“You can’t just go around being rude to people!” protests Matt, his boss and brother-in-law. “You can, though,” Tony answers. “That’s the beauty of it.”

I know that Ricky Gervais is very funny, but he has his “own brand” of humor that some find offensive. However, this show is serious and thoughtful…it has an amazing level of depth, humility and kindness. Without giving too much away, Tony manages to get out of bed every day and lead an existence with very little happiness or hope. He manages to anger but not completely alienate those closest to him. People annoy him, probably because they go on living despite the fact his world has ended. He claims not to care about his own life to the point where he deliberately puts himself in harm’s way, yet the only people he is hurting by his behavior are the people who still care about him.

This show is dark, touching, honest, funny, heart-warming and beautifully acted—there are many very likable characters. It is a subject matter that has no right to be funny. The humor is always served with a sweet side of sadness…there is great balance and I highly recommend! (Warning: the series did make Kelly sob on a plane J)

IMDB - After Life

-Gary Weiss, August 2019




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