Please Like Me

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A post entitled Please Like Me may sound like a self indulgent plead for attention, but fortunately it is actually the title of Australia’s answer to… Girls (but I want to avoid this one word summation, because it is really so much more). Aired in Spring 2013, I learnt about the six part series in this month’s Attitude – where the series was compared to Lena Dunham’s Girls and Simon Amstell’s Grandma’s House – both of which I love and both of which are fair comparisons.

Enough about similarities though. This show is a little bit of a slow starter, but it picks up by the second episode.  Created by Josh Thomas, the series follows the awkward life (in the way that all 20-something have an awkward life) of 20 year old Josh (played by Thomas himself), and his group of friends. In the opening scene we learn that Josh is gay, something most of his friends and family have know for a long time, yet something that seems to be news to Josh. In the first of the surreal events in this series, Josh unwittingly meets his first boyfriend Geoffrey by chance, as Geoffrey throws himself on Josh at best friend Tom’s office. Thomas’ comedy is refreshing, dark and highly focused on awkward situations, comic juxtapositions and those moments that you always thought could only happen to you.

Without going into the plot too much, one scene that comes to mind is when Geoffrey and Josh first attempt sex. Josh’s ex-girlfriend (of only a couple of days ago) is sitting in the living room as the two head to Josh’s room. Worried that the others will hear them, Josh asks Geoffrey to put some music on. Perfectly, and somewhat appropriately (this is his first time after all), Geoffrey chooses music from the second act of Romeo & Juliet because “it’s romantic “.

The series is a great portrayal of life as a young 20-something, and a refreshing portrayal of life as a young 20-something gay man. Josh is an angst-y and awkward character with a dark sense of humour, that largely goes straight over Geoffrey’s head. The show doesn’t dwell on Josh’s coming out  and he doesn’t especially struggle with his sexuality, but instead with the difficulties that life throws us all and this is what makes the series a real hit. So much so, it has been recommissioned for a second series.

Girls just wanna have fun?

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So. I adore Girls. It is one of the best things I have seen on TV in a long time. Simply brilliant. Simply hilarious. Simply me? Now I don’t want to sound all Hannah Horvath about this, but it has to be said that this is a TV show that I can really relate to. I am a soon-to-be graduate, writing a blog and moving to the city. I might not be the voice of my generation, but I think I might be a voice of a generation. (For any one unsure, that was a reference, I’m not delusional.) This show is refreshing and hilarious, simple and fun. It has many a serious side too and is like a super long Bridesmaids minus Kristen Wiig (this is a negative) and the diarrhea (positive?). Lena Dunham is, in my eyes, a genius and a fantastic writer. The characters are so well written and I could gush and waffle about this show for hours. All I can really say is watch this. I can guarantee you won’t regret it.

(I do not own this image).

The New Normal?

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Recently I have been obsessed with NBC’s and Ryan Murphy’s new sitcom The New Normal, starring Justin Bartha (The Hangover) and Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon). There is plenty to be said about this show, which despite average ratings, has a special place in my heart. Firstly it is a hugely refreshing affair; Bryan and David (or Bravid as they have become known…) are a lovely couple. They are down-to-earth and represent a run-of-the-mill monogamous relationship. It is refreshing to see a gay couple on film that aren’t addicted to drugs, a la Keep the Lights On. Goldie and her daughter, Shania, are fantastic and alongside Jane and Rocky, the cast works together perfectly. Jane, the bigoted Republican, has hilarious one-liners as does the caustic Rocky. It has to be said that my favourite performance of the series so far has to be Shania’s Cher for her school project. Amazing. She is literally the best child. Ever. (And I love her glasses). However, I do have a few issues with the show, even if I do find Andrew Rannells wildly attractive…

While the show is entertaining, thoughtful and hilarious at the best of times, it does suffer from the odd weak storyline and makes me wonder what the ‘new normal’ really is? Isn’t this just the ‘normal’, adapted by introducing a gay couple? So far Bravid have considered issues like marriage, child care, decorating the nursery and most recently (breast) feeding. I feel the heteronormative decisions should perhaps have been replaced for something that could actually be a ‘new normal’ but maybe this was too much to expect. Most disappointing was the nursery decorating, when everyone involved seemed determined to conform to gender stereotypes of blue for boys, pink for girls and yellow to attempt to be ‘neutral’.

This, however, is only a minor issue and something that I wouldn’t want to besmirch the rest of the series. Overall it is a fantastic show and I am sad that, from a ratings perspective, it has only performed averagely. The actors and creators have done a wonderful job and I hope to be able to sit down to watch a slice of Bravid’s family life for many hours to come…

(I do not own this image)

P.s. Don’t the cast look fantastic in this Vogue shoot?!