Some friends of mine have been hounding me to watch a show called “PLEASE LIKE ME.” It’s an Australian series, that airs here on the digital cable and satellite network Pivot (pivot.tv).
I was able to catch up on all of season 1 and most of season 2 on Pivot On Demand as part of my Direct TV package. I had to watch the season 2 finale on Amazon Prime because for some reason it’s not available On Demand.
I have to say PLEASE LIKE ME is one of the most refreshing shows I’ve watched in a long time. It lives in that hybrid drama/comedy space and does an amazing job of having honest comedic moments while dealing with some very serious topics. The story focuses on awkward twenty-something Josh who in the first scene of the series is dumped by his girlfriend Claire as she finally says out loud what she’s known for a while…he’s gay. One of the most refreshing parts of the show is that it’s not an earnest “coming out story.” Most of the people in Josh’s life have thought he’s gay and were just waiting for him to come to the realization and embrace it. While his social circle is small, consisting of Tom, best friend since they were ten and his former girlfriend Claire, acceptance from his social group is easy to find. But even his parents easily embrace Josh. His relationship with his divorced parent is complicated and proves to be a significant roadblock in his early attempt at a relationship with hunky Geoffrey.
PLEASE LIKE ME is similar to the HBO series GIRLS in that the lead character does not have the looks of a traditional television leading man, but most of his love interests look like they stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue. While these guys are genuine in there affection for Josh, one of the most honest moments of the series is when Josh is told by one of his Abercrombie type boyfriends that while he likes hanging out with him and kissing him, he has no interest in actually having sex with him. Ouch! In that moment I could feel Josh’s heart sink into his stomach and related to his rejection. And, like GIRLS the show is written and produced by its leading man Josh Thomas.
Josh is a very flawed character. While he starts to fully embrace his sexuality, he has difficulty making an emotional connection with his boyfriends, but we do see the beginnings of Josh learning how to open his heart.
Josh’s best friend Tom is a supportive guy. He’s straight, a bit of a dork but has a way with the ladies. In the season 2 premiere he brags about being well endowed, which I assume is what gives him the confidence to try to juggle two women at the same time.
While Josh is definitely the center of the show, there’s no shortage of good story for his mother who his trying to rebuild her life post-divorce and his father who has quickly moved on with another woman. This is truly an ensemble show, with strongly defined characters. Even the love interests who pop in and out throughout both seasons are more than generic bed mates.
PLEASE LIKE ME is so much more than a coming out story. It’s really not a coming out story at all, as that bit of business is quickly handled in very early episodes of the first season. It’s about family, the one you’re born into and the one you create for yourself. It’s about resilience, picking yourself up when you’ve been knocked down and learning how to move forward. And it’s about acceptance, of not just sexuality, but of imperfection and all the flaws that come with being a human being.
I’m glad I listened to my friends and I binged the eighteen half-hour episodes in a day. The new season of PLEASE LIKE ME premieres on PIVOT on October 16th at 10pm. If you’re cable or satellite provider does not carry Pivot, episodes are also available on Amazon.
Check out the season 1 trailer for PLEASE LIKE ME: