The third series of Ricky Gervais’ ‘After Life’ dropped last week on Netflix, and I binged watched it in one sitting. I was a huge fan of the first two series and the third exceeded all expectations I had. The final episodes drove the narrative in a direction I wasn’t expecting but looking back now it made perfect sense. We, as humans, require hope and companionship in order to reach a state of happiness.
Initially, I thought the main message of the series was about grief and regret. As a viewer, we see Tony’s life crumble as he loses all hope of happiness due to the loss of his wife Lisa and decides to punish the world. However, the further through the final series I got the message developed and instead turned to hope and acceptance. After the mass grief we have all experienced over the past two years, I think it is especially important that Gervais took the narrative in this direction. After Life acknowledges the importance of mental health, initially when dealing with grief but goes on to explore all aspects of wellbeing including loneliness and self-expression. The underlying theme of humour which is integrated seamlessly through the scenes allows us as viewers to digest what we are seeing in a light-hearted manner. Equally, the emotional scenes complement the humour, and certainly left me with a desire to cherish the moments we have with the people we love.
Netflix announced on Tuesday that they were partnering with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to install 25 benches across the UK, to encourage people to spark conversations with strangers like how Tony does to Anne. The benches are inscribed with the quote ‘Hope is everything’. To see the locations of the benches, follow this link.
Personally, I think that this partnership and subsequent campaign is an amazing move by Netflix to encourage the sense of community to continue post-covid. The series itself acknowledged the pandemic and spoke about the importance of thanking healthcare workers and praises them as angels. This is a message which I think is paramount and should be adopted by more organisations.