Love, but no money

PleaseLikeMe star Josh Thomas says the show may not con­tinue due to fund­ing is­sues, writes AN­DREW FEN­TON

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S al­most un­heard of for a low-bud­get Aussie com­edy to be em­braced by an Amer­i­can ca­ble chan­nel and feted by En­ter­tain­ment Weekly as one of the best shows on tele­vi­sion.

But in a trag­i­cally ironic twist, Amer­ica’s af­fec­tion for Please Like Me could spell its doom af­ter US ca­ble chan­nel Pivot, which has co-pro­duced the show since sea­son two, re­cently shut down.

That means the show has lost a sub­stan­tial com­po­nent of its fund­ing which won’t be easy to re­place.

“I have to think about do­ing some­thing else be­cause I might not have another sea­son,” star and cre­ator Josh Thomas ex­plains. “Ob­vi­ously we’re talk­ing to everybody, but con­tracts aren’t built to have net­works close down, so it’s very tricky.”

The show streams on Hulu in Amer­ica and Ama­zon in the UK, mean­ing nei­ther of those two ser­vices nor Net­flix are likely to fund it be­cause they’re un­able to se­cure the rights for the other English-speaking ter­ri­to­ries.

“Peo­ple have been in­ter­ested in it, but it’s just a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,” he says.

Nei­ther Pivot or Hulu re­lease ratings fig­ures, but Please Like Me has proven pop­u­lar with the US press. It’s drawn praise from the New York Times, Van­ity Fair and Time – and En­ter­tain­ment Weekly named it one of the best shows of the year two years run­ning.

“I think 40 per cent of our (US) au­di­ence is TV crit­ics,” he says. “It’s a cultishly pop­u­lar show. I’m only there once a year, but ev­ery year there are a few more peo­ple at a gay club who’ll come up (to talk about it).”

The show’s suc­cess has also opened doors in Hol­ly­wood. Thomas has done a “whole slab” of meet­ings with net­work and stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives who he says com­pli­mented him a lot but didn’t ac­tu­ally of­fer him any work.

“I’m not good at that chit chat and I kept f ****** ev­ery­thing up,” he says. “I think it’d be more help­ful if I hadn’t tried to build a rap­port with these peo­ple.”

The ABC de­scribes the fourth sea­son as be­ing about “grow­ing up, burst­ing your bub­ble and do­ing ev­ery­thing within your power to keep hav­ing fun”.

Thomas says that’s what the ABC says ev­ery year. “Noth­ing ever re­ally hap­pens (on the show). Ev­ery sea­son they’ve been like, ‘And then they grow up some more’.”

This sea­son sees his mum tee­ter­ing be­tween de­pres­sion and ela­tion, his dad worry that his part­ner Mae is bul­ly­ing him, best friend Tom’s look­ing to BE­ING nasty to Jessica Mauboy was in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult, Rachel Gor­don says. The small screen vet­eran had to con­stantly re­mind her­self that the “er­ratic and de­struc­tive” things her char­ac­ter was do­ing to her co-star on The Se­cret Daugh­ter were fake. “She is a ray of sun­shine,” Gor­don says. “My char­ac­ter Su­san is ir­ra­tional. A lot of the stuff she does isn’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­pro­pri­ate. So it was tough, for sure.” move out with his girl­friend and Josh’s boyfriend Arnold seems to be los­ing in­ter­est.

The show’s drawn praise for its hon­est de­pic­tion of de­pres­sion which was based on Josh’s own mum’s men­tal health strug­gles. She tried to take her own life when he was 19, which af­fected him deeply.

“That was the ini­tial idea for the show. There are so many big things in life that you sort of prac­tise by watch­ing tele­vi­sion, but some­one at­tempt­ing sui­cide, I’ve just never seen it done in a way that’s very re­al­is­tic.

“I pitched that to my mum think­ing that was a good­in­ten­tioned thing to do and she said yes to it, but then I was very ner­vous that I wouldn’t have the skill set to pull it off in a way that’s not dis­gust­ing and of­fen­sive. I’m re­lieved peo­ple don’t think that.”

As the Chan­nel Seven hit drama airs its sea­son fi­nale this week, the tense plot is at fever pitch as the Nor­ton fam­ily have now been hit with a new rev­e­la­tion – Jack’s se­cret child isn’t Bil­lie, played by Mauboy, af­ter all.

Play­ing Jack’s dev­as­tated wife Su­san is the most com­plex mask Gor­don has ever had to put on. “It took me to parts of my­self that I haven’t re­ally ex­plored in a long time. It goes to some dark places. The sad­ness of Su­san bled over a bit,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.