Television Shows of 2019: After Life

Here’s the plot of After Life, courtesy of IMDB: “After Tony’s (Ricky Gervais’) wife dies unexpectedly, his nice-guy persona is altered into an impulsive, devil-may-care attitude taking his old world by storm.”

This particular synopsis is hilarious to me because “devil-may-care” is a pretty understated description of Tony’s mindset when the series starts. Plus, his wife had cancer. Not an unexpected thing. ANYWAY. Your favorite atheist, animal-loving, Twitter trolling actor/comedian/film-maker, Ricky Gervais, gives us another series, and it is a gorgeous roller coaster of emotions.

“Hell is other people” is the tagline for the show, and I get it. Tony has lost his wife. He works at a newspaper that’s distributed for free in his locale (not Pulitzer material). He’s grumpy by nature, but his horrific loss only magnifies the grump factor. Tony feels like it’s only a matter of time before he cashes it in, so why not just throw away all the fucks and say everything you feel deep down to the humans you’re forced to live on Earth with? It’s a premise that really appeals to me. We’ve all desired that instinct at some point, right?  Tony does some reckless stuff in these six episodes because of the utter despair he feels, but there’s someone who seems to pull him from the brink every time: Brandy, the dog. Eventually, the coworkers at the paper, the sex worker he hires, his cemetery pal, the weirdo who keeps trying to get local fame in print, and his dementia suffering dad join Brandy in keeping Tony around and on the path to a new outlook.

I loved this show because laughing at the awful state of 90% of our humanity is one of the few things that keep me interested. I love stories that punch you in the gut while making you laugh at phrases like “I fingered Jackie Collins”. I love that there are so many Game of Thrones actors in it. The dog is adorable. Penelope Wilton makes anything she’s in a million times better. More importantly, Ricky Gervais shows he’s one of the best television creators ever. He keeps getting better and emotionally layered. I can’t wait for the second season.

 

Have I Got A Story For You….

Happy Saturday, little darlin’s. Hope the long, cold, and lonely winter is winding down for you. I wanted to post an update here to let you know something: I grabbed a notebook this week, stuck a pen in the spiral, and jotted down thoughts and ideas every day. That hasn’t happened in a long while. It’s a good sign, though. It means I’ll be posting more content here. Working my writing juices into a tasty smoothie of fun. Ewwww, that sounds gross, doesn’t it? Maybe not the best metaphor, but I’ll go with it. I have to thank my buddy Kris for the motivation. He recently asked me to cohost the second season of his podcast, The Peaceful Pirate, and we started recording last weekend. Do yourself a favor and catch up on the first season now. You’ll learn that if you have a passion, you can do something with it. You’ll learn tips on how to do it too. I’m attempting to take his advice. Hence me and the notebook. This update is based on the first thing I scribbled in there….

Stories. Everyone has them. Lately, they’ve surrounded me, coming from friends and strangers. When chatting about podcasting and podcasts in general, several folks suggested The Moth, so I subscribed. It’s been a perfect accompaniment to my work commute. A collection of stories told by people from all walks of life. Some funny, some scary, they’re all over the place. But the coolest part is they’re all true. I’ve been in my car laughing, crying, and enraptured. I imagine I’m sitting in front of whoever is spinning their tale, in a cozy room with a fireplace. My favorite Moth story so far was from the late Taylor Negron. It’s a doozy. Check it out for yourself:

Not long after I became a fan of The Moth, my friend and fellow Mouthy Broad, Deb, founded a monthly storytelling showcase here in the Hampton Roads area. It’s called Tell Me More. It takes place at the wonderful Push Comedy Theater, and it’s super exciting to see how it’s taking off. The first event sold out! My friends and aquaintances have fantastic stories to tell. Check out Laura’s story about shitting herself.. Trust me, it’s awesome. Look around at the rest of the Tell Me More website to learn more about the events.

Finally, I had one more encounter with the telling of stories recently. I met Vee through another great friend. We hit it off immediately. She’s unique, lovely, talented, and strong. She recently competed in a story slam for the organization For Kids, and WON! It’s inspiring as hell – watch:

Pretty amazing, huh? Listening to all of these experiences has restored my faith in humanity. It helps to remind me that we’re all going through something, 24/7, 365 days a year.