British comedian Ricky Gervais has a brand new series on Netflix called After Life, and the social media reactions are surprisingly positive. Twitter is all abuzz with how deeply moving, affecting, and heartbreaking the series is, surprising even Gervais himself.
After Life focuses on the life of Tony (Ricky Gervais), a widower, and how he is coping after his wife dies of cancer. Feeling depressed, the man realizes that he no longer needs to adhere to societal rules of civil behavior and starts to devolve into the worst version of himself, considering he has nothing to lose. The trailer for the show, released on Netflix’s YouTube channel — which has a lot of inappropriate language — features a conceptually hilarious premise, with a subtle layer of sadness underneath it all.
Gervais is known for his completely inappropriate humor and jokes, which are meant to elicit a reaction from the shock and awe of it all. Many times Gervais has courted controversy by saying something offensive in public or behaving inappropriately. In many ways, After Life looks like very typical Gervais material, however, his offensive humor seems to be framed with a tragic backstory in a very relatable context. Reactions from audiences who have seen the show are overwhelmingly positive.
‘If I went back and changed one thing i didn’t like, I might lose something that that bad thing took me to’ #AfterLife ???? Thank you @rickygervais The world needs more of your species. I love you so much. ????— Samyukta Hornad (@samyuktahornad) March 8, 2019
The fan reaction on Twitter ranges from congratulating Gervais on the superb series, to others openly admitting their uncontrollable emotional reactions to the show. Gervais himself has shared on social media his own overwhelming reaction to the positivity toward his show.
Many comedians or comedic actors experience a resurgence in their careers once they shift to more dramatic content. Famous comedic actors such as Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, and more have been applauded for their turns in a dramatic role after entire careers spent in comedy. Gervais admits that the dark and emotionally heavy portrayal he enacts in After Life has affected him as well, and he has discussed how the series touches upon grief, and the mental well-being of someone suffering through the loss of a loved one.
“The thing with grief is that people start getting fed up with you. You can be having a really hard time, but let’s be honest, after a year, people behind your back are going, ‘F—ing hell, c’mon, it’s been a year. At the end of the day, it’s all those little mundane interactions that actually save your life — they’re the variety of life, they stop you from feeling too sorry for yourself. He’s got to take the dog for a walk, he’s got to go to work to make money to get drunk, and after all that, time heals.”
After Life seems like an immensely thought-provoking story told in a matter-of-fact comedic style that only Gervais is able to do.
.@rickygervais I've just watched the first two episodes of #AfterLife It's excellent : sad and funny & when it's funny it's brilliant & really sad. It is a wonderful portrait, surprising, outrageous & personal. Terrific cast and Ricky you are superb. Onto ep3 later (-;)— Peter Egan (@PeterEgan6) March 8, 2019
Just finished binge watching #AfterLife and I feel like I’ve been hurled through a vast complexity of emotions - sadness, anger, grief, bitterness, hopelessness, surprise, bewilderment, caring, kindness, joy and happiness. Thank you, @rickygervais. I’m literally moved to tears !— When the Whiskers Blow (@olliecomicstrip) March 8, 2019
After Life is currently streaming on Netflix.