Binge and Repeat: ‘After Life’ is surprisingly sweet
Since “Game of Thrones” returned on April 14 and I needed to rewatch the previous season before anxiously waiting for the new episode, I selected a quick binge. Ricky Gervais stars in the charmingly dark comedy “After Life” on Netflix.
Tony can’t cope with his wife’s death so he behaves like an abhorrent and hateful individual. He doesn’t want to live without his wife and decides that he no longer cares about following social conventions and telling just about any person he comes across about his suicidal ideation. He devolves into an unkind person, openly mocking people and being outright cruel over the slightest offenses, such as yawning too loudly. Tony spends his time outside of work watching old videos of his wife, allowing viewers to glimpse what he was like before he began behaving like a wretched and hateful person in his grief.
Through his interactions with a stranger at the cemetery, a woman who speaks to her husband’s grave, and conversations he has with his father’s nurse Tony begins to behave less like an grief-riddled ogre and more like an actual person.
The series is cast with an amusing variety of characters including a intrusive postman, a plucky sex worker, an optimistic journalist and a chatty widow. Gervais charms and repels in his role as the shattered and belligerently heartbroken Tony. He creates small sparks of humanity into a character that is more than willing to allow his despair and grief to devour him.
While the series is all too brief, viewers have the opportunity to explore the depths of grief and the instinctually intrepid nature of healing.
After Life is a British series and with it comes some of the more colorful and vulgar terms. One season of After Life is available on Netflix and the series is rated TV-MA. The series is short and sweet with only six 30-minute episodes. Viewers might also enjoy watching the campy comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet,” which follows a suburban family trying to adjust to life after mom becomes an insatiable zombie.