For any BoomerBroadcast readers who missed watching the first two seasons of After Life on Netflix, now’s your chance to get caught up before the start of the third and final season. It’s a brilliantly written, funny, tragic, touching dramedy written by and starring Ricky Gervais.
His character, Tony, writes for a local non-profit newspaper that features articles about quirky people with unbelievably ridiculous stories they want to be printed to achieve their fifteen minutes of fame. From a fat kid who plays double recorders with his nostrils to a profanity-spewing old lady celebrating her one-hundredth birthday, they capture those eccentric characters only the British do so brilliantly.
Tony lost his wife of twenty-five years to breast cancer and he cannot snap out of his grief. Were it not for Brandy, his German Shepherd needing to be fed, he would have committed suicide. His tragic state is expertly counter-balanced by an assortment of peculiar co-workers, the hilarious yet sympathetic people he interviews for the newspaper, his unorthodox postman, and the local prostitute/sex worker he hires to be his cleaning lady. He has a shockingly unprofessional mental health professional and a lady friend Anne (played by Penelope Wilton) he meets at the cemetery who provides better advice than his shrink.
I’m now on my third round of watching of After Life. Each time I rewatch it, I pick up new bits of wisdom and a renewed appreciation for the brilliant writing. Last night as I was watching one of the episodes, his cemetery friend Anne quotes a Greek proverb in the course of their conversation to cheer him up.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
This quotation is open to a variety of interpretations but I totally missed it during any earlier viewings of After Life. I immediately burst into tears because I have mentioned on different occasions how my father planted a new apple tree in his backyard when he was eighty-six years old. I saw that as the ultimate sign of optimism, something that distinguishes my father’s later years so much more than when he was younger and facing life’s various challenges. It made me appreciate even more the lessons of my father who ultimately passed away at ninety-four, years after he had moved away from his prized fruit trees that he never got to enjoy.
There’s so much for boomers to relate to in this show. Tony’s father has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home. Coincidently, Gervais created an earlier series called Dexter (definitely NOT the American Dexter series) that is set in a nursing home. He plays the lead character who is a mentally challenged middle-aged man who lives and works in his father’s nursing home. The caring, long-suffering manager is played by Kerry Godliman who also plays Tony’s wife Lisa in After Life.
If you do not subscribe to Netflix, take some time to find After Life through another streaming service. I think the first two seasons are available on Youtube. It is so absolutely worth watching. I guarantee you’ll laugh yourself silly at times and probably shed a tear or two. Programs like this don’t come along that often. You have a week to get yourself up to speed before Season 3 launches on Friday, January 14th. Mark your calendar! You’ll thank me for making you aware of it.