Seriously, can you Please Like Me?

Welcome to a post in which we do two things we know you love:

  1. Quote extensively from a news story and get all annoyed about it.
  2. Slag off Josh Thomas.

From TV Tonight

ABC’s mixed messages on Please Like Me

ABC has bumped Please Like Me to a later timeslot after just one episode of its third season.

To be fair, it did debut with ratings of 129,000. But wait, it’s not Please Like Me’s fault…

ABC is replacing UK series The Musketeers at 8:30pm with a Sherlock replay, which pushes the local comedy to 10pm.

Last week The Musketeers drew 320,000 viewers, while Please Like Me averaged just 129,000 viewers. Despite being a critical hit, the Josh Thomas comedy is yet to attract a popular audience.

But then how can it, when ABC has never given it a decent timeslot across its three seasons?

TV Tonight goes on to talk about how Please Like Me started on ABC2 where it rated badly, but then how after it got lots of awards it got a run on ABC, albeit not in an established comedy slot…

ABC finally moved it to the primary channel ….in a week where it was over-crowded with new comedies The Ex-PM and Sammy J and Randy in Rickett’s Lane. That left Please Like Me to run Thursdays, but not in the 8:30 slot that had previously been allocated to Upper Middle Bogan.

Upper Middle Bogan? That ended, what, almost year ago?

As for this new comedy glut we’re experiencing right now, maybe audiences voted with their feet and didn’t watch Please Like Me? Kinda like how they did watch when comedies they liked moved timeslot (The Chaser’s War on Everything, Mad As Hell)…except the opposite of that.

Put it this way, in TV history there have been plenty of examples of shows getting a boost from airing directly after very popular shows (The D-Generation airing after The Young Ones, for example), but there are also examples where the reverse is true. And when it comes to Please Like Me, Australian audiences just don’t like it, despite everything the critics and the people who decide who to give awards to keep telling them.

But back to TV Tonight…

Why didn’t ABC wait until it had a Wednesday night slot for the show? The answer may lie in producer deals with US cable network Pivot, with ABC necessarily hitched to its US playout whether it liked it or not.

Oh yeah, that. This is a show being made with American cash, so it kinda doesn’t matter that no one in this country likes it, as long as US cable viewers do.

But let’s end this blog with a laugh. You remember laughs, they’re not a feature of Please Like Me

An ABC spokesperson said, “We hope the broad appeal of Sherlock will provide a strong lead in, and that the new time slot appeals to the target audience. We remain immensely and steadfastly proud of Please Like Me, a truly wonderful series.”

Oh ABC spokesperson, you crack us up!

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  • Bernard says:

    I defy anybody to explain how last night’s episode was supposed to be funny. Is Hannah Gadsby inflicting pain on herself a new comedy device? Jesus this show is really beginning to annoy me. Josh and the other guy weren’t even trying to act properly. This is all some sort of big in-joke, right?

  • David says:

    I think I can explain the gap between critical opinion and ratings re this show. PLM’s core values – which to be fair are very sweet – are very politically fashionable. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that critics praising the show are engaged in their own performance of identity politics. Ironically, everyone actually ‘Wants’ to like Josh Thomas. No pleading required. The problem is, the show makes it impossible. At home on a couch in front of the set, no one sees what your watching. The potential to perform your values is gone. And you watch what you want, critics and trumpet-blowers and well-wishers alike, and no one watches the show because it’s blatantly terrible. Cliche, indulgent and JT and the crew have less instinct for humour than Everybody Loves Raymond. As with The Feed, when humour becomes impossible due to talent constraints, sarcasm and quirkiness must take humour’s place. And that’s hard to watch for any length of time.

    The real mystery seems to me that the show gets bought overseas, and in America! There are plenty of excellent shows with homosexual subject matter in America. Surely the Americans aren’t so interested in performing their support for Australian quirkiness. Does this represent a hunger, a gap in the market for anything (and, plainly, ANY THING) Australian. If so, it may be prime time for Australian comedy to seize the day!