There are two types of people in the world, good people and arseholes, but arseholes are clever and pretend to be good people.
Ricky Gervais’ latest creation After Life landed on Netflix today with all six episodes available to binge at your pleasure, and what a pleasure it is. By far his finest piece of work since Extras, After Life is a moving, poignant comedy.
The trailer for After Life dropped a few weeks ago, and as I sat and watched it I thought of myself, a jaded, miserable self-centred bastard, who didn’t give a shit what he said to people or what they thought of him. Even my wife and friends made the connection between Gevais’ character and me.
Having watched the entire series, the show is actually about loss, loneliness and the banality of life. A man who loses his wife to cancer, on the brink of suicide he alienates all around him. His job at a local free newspaper highlights the inaneness of life, however it is the trivial aspects of existence such as this which emphasizes the importance of living, the little things in life. It is also the people around him who tolerate and support him, and his effect on their lives which stands out as a meaningful tale for us all, a modern day parable.
It’s not a complete sombre affair however. I cried, not out of sorrow mind you, but from some truly hilarious scenes (lady making breast milk, rice puddings) and unlike most Ricky Gervais shows the humour wasn’t the cringey awkward comedy we are used to seeing him produce.
The cast is made up of many people he has worked with previously such as Tom Basden (David Brent Life on the Road), Tony Way (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Diane Morgan (Philomena Cunk), Mandeep Dhillon (David Brent Life on the Road), Ashley Jensen (Extras), David Bradley (Harry Potter), Kerry Godliman (Derek) Paul Kaye (Dennis Pennis), Tim Plester (Game of Thrones), Joe Wilkinson (Sex Education), Penelope Wilton (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), David Earl (Derek), Jo Hartley (Eddie the Eagle), Roisin Conaty (Gameface). All of which without exception hand in stellar performances. It’s worth noting also, that some of the subject matter of this show may hit quite close to home for Ashley Jensen and makes her performance all the more so impressive.
In summary, if you have Netflix you need to go watch this, even if you’re not a fan of Ricky Gervais. This tender, often funny, sometimes upsetting, but genuinely moving show is one of the best you’ll see for a number of years.
Beard Score: 10/10