TV: Please Like Me season 2 (2014)

creators: Josh Thomas & Matthew Saville
language: English and a bit of Thai
length: 10 episodes of about 25 minutes each
finished watching on: 1 May 2017
previous seasons: season 1

I can’t remember why I took such a long break from this series – there were a few months when I didn’t watch it at all, before picking it up again sometime this year. But I still get a strong impulse to watch it whenever I cook food, perhaps a habit, but perhaps also influenced by the importance of food in the series (they provide motifs for a lot of episodes and the episodes are named after food).

Basically, the series has found its feet here, but I feel it’s still far too full of cringe humour for my liking at the end of the day. Josh, the main character, is insufferable, to be honest, constantly nagging other characters for attention and validation.

I like how it deals very frankly and directly with mental illness. But it often goes from these moments straight back into something very cringeworthy for comedy’s sake, and perhaps back again, even ending one episode with the surprise suicide of a side character – I said in the review of the last season that I was annoyed that my favourite character had been killed off by the show, and this is the same. I think the tone wasn’t consistent in this area. Balance is important.

But it’s got some high points – Josh and his mum in the wilderness of Tasmania was a really nice episode, and I liked the introduction of Arnold, who as far as I know will end up with Josh in the next season.

Despite its negative points, I still identify with a lot of the characters and recognize the situations. I’ll still be continuing with the next season. Soon, perhaps!

Games: Karoshi and Super Karoshi

played on: 22 & 23 May

Karoshi is a cute little platformer that you can get online. It’s rather morbidly derived from a Japanese word meaning “death through overwork” (trust the Japanese to have such a word, eh?? And don’t we all just love Sapir-Whorf jokes??), and the concept is that instead of “winning” each level by getting to the end, you have to kill the main character (I think he might be called Karoshi, I can’t remember).

Frankly, when I first heard the concept sometime last year, I thought it sounded stupid, because you’re just replacing a “victory” goal with a goal that looks like spikes and makes your wee man splatter blood all over the screen. But, well, as you might imagine, that’s very addictive. The first game, which I got for free when I was trying out the App Store (yeah, I know, sellout!), is a straight platformer with relatively set rules. Sadistic, for sure, but it follows those rules for at least most of the game. Super Karoshi, which I think is actually the fifth game, is the one that you can find on all the flash game websites and the one that I originally played last year, and has a slightly insane bent to its pre-existing sadism, with far more levels that require you to think outside the proverbial box, levels that alter the rules ad hoc and a series of fake endings. It also has its fair share of “normal” levels, and adds the mechanic of Super Karoshi, a superhero version of the character who can’t die but can fly, and must lead his comrades to their safety inevitable death.

So in comparison to Super Karoshi, which I already played a couple of times and is loads of fun, the original Karoshi is also fun, but feels quite boring by comparison. If I remember correctly, however, it has a few more challenging levels. And it’s definitely worth it, both of them.