After Life, by Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais has produced an amazing piece of art in the form of (for now) six 25-minutes episodes. The show is called After Life, and follows the life of Tony (Ricky), a middle-aged man that has recently lost his partner. The show documents his sorrow and the lack of meaning that he faces. What is the point of life if you cannot share it with the person you love?

After Life explores the issues of meaning, morals, and death from the point of view of humanism. In this sense, the character appears to be Ricky Gervais himself. Why should you live? Why should you be good? These topics are explored with the usual delicious sense of humour that is so particular of the British comedian.

A special mention is reserved for the supporting characters. This is what truly surprised me. They start as caricatures, as comical counterparts to Tony. But little by little, and mirroring Tony’s changes, they gain depth, they become human. It is so natural, so subtle, that is easy to miss. But this is one of the main messages: everyone has their circumstances, everyone has their problems, and as such, one can be compassionate with everybody.

I am more a fan of Ricky’s stand ups than I am of his shows (I have watched—and laughed with—the Golden Globes intros several times), but After Life is superb from beginning to end.

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