The End Of Please Like Me? Say It Isn’t So!

Originally published on MyGayToronto.com

Josh Thomas has worn many hats in the in the making of Please Like Me; producer, director, writer and star but what makes the show so good is how enduringly funny the characters are. Loosely based on his own life the show boldly tackles a number of topics from mental illness, coming out, suicide, sex and STD’s all made more accessible through the sharing of food and music.

While being gay is integral to Josh’s character it’s not the focus of the show which makes him interesting as opposed to sterotypical gay characters which are often hyper-exaggerated, two-dimensional versions of themselves. In fact when Josh wrote the original script it was about a straight character but as he came out it became apparent the show itself should change so that it evolved with him.

With just four seasons under their belt the producers of the show (including Josh) decided to wrap it up. This is sad news for us Canadians because season four hasn’t officially arrived here yet. In their official statement they said they came to the decision “because we are really happy with what we’ve made and feel like it is complete.” I’m sure that’s partly true but they were searching for a season five partner to no avail, so it’s possible that the show will be back.

RAYMOND: What LGBT TV/film actor do you admire the most and why?
JOSH: Ummm, Gosh. It’s hard to think of LGBT actors, there really aren’t that many. Ellen Degeneres is obviously number one forever.

Considering queer people in Russia have been downloading your show, you’re an ‘accidental activist.’ Have there been other LGBT-related impacts that your show has had – intentionally or otherwise?
We’re now available in almost every country in the world and in SO MANY of them it’s illegal to be gay and to talk about being gay, many countries through Asia and Africa and of course the middle east. I live in the inner city of Melbourne and it’s so easy to forget how fucked it is to be gay in most of the world. I don’t really understand how they punish the gays – do they put them all in prison? Because that sounds kind of fun.

You have a ton of interaction with your fans online, how much time to do you devote to this?
Hahaha do I? Oh this is embarrassing, I should have more of a life. I sort of check my socials through the day when I am waiting for my Uber or whatever. I don’t think it’s that healthy to constantly be reading people’s opinions about me so I try and limit it.

What have your fan interactions taught you about human nature?
Seeing how much people feel they have in common with things my character are going through is always interesting, I thought I was a bit weirder than I am.

What’s the most challenging part of acting in and directing the same show?
Definitely it’s being in a scene with an actor where I’m trying to be present in the scene and just believe what the other actor is doing and then having to switch out and give them critiques. I don’t want them doing the scene conscious that I am judging what they’re doing and about to give notes but also . . .  I have to judge what they are doing and give notes. Also calling cut on make out scenes, I have to like yell it into the boys mouth.

Raymond Helkio

Raymond Helkio is an award winning director, freelance journalist and author of several publications. His work focuses on LGBT issues.