Netflix’s new original series “After Life” shows the difficulty friends and family have to go through when they lose someone close to them.
The executive producer, director and star of the show Ricky Gervais gives a touching performance as Tony. The comedian is best known for creating the UK version of the hit TV series “The Office” and writing for the popular US adaptation.
The show begins with us learning that Tony has recently lost his wife Lisa to a battle with cancer. Throughout the series, he watches a video that Lisa left him as a guide to life without her. There are also frequent flashbacks to their happy moments together.
Tony basically ignores the advice Lisa gives to him about being happy without her and decides he’s going to deal with his sadness by doing whatever he wants. He consistently expresses that he’s suicidal and that he views it as a superpower.
His plan is to do and say whatever he wants and whenever life becomes too much, he’s going to kill himself.
The viewer soon learns that Tony isn’t a terrible person, even though sometimes he does terrible things. He really only hates when people are rude and obnoxious, which of course doesn’t excuse his actions because frankly, everyone is rude at times. It’s all about how you react to those things because you can only control yourself and not others, which takes him a while to fully come to terms with.
Tony seems to like animals more than people, which is also relatable, and is only really nice to his dog.
This is also because the dog had a strong connection to Lisa, since he made the couple happy while Lisa was alive and is mainly the only thing that still makes Tony happy after she died. His dog also saved his life on many occasions when he had thought about suicide.
Matt, played by Tom Basden, is Tony’s brother-in-law and boss at the free local paper they work at in town. Matt consistently aims to make Tony happy before he gets to the point where he really wants to kill himself. Matt also encourages him to look on the bright side of situations and try to be nice to people simply because he can. Tony shares that he thinks being nice is a disadvantage and there’s no point because you get nothing out of it. He sees how Matt is taken advantage of when he’s nice and doesn’t want that to happen to him.
Of course, sometimes you can get taken advantage of when being nice, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to be a decent human being. There will always be people who are rude for no reason, but maybe being nice to them will help them more than it can hurt you rather you realize it or not.
The show does a good job at illustrating that people are struggling and we all have problems so we should do our best to be kind to one another because you never know what someone’s going through. If you’re going through something yourself, as hard as it is, try to look at what’s still good in your life and give off good energy because other’s need that when they’re down.
Tony makes some friends in his journey to find the light in his life again after Lisa’s death.
After learning the importance of others' happiness, Tony apologizes to everyone he’s been using as a human punching bag. He then thanks them for helping him get through his days with a laugh or telling him things he didn’t want to hear, but needed to. He doesn’t want his negative actions to impact others' happiness anymore, especially the people he loves, so he decides to try to change his life around.
This show beautifully illustrates how people deal with the loss of a loved one and use the help of others to remember the value of life. The world will never be perfect, and everything won’t always go your way, but there are still great things about life you just have to notice and appreciate them. Moving on is hard, but sometimes not moving on can be even harder. You have to treasure all of the moments you have in life because you never know how many you’ll have left.