In season 3 episode 2 of the Australian series “Please Like Me,” Josh (the show’s creator) explains to Tom why there is a baguette on the table. Tom rants: “Do you know how many times over the last two weeks, I’ve wanted to eat white food and didn’t?” Josh is amused. “Because it spikes your blood sugar!” Tom is flabbergasted by his facetiousness. “You just gonna fat for Arnold now?” Josh still amused quips: “More to love.” “No there’s not more to love, it’s just the same amount of love spread thinner! There were doughnuts at the office today and I didn’t touch them!” Josh fires back. “You did touch your boss’s junk though. Right, Tom? Tom, am I right? Tom.” Tom is unamused and silent.
It’s a typical scene for this offbeat, psychologically aware comedy that sheds light on the many things that make us tick. And it might be the best show I’ve ever watched. The show chronicles Josh, a persnickety and deeply insecure, closeted college-age student who realizes he is gay. After the first episode, in which Josh kisses a boy for the first time, he confesses: “I think I’ll miss vaginas. You know, so nifty”. That same episode, Josh learns that his mother has attempted suicide. It’s this blend of jubilance and sorrow that makes the show so profoundly good.
With support from his ex-girlfriend Claire and his best friend and roommate Tom, Josh helps his mother Rose grapple with her bipolar disorder and his father navigate his relationship with his new Thai wife Mae. What I love most of the show is how it authentically portrays dating for gay men, mental health, friendship, and family in a nuanced yet hyper-realistic way. And it really makes the viewer think about the many idiosyncratic people we engage with every day. The show is unafraid to delve into vulnerability despite how strongly each character wants to avoid it.
It’s refreshing seeing such a unique show feature marginalized characters that everyone can relate to. Often, the most overlooked characters are the most vital. My favorite is John the Dog who is always credited “as himself”. The writing is truly superb and before you know it, you’ll find yourself singing along the groovy theme song and crying from how terrible life is as if you are one of the gang.
*Now available on Hulu*