Life is like a long road without any turns. You can never go back to live again and that is what makes it ‘magical’ and worth living for. So, all that is left after life are the memories. These lines speaks the truth that we often forget about and to remind us of that the ‘After Life’, a Netflix Orginal British web series, directed by and also starring Ricky Gervais was released on 8th March, 2019. The golden globe award- winning actor from ‘The Office’ fame has done a brilliant in writing, directing and acting in his mini- web series of 6 episodes.
Tony (played by Ricky Gervais) is a middle- aged man, who had a perfect life before he lost his wife Lisa(played by Kerry Godliman) to breast cancer. His life just falls apart and not being able to face his grief he even contemplats suicide. But, then he decides to put this hard look and to keep on punishing the world by being rude. He starts saying harsh things to everybody around him. Just like the grumpy old man in the ‘Up’ movie. As if, by doing so he would be able to do justice to his loss. This act doesn’t last longer as the people around him including his office mates makes him realize his mistake and accept his unhappiness.
After Life, is a simple series, speaking simple things that we often don’t realize. Ricky Gervais has put tremendous effort in it, to make us aware of the little things you need to live. Just like any other ordinary person, Tony’s life revolves around his pet dog Brandy, his not- so-happening office Tambury Gazette, a local newspaper firm, where Tony works as an editor, his father(played by David Bradley) suffering from Alzheimer’s whom he visits in a nursing home, his money-sucking psychiatrist(played by Paul Kaye)whose advice never really work and last but not the least Lisa’s grave, that he never forgets to visit.
And in between this, he gets time for puffing some cocaine with the help of a drug addict Julian(played by Tim Plester), befriending a sex worker Daphne(played by Roisin Conaty), having some philosophical conversations with Anne(played by Dame Wilton), an older lady and widow whom Tony meets at graveyard; arguing with his brother-in- law Matt(played by Tom Basden), who is also the head of Tambury Gazette; picking on his colleague Lenny(played by Tony Way) for his excessive eating habits and bickering with his father’s nurse Emma(played by Ashley Jensen). These things make him look like a psychopath, but actually he is trying hard to control his grief by behaving like this.
Dialogues & Theme:
After Life is a dark comedy, in which dialogues form the soul of the series. Tony’s powerful one-liner answers will make you laugh. Ricky Gervais, has written this so beautifully that at one moment you will be crying and at the very next moment will be laughing like an idiot, that is the reality of Life afterall nothing lasts forever. I loved dialogues so much that I have carefully curated some of my favourites here. Along side, I will be discussing more about this series.
Lisa, has left a video before dying. In which she leaves her last message for her husband and what she wants from him. She was a wise wife, who knew the right words to say to her husband. She tells him to live for himself and their pet Brandy. Tony, even if how much hard he tries, his heart melts on seeing his wife’s video. And somewhere within this tough man lies a gentleman. After his wife, his dog becomes the only reason for him to live.
Tony and Lenny are mostly given the task of covering the unusual stories from the people. The fun element of this comes from the people who can do anything to be on the front page of this local newspaper. There are people who tell their kid to blow a flute through nostrils, some even draw a moustache on their baby to make it look like Adolf Hitler and what not. While Lenny finds everything interesting, these things really annoys Tony as he speaks above lines to Lenny, which is also the reality of the world today.
Tony, being depressed picks up the habit of giving an eye-to-eye answer to everybody around him, sparing not even kids at school. A scene in which Tony calls a kid (who bullies his nephew George) as ‘a tubby little ginger cunt‘ is getting viral after its release.
He black mails Matt with his backup plan of suicide, argues with his co-worker on his religious views and Kevin Hart. But this doesn’t work with Emma. She gets furious on seeing his same attitude in front of his father. She then calls him a troll, that is quite true and listening it from a nurse working for his father certainly hurts his pride. Emma, being a nurse has seen so many people die and recover all through her working years. She adds a sense of maturity to his thinking.We should never expect the world to be sad, because we are sad. It happens a lot, when in our sadness, we forget about others and care only about ourselves. Everybody is going through a difficult problem so one should be aware of that fact. This Tony realizes later.
Ricky Gervais, has shown a glimpse of himself in Tony, like he is not having any kids in the show also. Then, his religious views and being an atheist, which he talks about in a sarcastic way. But, you will certainly be enjoying all his hilarious one-liners.
When an old man calls Tony for covering his story on getting five similar cards on his birthday. He tells him(Tony) about his wife and how much he misses sharing such small things with her. That is so true, because Happiness is real, only if it’s shared.
The best of the show is when you will see Tony at peace with himself, when he visits Lisa’s grave. He meets Anne, and the conversations they have on life, loving and their loss is something to look forward to. Anne, is a mature lady, who knows what to say at the right time and is a good listener to Tony’s rantings.
These lines, that Anne, says to Tony are so beautiful. Because at the end, you learn to live and let go. For the happiness of the people around you, for yourself, because there is nothing wrong in living and being kind. Happiness is really an amazing thing.You will certainly get a reason to live.
After Life is a beautiful and heart-warming show. Something really thought-provoking, that I have watched since a very long time. It flawlessly captures the grief of an old man and the love for his wife. It will make you smile, cry, learn to accept your grief and also letting it go. Because you can get a bit happier, by just accepting your unhappiness.
I hope Ricky Gervais makes a season 2 asap. 😁
I hope you had a good time reading it. Please do watch this amazing show! Highly recommended!