So you haven’t seen the very funny Australian comedy Please Like Me? I’d prefer to blame this unfortunate fact on one of two things: Either (a) you don’t have Pivot, the cable channel for ”passionate Millennials” that airs the series, or (b) you don’t have eyes. Created by comedian Josh Thomas, who plays ”Josh” and based the story on his own experience, PLM made my list of 2013’s best shows with its charmingly wry take on one young man’s quarterlife crisis. Just in time for his 21st birthday, Josh gets dumped by his girlfriend (”We’ve drifted,” she says. ”Also, you’re gay”), kisses a man for the first time, and learns that his mom, Rose (Debra Lawrance), tried to commit suicide. Happy birthday indeed! Considering the premise, though, it’s surprisingly lighthearted. When Rose refuses to go to therapy, Josh reassures her: ”No one’s gonna see you, Mom. And if they do see you, they’re probably mental too, so that’s nice!”
Too few shows are able to capture the real voice of twentysomethings, maybe because that ”voice” is usually approximated by writers over 30. So PLM’s take on postcollegiate life feels particularly spot-on. During season 2, a manic episode lands Rose back in the hospital, just as Josh is trying to bond with his newborn stepsister. But plot points don’t matter too much, since the everyday conversations — always rooting humor in truth — are the real draw here. When Josh teases his best friend, Tom (played by Thomas’ actual best friend, Thomas Ward), for not impressing women, Tom protests. ”I have moves!” he declares, though his suburban-dad beard begs to differ. ”Tom, they only kiss you because you look approachable,” Josh says. ”That’s a move!” insists Tom.
As Josh, Thomas is a modern-day Oscar Wilde, a sharp-witted dandy who skewers hipster idiocy. His thoughts on dressing ironically: ”What could the irony in a bandanna be? That he’s wearing it even though he’s not undergoing chemotherapy?” His philosophy on Reiki massage: ”Why would you pay someone to not touch you?… Do you go to restaurants and pay them to not feed you?” Quips like these make you want to live in this show, because it’s about everything that matters to young people: how they live, how they love, how they sometimes draw prison tattoos on babies’ faces with an eyebrow pencil. (Yes, that happens, and yes, that scene is awesome.) Josh’s anxiety may occasionally drive you mental. But then, if you can fully appreciate the brilliance of this quarterlife-crisis suicide comedy, you may already be a little mental. So that’s nice. A