Why Rick Gervais’ After Life is the most relatable show

Image: Netflix

After Life is a British dark comedy-drama show that first aired on Netflix on March 2019 which was followed up by a second season on May 2020. The series is created, written and directed by Rick Gervais, who is well known for creating The Office. The basic premise of After Life is all about living life after losing a loved one. While this show might get lost in Netflix’s huge catalogue of shows with big names such as Stranger Things or Dark, After Life provides a much-needed change to casual viewers. The show’s performance comes off as natural and is grounded in real-life emotions. 

The lead role of the show is played by Tony (Rick Gervais), who recently lost his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) to cancer. He also has his adorable dog companion called Brandy with him that keeps him going when he feels like giving up. After his beloved wife’s death, Tony’s depression almost leads him to end his life. In a change of thought, he turns over to his nihilistic and narcissistic demeanour to deal with his grief and he considers that his superpower. When he gets tired of it all, he’ll just kill himself. 

The show brings with it a lot of emotional moments that are mitigated by subtle comedic one-liners. While this attitude of Tony may be off-putting for some, Rick Gervais is known for his ‘I am going to speak my mind’ or the devil-may-care attitude. His speeches at the Golden Globes and standup comedy reflect his viewpoint and the show gives the vibe that Rick is simply being himself, which helped lighten the mood of the entire show. 

The story of After Life may seem like a redemption story but its deeply rooted humane narrative provides much more than that. 

It’s okay not to be okay

Image: Netflix

The most important takeaway of After Life is that we are all grieving, in some way or another. Some grieve over losing their loved ones, for some it might be their job and for others, it might be something we consider small but for them, it may be very significant. The show captures this emotion perfectly and blends in humour to cheer up things when needed. Which is something we all need to do more often in our lives.

Humour helps us cope with grief or sadness and allows us to deal with it. The proverb of ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ is rightly so and we all need to pay heed to it more often than we do. And really, the truth is, the older we grow, the more things we all will have to grieve about. Life is all about carrying on and this is something the show depicts very accurately. You can’t just feel end up feeling sorry for yourself.

Nothing’s as good if you don’t share it

Image: Netflix

Throughout the show, we are reminded of Tony and Lisa’s strong bond and their love for each other. Tony is constantly seen reminiscing his time with his wife and at one point he even says,  “I’d rather be nowhere with her than somewhere without her.” It is a common saying said that the absence of a person makes you understand their importance more, and this is a bitter truth than Tony realises after Lisa’s death. 

Sharing our feelings, our thoughts or our excitements with someone is integral to us. The sense of companionship that our loved one gives us is very special and it is very hard to move ahead in life without their presence. In the latter episodes of the show, we are introduced to Anne, a widow who lost her husband after 48 years of marriage. While both Tony and Anne have lost someone dear to them, the latter has a different take on life and becomes the formers’ support system. In a way, Anne plays the role of a therapist in Tony’s life and provides him with much-needed guidance.

Life is worth living

After Life shows us good instances that life is worth living. Sometimes it’s those minuscule moments in our daily lives that can help us cope with our difficulties. Grief is not something than a person can just snap back from. It takes time, effort and considerate people to get through it.  As the show progresses, Tony rejects the idea of killing himself as he realises that life is all about moving on. And as show progress, Tony develops as a character and eventually begins to care about others. 

The well-received reception of both seasons of After Life led Netlfix to confirm a third and likely final season of the show. The series would have typically aired Season 3 around May as per its past releases. However, owing to the pandemic, Netflix has suspended all existing productions, which could delay its release.