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In March, Netflix released an original show titled ‘After Life’. Directed by Ricky Gervais, this brilliant comical tragedy is probably the best thing to grace Netflix’s platform in a while. The show follows a man named Tony who struggles to cope with his wife’s passing. He’s nothing but angry, vile, and an overall monster. Tony’s inability to live without his wife forces everyone around him into misery, and as the show progresses, Tony tries to heal through connecting with others and ridding himself of his “end of the world” attitude.
Tony’s love for his wife, Lisa, is incredibly strong. It’s clear that their relationship resembled nothing romantic. Instead, it was filled with humor, pranks, and lots of sarcastic remarks to each other. When Lisa dies, Tony’s humor leaves with her, and his new apathetic approach to life is both hilarious and depressing to witness. His quick transition is extremely raw, but most importantly showcases true love and true grief perfectly, showing that resilience and the human will to go on always perseveres.
One of the best tricks that Gervais manages to pull off is that he highlights the importance of connection. While not ever at the forefront of the show, connection proves that it heals wounds time and time again. While sometimes the connections are annoying or extremely awkward, each eventually proves to help turn Tony back into a more positive, self-aware, and wonderful person. Even the slightest interaction brings Tony back from his complete freefall, and many of them are not extraordinary. From a six year old kid, to a sex worker, to a wife who’s suffering her own loss, to a dead man himself, each unique, clever, and curious character suffers through Tony’s wrath and helps him overcome it. By using the most obscure people from all corners, Gervais proves that happiness and meaning can come from all people.
But Gervais’s nerve is the beauty of this comical tragedy. His blunt, honest script and filming delivers on every level, showcasing the real ups and downs of dealing with death and the guilt that ensues. The brilliant lines, along with the offensive ones, all play an equally important role in trying to understand the truth behind coping. Gervais shows all his viewers that coping comes in several forms, moving beyond crying and into violent outbursts, rude comments, and even some of the humor that sometimes surrounds Tony’s otherwise dark days. It’s not hard to see that Gervais wants people to know that there is still humor and joy after loved ones have moved on. His use of humor is unseen in an industry that deals with more than enough death, and shows that even at the darkest times, we all deserve to laugh.
Joanna is a high school student based in San Diego, California. She is an avid writer and reader and loves anything law or book related. She loves writing anything from poetry to novel work, and aspires to be a lawyer in the future.