I wonder how many reviews of Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me will use the phrase “yes Josh, we really do like you”? In fairness, after watching the first two episodes from season two that were available for preview, the saying is more than warranted.
Unlike Please Like Me‘s first outing, which saw too much crammed into the meager six episodes offered up, we’re brought back into Josh’s hectic and awkward world but this time, the feeling is much more paced and easy with familiar faces including Tom (Thomas Ward), Claire (Caitlin Stacey) Niamh (Nikita Leigh-Pritchard) and mum Rose (Debra Lawrence) already fleshed out enough for us to willingly allow new characters like new housemate Patrick (Charles Cottier) and potential love interest for Tom, Jenny (Charlotte Nicado) to enter this frenetic world we’ve been waiting to come back to.
This frenetic world that Josh has created is filled with house parties, unrequited love, adventures in baby sitting, self depreciation, mental illness, awkward conversations with parents, discussions of penis size, unexpected visitors and probably the most uncomfortable “saddest recount of losing your virginity” competition that has ever existed – and this is just in the first two episodes.
Thomas, just as he did in season one, manages to mix his quirky awkwardness with that of a young man we’ve come to root for with an effortless flair and is now taking the foot off the “i’m not good enough” pedal just enough that the feeling of self sorrow that surrounded Josh in season one is lessened in this second outing.
Josh isn’t the only character to have undergone some personal development between seasons. Best friend Tom has a new-found confidence with women, probably his way of dealing with the departure of girlfriend Claire to Germany, that see’s Tom more confident in his approach and confident of achieving his goal. Even Niamh has undergone a change – gone are her nagging and manipulating ways now replaced with a girl who’s less assured and assertive.
The standout so far, without a doubt, is Debra Lawrence as mum Rose. The erratic and unstable episodes caused by her bipolar disorder are spot-on and as Rose struggles to deal with doing what she’s told and doing what she wants is a battle that will affect those closest to her. The first time we see Rose this season is a scene that lets us all in on just how far downhill she has gone since the death of Aunt Peg.
In it’s first season, Please Like Me found itself being compared to Lena Dunham’s self penned series Girls – a comparison that was likely and to a point correct, but now, Please Like Me feels a bit more real and accessible than Girls ever was. A scene that see’s both of Josh’s housemates preoccupied with hookups while Josh is stuck babysitting in the lounge room is a scenario that many currently in or have lived in shared accommodation can identify with.
It’s been a long awaited and very much welcome return for Please Like Me and Josh Thomas to our screens, and yes Josh, we do like you! Anyone that can bring Denise Drysdale back to our screens and uttering obscenities is someone I will always like!
Please Like Me – Season Two begins Friday August 8th on Pivot and Tuesday August 12th on ABC2.