“Please Like Me” — our favorite Australian import since Cate Blanchett — makes its triumphant return to American television on October 16th (on Pivot). We’ve been anticipating this since last August and after having a sneak peek at the new season’s first few episodes we can attest it’s well worth the wait. And in celebrating, we’re offering up a list of 7 recaps in preparation for the third season (plus a video recap). Warning: there’s a few spoilers.
1. Josh and Arnold Sitting in A Tree…or Maybe Not…Or Maybe
“Please Like Me” centers itself around neurotic twentysomething Josh (played by series creator Josh Thomas), who has not been so lucky in love thus far (remember Geoffrey and Patrick?). Enter Arnold, who in the second season brought more romantic promise into Josh’s life — though Arnold’s frequent anxiety attacks, a nude return of Patrick and a dead possum all threatened to derail that. The second season ended on a bittersweet/ambiguous note as the two spoon each other without knowing where their relationship stands…
2. What About Tom?
While Josh seems to be heading into season three with a man on his arm, will his roommate and long-suffering best friend Tom find a woman to do the same? His relationship with probably too young Jenny ended disastrously last season (R.I.P. that bunny), but given our soft spot for the show’s prince of malaise, we hope he gets a better go at love this time around.
3. Women on the Verge
One of the more delightful friendships to come out of the second season was that of Hannah and Josh’s mother Rose — who met when both were institutionalized for their respective mental health issues. Hannah worked tirelessly to create a guard for herself, while Rose constantly was looking for a companion. Somehow the two ended up forming a unique bond with one another and ultimately decided to become roommates when they returned to the outside world. Season three suggestively continues to explore this dynamic, and we couldn’t be happier about that.
4. Confronting Mental Illness
One of the most imperative parts of “Please Like Me” has been its ability to shed light on mental health issues and mental illness. It would be problematic to call the series simply “queer,” given how it explores multi-dimensional characters of different genders and different sexualities trying to cope with their neuroses and anxieties. Some of the characters have diagnosed illnesses (like Arnold, Hannah and Rose), while other characters rely on coping mechanisms and humor. The episodes avoid a rose-tinted lens and instead show a realistic portrait of mental illness, complete with tragedy and heartache. None of the characters can cure themselves of their mental illnesses, but they can find new ways to help them function and manage to live healthy lives. It’s a rare and refreshing thing to find on any screen these days, and we’re looking forward to it continuing next season.
5. The Courtship of Josh’s Father
Last we left Josh’s father Alan and his girlfriend Mae, he had proposed to her in a hot air balloon and she had rejected him flat out. Now, their relationship certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride. In the first season, Alan kept Mae a secret because he feared her presence would agitate his ex-wife, who was already admitted to the hospital for an attempted suicide. Add that to their sizeable age difference, Alan’s midlife crisis, the birth of their daughter, and Mae’s insistence that Alan stop financially supporting Josh, and there’s a lot at play between Alan and Mae. While the proposal rejection didn’t seem to be an end-game for them in the last episode, we fully expect more of a rocky road.
6. Where in the World Is Claire?
Claire — once love interests for both Josh (pre coming out) and Tom, and now their mutual BFF — has been constantly floating between Europe and Australia for the last season and a half, occasionally popping up via Skype. Will she come back? Or we will have to continue our long-distance TV relationship with her?
7. Showstoppers and Toe Tappers
“Please Like Me” isn’t afraid to openly display its love of pop music and dance; the opening credits are dominated by Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes; Season 1 had frequent references to the song “Steps;” and Season 2 had that strange mashup of 80s/90s music with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Last year when we interviewed Josh Thomas, he said that if music were royalty-free, his episodes would have a lot of Sia and Taylor Swift. Hopefully some of his dreams will come true in future episodes, but if not, we will still have the acapella score and the wonderful opening credit sequences to keep us satiated.
Watch an epic recap of the first two seasons of “Please Like Me” below: