It’s barely over twenty four hours now since Aftertaste delivered its most shocking development yet. For five episodes crusty old Jim (Peter Carroll) was a diamond in the rough, a sour grump with a heart of gold whose sniping at son Easton West (Erik Thompson) and granddaughter Diana (Natalie Abbott) as they cleaned up his slovenly country cottage and turned it (and the shed out back) into a high class eatery only underlined the firm family bond that united them. And now he’s gone. Who could have possibly seen this tragic death coming?
Okay, enough with the bullshit. Killing off a “much loved” character towards the end of your dramedy is pretty much the cheapest, dullest, most predictable move you can make and by pulling it out of the back pocket Aftertaste just confirmed that whatever it’s trying to do, providing audiences with a decent story isn’t it. Jim might as well have been wandering around wearing a hat reading BORN TO DIE; at least then there might have been a chuckle in his oh-so-predictable demise.
If you think we’re being a bit harsh here – and sure, Aftertaste has generally been doing okay as a mildly pleasing, easily digested wander through the Adelaide hills just so long as you don’t expect to laugh – let us direct your attention to this round up of the shocking climaxes of Australia’s most critically acclaimed yet weak as piss dramedy of recent times, Please Like Me.
*Season one: Peg dies, final episode set at her funeral.
*Season two: Ginger kills herself, everyone takes a camping trip to dwell on it.
*Season three: Ben has a cerebral aneurysm and could “die at any minute” for an episode or two. Has big operation that could kill him. Shock twist: he doesn’t die.
*Season four: Josh’s mum, who first appeared in episode one having tried to kill herself, kills herself.
When your story is repeating the moves of one of the laziest, most shoddily-plotted Australian series in recent memory, maybe you should have set your sights a little higher? Sure, having a funeral in your final episode is a great way to remind audiences that you’re not mucking around, but only in the sense that it reminds them that as far as coming up with a series of interesting events that will keep them engaged – you know, a story – you really are just mucking around.
After all. it’s not like the death raised the stakes in any meaningful narrative fashion. Oh no, which extremely old bastard is going to die next in a show that now contains zero extremely old bastards? Quick, set the final episode in an old folks home and start coughing on them.
It’s not even a show that’s about death. At least the first time Thomas pulled this hackneyed trick out of some vague memory of The (UK) Office ending its second season on a downer he could pretend it was about a bunch of young people being forced to confront the reality of death. But here, in a series where the real stakes – Weston’s comeback, Diana’s future – are already set in stone? Having some old coot pop his clogs meant nothing beyond a way to get the cast looking sharp in black next week.
Oh right: it wasn’t funny either. Though as we’ve been discussing Josh Thomas (and Australian comedy in general #zing) that goes without saying. Speaking of Australia’s number one comedy export who isn’t Hannah Gadsby – press release time!
JOSH THOMAS’ EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY TO PREMIERE 9 APRIL, ONLY ON STAN
1 March, 2021 – Stan is today announcing that the second season of the critically acclaimed comedy series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay from Josh Thomas – the creator and star of the International Emmy-nominated series Please Like Me – will premiere on 9 April, same day as the U.S. and only on Stan.
After their heartbreaking trip to New York, the Moss family and Nicholas’ boyfriend, Alex, are just trying their best to move forward. With everyone back home, Matilda is rethinking her life goals, Genevieve starts putting herself out there—even dating—and Nicholas is working out how to balance being a brother, parental figure, boyfriend and cute entomologist.
This season also welcomes new eccentric friends, unexpected hookups and a lot more bugs. In addition to Thomas as Nicholas, the series stars Kayla Cromer as Matilda, Maeve Press as Genevieve and Adam Faison as Alex. Thomas, Stephanie Swedlove and Kevin Whyte serve as executive producers, with David Martin, Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner executive producing for Avalon.
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay premieres 9 April only on Stan, with new episodes weekly.
“Heartbreaking trip to New York”? You don’t say.
What’s funny about Aftertaste is that the creators really want to be making a feature film, not a comedy series. You know, one of those offbeat, medium budget stories – with love interests, landscape (tourism funding), food porn (tourism funding), ambitious swearing, family secrets/feuds, death (!), triumph at end with speeches referencing said death symbolising renewal and eternal cycle of life, oh and more crane shots, beautiful lighting, jingly music to denote quirky environs,characters…
Instead, you get a racier version of Neighbours.