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Ricky Gervais's 'After Life' - Dark humour and hilarity in the wake of tragedy

Ricky Gervais is responsible for some of the UK's most popular sitcoms, from the quick-witted Extras to the uncomfortably awkward comedy of The Office. Gervais has a new Netflix series called After Life, it manages to intertwine both tragedy and humour, spurring conflicting emotion for viewers across the globe.

Since it's release on the 8th of March, After Life has soared in popularity becoming currently, one of the most watched series on Netflix.

The show centres around the character of Tony, a widower, stricken with grief and unable to overcome the loss of his wife. He adopts the attitude that "If I become an asshole and do and say as much as I want, I can always kill myself," describing it as "like a superpower." The story follows Tony as he realises his self-centred attitude, although rooted in grief, not only prevents his ability to regain happiness but impacts the friends and loved ones that surround him.

After Life is a rollercoaster of emotions. It shows that even after a tragic event, there is still so much to appreciate.

The show has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from viewers, with some arguing its Gervais's best work to date. Whether his best work or not, After Life certainly displays Gervais's ability to capture and inject a range of emotions, often not found in a dark comedy.

The series presents a range of unique characters, all providing their own unique personality to the narrative. From a sex worker to a ginger primary school bully, it's refreshing to see such diverse characters fit so perfectly into a story. The insertion of comedy is not over-saturated, with almost every joke landing, a feature that has come to be expected in any work involving Gervais. Moreover, After Life will not fail to tug on your heartstrings and bring the sternest of viewers to an emotional reaction. Perhaps most importantly, there's a dog and she's great.

The topic of the series is certainly relevant for an audience of today, in 2017, men in the UK between the ages of 45-49 had the highest suicide rates. Statistically, men accounted for three-quarters of suicides throughout the whole of 2017. Although more is being done than ever to support mental health, it is still a large problem in the UK.

The show promotes discussion on the topic of suicide, as well as an appreciation of life and the people that surround you. Despite a debatable decision from the main character Tony surrounding the drug addict Julian in the series, overall, the show is entertaining and promotes a positive message.

After Life is a definite must for 2019 and with a second series already on the cards, there's plenty more of it to look forward to.

Featured image: Rich Hardcastle / Media.Netflix.com

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