Normally we see television shows the same way you do: by illegally downloading them from torrents a few weeks after they first aired because we totally forgot they were on. Sometimes, when it’s a particularly dodgy local effort we know no-one else is going to record, we’ll watch them as they happen. But today’s post is about something that almost never happens: we saw a television show that hasn’t even aired yet.
Why someone would send us a link to a place that re-directed us to another place and then required a password to get to yet another place that contained the first episode of the second series of Please Like Me, we don’t know. Oh wait, yes we do: because the “industry insider” who sent us the link thought it was hilarious how little we enjoyed the first series and wanted to know what we’d think of the second. So unknown benefactor, here goes:
1): We didn’t like it the first time so we can hardly expect anyone to pay attention to our complaining now. Yes, the first series of Please Like Me was a wildly uneven mix of old folk acting confused and Thomas hanging out with his buddies acting confused and also kissing hot boys. It was also largely based around the idea that juxtaposing mawkish sentiment and blanket rudeness (*cough The Office cough*) would somehow create comedy. But as the show was successful enough – by “successful” we mean “sold overseas” – to get a second series, we can’t really blame writer / creator / star Josh Thomas for serving up more of the same.
2): We’re not big fans of Thomas anyway. So you’d think having a character tell Thomas’ character within the first minute of the first episode of series two that “maybe the reason people don’t respond to you well in nightclubs is because of your sad-as-shit face” would at least get a laugh out of us. But then Thomas – who takes this comment pretty well, presumably because he wrote it because it’s his television show – starts all but dancing a jig and turning the leprechaun voice up to eleven and we’re already looking at the clock. But to stress: writing a sitcom that’s tonally The Office if The Office was 80% about David Brent and 60% of that was David Brent trying to get laid has worked for him in the past, so why would he change now?
3): It’s pretty gay. A drag acts sings the title song, there’s guys in spangly shorts, two dudes are making out on the dancefloor, Thomas wears a “I [heart] Swedish Boys” t-shirt and we’re barely four minutes in. We note this because the “other” ABC comedy that was pretty gay – Outland – received a fairly negative response. Not to mention the rumours that the first series of Please Like Me was bumped from ABC1 to ABC2 when Thomas came out as gay and re-wrote the script to make his character openly gay. Overseas money, you guys! Forcing the ABC to be more tolerant.
4): Thomas’ love life is once again a major focus of the show. Well, what else did you expect? He’s moping about a boy he can’t have, he’s sitting across from this boy in his loungeroom with a cushion on his lap because LOLBONERS. Have we mentioned that it really, really helps to like Thomas if you’re going to watch this show?
5): The first scene that doesn’t actually feature Thomas has someone talking about him. “Whenever Poochie’s not on screen, all the other characters should be asking, ‘where’s Poochie?'” Sorry, not sure why this came to mind.
This actually feels like a Thomas stand-up monologue that he’s given his (on-screen) mother to say because he wanted to get it on-air but his character is currently too depressed about his tragic love life to deliver it. Doesn’t make it any less annoying though. Yes, we remember his mum was an annoying character and drug-addled ranter in series one; that doesn’t mean an extended blathering monologue from her that feels a heck of a lot like something Thomas would say is either funny or entertaining. But yet again, this crap worked for him the first time around.
6): Josh picks up and holds a baby! Don’t burn all your “A” material just yet, there’s nine and a half more episodes to go yet. Plus that third series that’s already been announced. What else can Thomas pick up? Oh wait, he’s already tried to pick up a guy and failed. Maybe “picking up” is going to be the theme of this season – each week Thomas picks up various objects while also trying to pick up various romantic interests. Yeah, our attention’s wandering a bit.
7): Ok, this might be different this series: is it us or is Thomas actually a bit of a prick? He has a scene early on with his dad which is basically Thomas just baiting him, insulting him, or laughing at him when he tries to be serious. Sure, his dad was a bit of a nob in the first series, but considering how his dad seems to be making an effort this time around having Thomas act like a prick makes him seem like, well, a prick. Which we’ve been told is part of the point of the show, but if that’s the case he’s doing it wrong.
8): And so it goes. It’s safe to say not a whole lot happens this episode (at least until the “crazieeeee” mum turns up at the end to blow everything up). It’s the usual run of strings-free (or is it?) sex, baby sitting, baby shitting, and sing-alongs, because while this is billed as a “comedy” it’s really one of those “hang-out” dramedies where audiences are expected to be so much in love with the characters they’ll be content to just, you know, hang out with them. They’re friends for people who don’t have any friends.
Well fuck that. We might not have any friends but that’s why we have books and alcohol and the box set of Frontline. This kind of insipid lightweight crap is a waste of time for everyone not collecting a pay check from it. Being amazingly generous even for us, we’ll admit that if you’re desperate for any kind of portrayal of twenty-something life this does contain that. But then it also contains a bunch of stuff about his parents. Who aren’t that funny either.
Look, it’s just more of the same. There aren’t any big changes that we could spot – Caitlin Stacey isn’t back yet, but that’s hardly a shock considering how little her character had to do in series one – so if you enjoyed it last time you’ll probably keep on making horrible mistakes with your life. Wow, aren’t we terrible! Still, if acting kind of bitchy is working out for Thomas…