Synopsis: Tony, an editor of a small local newspaper, becomes suicidal and stops giving a shit after his wife dies of cancer to great annoyance of his co-workers and acquaintances.
This is a series by Ricky Gervais with him as the main character Tony. The first season consists of 6 episodes each about 30 minutes long and was released on Netflix.
If you are expecting a comedy from Ricky Gervais then I hate to disappoint. Although it has some more comedic bits it is all but a comedy. It starts off with the main character, Tony, already being in a state where he wants to kill himself and maybe this is a good thing. It probably doesn’t need to go into the details on how he got from being sad because his wife died to wanting to commit suicide. I don’t think it would be very beneficial for people in the same situation as they might take that as something normal.
He’s being an asshole to everyone, to his colleagues, the nurse taking care of his demented father, random people on the street. In my opinion the series explains very well why he does this and I think some people who went through a depression might be able to empathize with the main character. Because he has no more reason to live and could take his own life at any time, he feels like he can do whatever he wants.
At first the people are annoyed at his behavior but more or less shrug it off as he has just lost his wife. They still have faith that it’s just a phase and don’t lash out on him. His brother in law, Matt, tries to cheer him up by taking him to a stand up comedy show, setting up a date and getting him to go to the pub. I think the reactions of the people towards his behavior is very important, they don’t really punish him for it but instead either act passively or attempt to make him happy. These are reactions to his grief and not to his arrogant, negative way of talking.
After some time everyone seems to have had enough and the Scottish nurse who takes care of his father gives him a speech which I believe is the tipping point in the series. She points out that he is being selfish, that it’s not because he is upset that everyone else must feel upset. He tries to ignore her words saying she is probably wrong but I believe he feels she is probably right. He does not change immediately but the words of the nurse does put things in perspective in the following conversations. What if she is telling the truth? What if other people have problems as well?
Throughout the series the main character talks to different kinds of people. For example Julian who carries the newspapers around but is really a drug addict. Since he is not afraid of dying he is no longer scared of doing drugs and so asks Julian for some heroin. He figures out he has more in common with Julian than he had anticipated, they both lost their wives and are depressed. Even then, by the end of the third episode Tony gives Julian enough money to buy an overdose of heroin and to my surprise he does do exactly that. Julian’s death was curious to me, in subsequent episodes it is talked about and Tony even attempts to attend Julian’s funeral but Tony never seems to feel guilty about being a part of Julian’s death even though he could have clearly prevented it. He even lies that he had no part in it and never talks about it again. It also didn’t really play a part into the main character’s arc, where he goes from being an asshole to being nice.
There was no absolute defining moment where he decides he wants to continue living and thus must be friendly to other people. It’s just that he starts listening to what other people have to say and slowly realizes he is not the only person who has to deal with problems.
I could empathize with a lot of the series and I think people who went through a depression can empathize with it as well. By no means do I believe all people with depression go through the same thing but some might. The conversations laid out in this series could certainly benefit the depressed bunch out there.
Since I could empathize with it my opinion might be a bit biased, I would rate this series a solid 9/10.