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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

After Life (Netflix)

After Life is a Netflix series which I have watched twice now. Probably, I'll watch it a 3rd time. Its high 8.5 IMDb rating is only one of the explanations. Actually, I never really liked the main actor, Ricky Gervais, until now. In this series, his (character's) sarcasm fits a purpose. It's his way to cope with his wife's death.

There's a lot of grief, sadness and (silent) sorrow in this series. However, this is not a spoiler alert or a warning. Probably, that very ingredient makes this TV series brilliant. There's also a lot of fun in the other characters: his colleagues, the drug addict, his father, his father's nurse, the people being interviewed who long to make the local front page, the postman and the sex worker.

Ricky's daily struggle to survive, appeals to me because it feels painfully familiar. I can relate to his immense sorrow, although its source (ie, the loss of his wife and BFF) is different from mine. Ricky likes to compare his situation with drug addict Julian. Julian disagrees with him as Ricky has not given up on life. An astute observation.

Ricky is angry with life because his wife and BFF died before him. Ricky's psychologist views himself as God's gift to women but is utterly useless as he is fighting his own demons. An elderly woman, who pays daily visits to her husband's grave, becomes Ricky's friend and mirror image. Ricky's appreciates and accepts her advice, while ignoring his therapist.

Brandi, the German Shepherd, is probably Ricky's new best friend. Without the dog, Ricky might have given up on life, like Julian did. Brandi is his reason for getting up each day, showering, feeding the dog, and going to work. Some scenes with Brandi are quite emotional.

Despite being in "a constant, agonizing pain" himself, Ricky keeps seeing the pain in others and keeps helping other people. The only person recognising his behaviour is the elderly woman, Penelope Wilton. She tells Ricky about the Scorpion and the Frog. Ricky automatically assumes he is the scorpion in that fable. She disagrees and argues that Ricky is the frog.

Julian's death may make you wonder whether Ricky was a frog, a scorpion, or both to Julian. Ricky's boss and brother-in-law - Matt - is very critical, which forces Ricky to lie to Matt. If and when it's considered human to let our pets sleep in, then how can helping others at dying be inhumane? Hope and Love are key ingredients in our living years.

The Living Years (1988) by Mike + the Mechanics feat. Paul Carrack

Say it loud (say it loud)
Say it clear (say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late (It's too late)
When we die (oh, when we die)
To admit we don't see eye to eye


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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