Please Like Me
is an Australian television comedy series airing on The ABC
starring comedian Josh Thomas. The series revolves around Josh
, a 20-year-old university student whose life goes to hell in one day — his girlfriend dumps him, he realizes he’s gay, and his divorced mum Rose attempts to commit suicide. Because his father Alan already has a new girlfriend, Josh begrudgingly moves back in with her to take care of her, while trying to deal with the fact that not only is he gay, but he has an admirer in the form of his old housemate’s work colleague.
The first season began airing in Australia on ABC2 on the 28th of February 2013.
On July 2013 it was announced that the series would air in the United States as part of the launch programming of Pivot, a new digital cable and satellite television channel. On that same month they announced they had picked up the show for a second season.Season 2 premiered in the US on the 9th of August and on the 12th in Australia.
On July 2014 Pivot announced they had picked up the show for a third season.In dire need of some wiki magic.
Tropes used in this series include:
- All Love Is Unrequited: In season 1, Geoffrey’s affections for Josh are mostly unrequited. In season 2, Josh’s affections for Patrick are unrequited, despite some hinting at the opposite.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Twice, in ‘Portuguese Custard Pies’:
- When Alan first meets Geoffrey and learns he’s Josh’s boyfriend, he talks about using protection and HIV rates among gay men. Geoffrey cooperates and makes everything even worse.
- When Rose meets him, she’s surprised Geoffrey is dating someone that less attractive.
- Amicable Exes:
- Josh and Claire break up at the beginning of the first episode and remain friends, much to Josh’s surprise. Josh and Geoffrey become this by the end of series 1, but later drift apart.
- In ‘Truffled Mac and Cheese’, Claire tells Tom she was aiming for this relationship with him after they broke up, which is why she moved to Germany, while he was actually hoping to get back together with her.
- Asian Hooker Stereotype: Alan gets angry when Rod implies that Mae (who is Thai) is just with him for his money. In fact, she speaks six languages and is quite successful in her own right.
Rod: Hey, I’ve been to Thailand. They go, don’t they? You’re a lucky man. I was thinking of bringing a bar girl home myself, but I thought, no, people would judge.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Josh’s father and his girlfriend Mae. She constantly berates him, and apparently he’s quite snappy towards her offscreen, but in the last episode he is willing to fight Rod for insulting her.
- Awful Wedded Life: Stuart, the man Rose sleeps with in the hospital reveals that he’s married, but that his wife is ‘a bitch’. When she comes to visit him, it turns out to be true.
- Australian Brevity: The first series has 6 episodes, the second and third all of 10.
- The Baby Trap: Niamh announces she’s pregnant shortly after having a fight with Tom. This causes him to become invested in their relationship and their future child... until it turns out she isn’t pregnant, having just gotten her period late and made a wild assumption. Claire calls her out on manipulating Tom, and he finally breaks up with her for good.
- Better as Friends: Josh and Claire. Averted with Josh and Geoffrey, who drift apart after their break-up. Tom and Claire fall somewhere in between the two extremes, as explained in series 2.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Niamh. Jenny seems to be a borderline case, arguably triggered by Tom’s behaviour and/or the grief from Gavin’ death.
- Bittersweet Ending: The season 1 finale. Rose attempts suicide again, Geoffrey and Josh have broken up and Aunt Peg is dead, but Josh is there for Rose, Rose decided to cling to her will to live, Auntie Peg managed to reconcile with Josh and Rose, Josh and Geoffrey are happy to just be friends and Rose and Mae are friends.
- Book Ends:
- Rose’s suicide attempts in the first and last episodes of the first series.
- In the season 2 premiere, Josh goes clubbing and getting rejected by Patrick. In the season 2 finale, he goes clubbing and rejects Patrick.
- Bottle Episode: ‘Scroggin’, in a sense—Josh and Rose are hiking and are the only ones who have speaking parts.
- Brick Joke: Josh’s Auntie Peg asks out of the blue in ‘French Toast’ how big his testicles are, due to having read a study about people born with an extra chromosome having underdeveloped testicles, and that would explain his less-than-masculine characteristics. This is brought up again at the very end of the episode whilst Josh is making out with Geoffrey, when he asks him if he thinks his testicles are too small.
- Bumbling Dad: Dad.
- Camp Gay: Josh is a borderline case, in that his only camp characteristic is that he’s pretty effeminate. In ‘Portuguese Custard Pies’, Alan is worried that he might have cause him to turn gay because he didn’t snip these behaviours in the bud.
- Common Hollywood Sex Traits: Josh is clueless about gay relationships, and equates ‘gay sex’ with ‘anal sex’ before Geoffrey informs him that there are other options.
- Commuting on a Bus: Geoffrey and Claire aren’t part of the main cast of season two, but Geoffrey returns for one episode, and Claire returned for the middle few episodes.
- Cooldown Hug: Subverted. In the season 2 finale, Josh wants to give Arnold one of those when he’s having a panic attack, but Arnold tells him to just stay away and say nothing until it’s over.
