Please Like Me is back! And here we are again, having to review a series that almost no one in this country watches and that’s only on our screens once more thanks to American money. Not that this stops Fairfax’s finest saying this kind of thing about it…
Perhaps there is indeed a limit to how much they can take of Josh’s snide remarks and withering put-downs. And if so, the question remains, does that go for the audience as well? As time goes on, Josh’s redeemable qualities are in danger of becoming fewer and fewer.
There’s only so much a cute lip-sync – of which there is a particularly gorgeous one in this episode, involving a teddy bear on a bus – can do to endear someone who is so consistently, so apparently pathologically nasty.
Of course, a reviewer not engaged in this kind of doublethink* would have pointed out that the lip-syncing teddy bear scene had nothing at all to do with the story and was most likely there as something fans can snip out and upload to the social network of their choice. So, not so much a “particularly gorgeous” scene, more the type of cynical content seeding strategy we’ve all so missed from when Chris Lilley was the King of ABC Comedy.
As for the rest of the episode, there was the usual start-of-series upheaval that will form the backbone of coming plots: housemate Tom and his girlfriend are moving out, while things aren’t going so well for Josh and Arnold. (Oh, no!) Mind you, the endless dramas about Arnold being too hot for Josh might have a bit more weight if they didn’t feel like a way to keep Josh’s hot BF around while addressing the somewhat unlikely nature of their long-term relationship.
After all, Arnold is now pulling hot dudes every time he goes out: the only drama here is how Josh is going to cope only oh wait Josh has never had a thought he doesn’t instantly express so we’ve already gone through the “oh no he’s leaving me” scene a half-dozen times already.
And it looks like all that American money’s having an impact on the show, because certain scenes have a distinctly Woody Allen vibe to them. Although, as anyone who’s seen Crisis In Six Scenes will know, that sort of thing doesn’t work so well on the small screen. Even if it is Woody Allen doing it.
But that’s twentysomething hangout shows for you. Workplace sitcoms might be stale, but at least with workplace sitcoms occasionally you can have an episode that isn’t just about everyone sitting around talking about their feelings. Especially when their feelings aren’t amusing comedy feelings but tend more towards whining about being left out of a threesome** and having to get rid of your teddy bears.
Our advice: don’t bother with Please Like Me, check out this week’s Rosehaven instead. Five episodes in, it’s starting to find its feet, and this week’s episode had more comedy, warmth and funny angst in it than Please Like Me’s had in its first three series. With not a lip-sync teddy bear sequence in sight.
**Which could be funny if done in any matter of ways – physical comedy as Josh is increasingly pushed out of events, a Seinfeld-like riff on threesome etiquette (does someone take the lead, is it two on one, can you tag people in, etc etc) – but as usual PLM just goes for the blandly dramatic in the hope that the idea will provide entertainment where the execution does not.