Life goes on
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
So we have moved to a three day weekend in this part of the world. Something no one could have predicted two months ago. Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. So I did what I wanted to, binged on Netflix. Of course, you don't always come across gems on these platforms but there it was, the After Life trailer beckoning me to watch and so I told myself I would give one episode a go only to be sucked in to the entire first season without pressing pause.
To my own surprise, Ricky Gervais has been a comedian I've probably overlooked. In this series which he has written and directed, I found myself sucked in to every possible frame and turn of phrase. He plays the protagonist of this heartfelt show in which he is struggling to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife, Lisa. The show begins with Ricky's character, Tony, who pulls out no full stops when it comes to speaking his mind. In true British sarcasm, he makes it known that he doesn't want to suffer fools. Of course he has little choice as the people that surround him seem to be painfully odd and equally plausible to get to know. He meets (to name a few) Roxie, a friendly sex worker, Pat, a postman who has no qualms reading Tony's mail and Sandy a co-worker who wears her heart on her sleeve much like Tony himself. What is immediately loveable about the series is a faithful German Shepherd named Brandy who acts as a conscience of Tony for most of his lonesome life.
The series felt so deeply poignant as it deals with grief which cannot be shoved under the carpet in a matter of three or four episodes. There are moments when Tony simply wants to burst in to tears only to realise that the thing he wants most (his wife) is out of reach.
The melancholic soundtrack of the show takes the viewer on a journey with all the characters in tow. The music of David Bowie, The Carpenters, Dylan, Cat Stevens and Elton John are but a few of the handpicked emotive pieces that blend so well and one might say even transcend the series to a higher plane.
Without wanting to, it made me ponder about my own relationship with grief. You would think that with all the poetry of Robert Frost and Philip Larkin, I'd be able to deal with it. No one and yes I repeat, no one can prepare you for that ton of bricks that come hurtling down when grief sticks its ugly head in your direction. I hate to paint such an ugly picture but that is precisely what grief is. It's ugly and makes you question everything. It comes back in waves at different parts of the day and thankfully I have made my peace with it.
With this horrendous mutating virus, so many have lost loved ones in the most grueling circumstances. There have been unbelievable stories of loss and goodbyes left unsaid. After Life tries hard to avoid painting a rosy picture. There are moments in the series where I felt that its repetitive plot could be construed as overdramatic. But isn't life itself that way? Aren't we all in a rat race to survive and get to the finish line without realising that it could all end without warning?
With no instruction manual might as well make your peace with the living.
Season 1 and 2 of After Life is streaming on Netflix with Season 3 slated to release on January 14' 2022.