- Couch Gag: The title sequence for episodes 2 to 6 of the first season features Josh (or, in the first series finale, his mum) preparing the food named in the episode title. This was abandoned on the second season, although it returns in ‘Truffled Mac and Cheese’.
- Cringe Comedy: Mostly has to do with Josh.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mae, on occasion. A good example from ‘Portuguese Custard Tarts’:
Oh, excuse me. I am velly solly
, sir, for speaking out of turn, sir. I was momentarily distracted by my uterus and I forgot my manners. (Giggles in mock modesty
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Claire's quiet ‘but youre so pretty’, to Geoffrey.
- Dysfunction Junction: Josh is a NEET, Tom has serious relationship issues, Alan has trouble moving on after Rose, Rose is bi-polar, Geoffrey’s father is an alcoholic who dies in season 2, and quite a few characters have some debilitating self-esteem issues. Not to mention the mental hospital Rose is checked into in season 2.
- Driven to Suicide: Mum, at the very start of the series, although she survives. Also at the end, but she changes her mind and survives again.
- Ginger, in the middle of second series.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe example. Josh and his friends are playing beer pong with some guests at Patrick’s birthday party. Josh and Arnold tease each other, and after Arnold mentions Josh’s mentally ill mother, Josh calls Arnold an ‘orphan’ for being adopted, and everyone, especially Arnold’s non-adopted brother, find it distasteful, the only exception being Arnold himself.
- Foreshadowing: From ‘Ham’:
Ginger: If I was trying to kill myself, I’d be dead.
- The Fundamentalist: Auntie Peg is a subversion, originally portrayed as homophobic due to her fierce adherence to religion, warms up to Rose and Josh and delivers a speech re-affirming her dedication to Josh despite his homosexuality. In the season finale, Josh reads at the funeral the note she left behind, which says she was actually going to church mostly out of inertia after a while.
- Gold Digger: In the first season finale, Rod implies Mae is this, prompting a very angry reaction from Alan. In ‘Skinny Latte’, Rose implies Mae is this when she steps in to break an argument between her and Alan, but quickly takes it back when confronted and says she said it out of frustration with Alan.
- Goodbye, Cruel World!: Ginger leaves a brief note for Rose, who is hesitant to read it. Josh reveals that he wrote one too when he was 19, but he can’t recall what it said. Rose didn’t write any because her two attempts were spontaneous. At the end of the episode, they read Ginger’s note and burn it to move on.
Rose, you fat bitch,
Thanks for keeping me company.
Take care of yourself.
- Gossipy Hens: Rose thinks (correctly) that Ginger is this and tries to avoid telling her she slept with a married man (without knowing he was married) in the hospital. Ginger overhears her anyway, but doesn’t tell anyone.
- Hypocrite: In ‘Horrible Sandwiches’, Alan mocks Rod’s Harley Davidson and says that it’s a bike for arseholes, then gets offended when Rod mocks Mae in jest.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Josh openly wonders why a guy as handsome as Geoffrey would be interested in him.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episodes are named after food: ‘Rhubarb and Custard’, ‘French Toast’, ‘Portuguese Custard Tarts’, ‘All You Can Eat’, ‘Spanish Eggs’, ‘Horrible Sandwiches’, etc.
- In Vino Veritas:
- In ‘Rhubarb and Custard’, Rose inverts this by telling a lot of embarrassing truths to everyone, including her expressed surprise at Niamh still being a part of the group (‘I admire your tenacity!’) and that Josh has a crush on Patrick, while she’s off her meds.
- In ‘Sausage Sizzle Wan’, Claire gets drunk at Jenny’s play and tells her they saw her menstrual pad’s wings during the play when they meet up after.
- Meat Versus Veggies: In ‘Skinny Latte’, Josh wants to take Arnold and Tom out to a Portuguese place that offers all-you-can-eat meat and seafood, only to find out Arnold’s a vegetarian.
- The Mentally Disturbed: Averted. Rose, as well as the rest of the mental patients at the hospital she stays in in season 2, are portrayed very sympathetically.
- Midlife Crisis Car: Josh’s dad buys one, despite Mae and Josh mocking him for it.
- Mistaken for Racist: When Rose hears Alan’s new girlfriend is from Thailand and came to Australia for him, she jokes that she must have poor eyesight. Josh’s father reprimands her, thinking she was making a racist joke about Asians’ eyes, but she was actually implying that he was ugly as a jab at him. (Although she does act like somewhat of an Innocent Bigot when she meets her.)
- Mood Whiplash: Twice, fairly quickly, in ‘Ham’. When the last chocolate is left from the box Josh brought to the hospital, he, Rose, Ginger, and Hannah compete for the saddest virginity loss story, à la Notting Hill, the prize being the last chocolate. They all tell hilariously embarrassing stories, and when they get to Hannah, she tells them she was raped. They all feel very awkward about it, but she says it’s fine, because she just knew she would get the last chocolate all along. Ginger protests and says she was raped too, but didn’t know it counted, and after a short argument she just grabs the chocolate and eats it, and Hannah tells Josh he owes her a chocolate.
- Motor Mouth: Rose in season 2, after going off her meds.
- NEET: Josh is essentially this, continuing his studies indefinitely while changing his courses frequently, never getting around to graduate. His father finally sets him straight and tells him to go get a job when he wants to retire to be with his girlfriend Mae and their daughter Grace, and doesn’t want to pay for all his expenses anymore.
- Newer Than They Think: In-universe example. A man Josh is dating extols the virtues of reiki and claims it’s ‘thousands of years old’, and Josh claims that it’s only 80 years old. They argue briefly, and Josh Googles it to prove that he was (mostly) right—it was invented in 1922.
- No Medication for Me: Rose does this in the season 2 premiere. She doesn’t try to kill herself or harm anyone, but she does say a lot of uncomfortable truths to everyone around her in a state of mania (she’s bi-polar), which gets her committed.
- Oh, Crap: When Josh plugs in his dead phone and starts brushing his teeth in Episode 1 and he receives many messages from Dad about Mum’s attempted suicide. The first you hear is ‘She’s been moved to a ward’ which degrades to ‘Fuck, Josh, Fuck, Mum, Call me’.
- Only Friend: Geoffrey admits that Josh is his best (and only) friend. Josh finds this supremely odd.
- Precision F-Strike: After Claire breaks up with Josh in the first episode.
This $19 sundae
is suddenly pretty fucking humiliating.
- Really Gets Around: ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ seems to showcase Patrick as this. He manages to hook up with someone at the party he attends with Josh and Tom, and later his mobile gets frequent Grindr messages with an audible tone, finally bringing home the man he was chatting with.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Niamh delivers one to Tom when she’s the last to find out that he has a new girlfriend, pointing out that he’s being very insensitive towards her as a human being and a friend, and pointing out all of his flaws.
- Self-Deprecation: Josh does this often. Works in a meta-sense too, as Josh Thomas writes the series as well.
- In ‘Spanish Eggs’, Josh references Degrassi Junior High.
- In ‘Scroggin’, Josh asks his mum to give him some peace and quiet and not be ‘the donkey to [his] Shrek’.
- Throughout the second season, speaking to Arnold gives Josh an excuse to say "Hey Arnold!" four or five times an episode.
- Shower of Love: Tom and Claire.
- Sit Comic
- Source Music: In ‘French Toast’, Geoffrey selects Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ as the background music for his and Josh’s first lovemaking session. Naturally, this unnerves the already-terrified Josh.
- Speed Sex: In ‘Lapin la Cocotte’, Tom and Jenny have sex without a condom after Gavin’s impromptu funeral, which Tom doesn’t last in for long.
- Starts with a Suicide: Of the attempted variety.
- Straight Gay: Geoffrey, who is a rabid Collingwood supporter, and Patrick.
- There Are No Coincidences: When Alan confides in Geoffrey that he still hasn’t moved on from Rose in ‘Portuguese Custard Pies’, Geoffrey argues this and says points out that’s why he now has a ‘cool car’. Alan seems to like this reasoning and tells him he thinks he’ll be good for Josh.
- Time Skip: Season 2 starts a year after season 1 ended.
- Troubled, but Cute: Arnold, in season 2.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Boyfriend: While not necessarily ‘ugly’, Josh definitely doesn’t meet the level of conventional attractiveness enjoyed by both Claire and Geoffrey — in his own words, he looks ‘like a fifty-year-old baby’.
- Alan and Mae, similarly. Rose, Josh, Mae and her mother have all invoked this—and that’s just in the first series.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Partial example with Josh and Geoffrey. After Josh has had trouble feeling close and affectionate with Geoffrey for most of season 1, he tries to get back together with him in the season finale, only to be rejected because Geoffrey realises they don’t really have this kind of connection, and Josh just wants him close because he’s grieving Auntie Peg’s death.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Josh vomits out of the hot air balloon that Alan proposes to may in after a night of some drinking in the season 2 finale.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Alan proposes to Mae in a hot air balloon in the season 2 finale. She appreciates the gesture but rejects the proposal, and Josh, who is also in the hot air balloon, vomits out of the balloon. It becomes very awkward when it turns out her parents were invited and they chastise her for rejecting the proposal to ‘live in sin’ with Alan.
- Wham Line:
- The last line of ‘Portuguese Custard Pies’:
Tom: Niamh is pregnant.
- The last line of ‘Lapin la Cocotte’:
Rose: It’s Ginger. We shouldn’t have left her. She killed herself.
- What Does He See In Him: Even Josh’s mother can’t understand why someone like Geoffrey would be attracted to Josh.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Alan wants to avert this with his and Mae’s daughter Grace, making him tell Josh to get a job and declare that he’s retiring in ‘Lapin la Cocotte’.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Tom does this to Niamh with Claire in season 1, and later to Jenny with Niamh in season 2.
- Rose sleeps with Stuart, a man in the hospital who turns out to be married.