There's an odd desperation in the title "Please Like Me." The fact is that Josh Thomas is remarkably likable, a breezy and pleasant chap on a new network that's filled with idealism and optimism. The show starts Friday and reruns often; here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
Fame can be a fine thing, when parceled out modestly.
Josh Thomas found that, shortly after returning to the U.S.
“I’ve only been recognized by a few people,” he said, “but they were good ones–
two attractive homosexuals and someone who gave me a cupcake.”
There will be more attention, when his “Please Like Me”
starts its second season on Pivot.
A year ago, Thomas was the face of Pivot – literally. When
the cable channel started (Aug. 1), his face filled the side of some Los
Angeles buses. Few Americans had heard of him or of Pivot. And now?
The channel, launched with 40 million satellite and
cable homes, has an appealing mix. It has reruns (“Buffy,” “Friday Night
Lights,” “Veronica Mars”), an interactive talk show co-hosted by Meghan McCain
and the kind of documentaries and movies that have scored for Pivot founder,
Jeff Skoll, a producer of “The Help,” “Lincoln,” “Fast Food Nation” and “An
Thomas’ show “made quite a few top-10 lists,”
said Belisa Balaban, Pivot’s original-programming chief. At 27, Thomas remains
a key and quirky symbol of this youthful channel.
Other shows are coming up, Balaban said: Oct. 17 brings the
return of the clever rap-improv “Freestyle Love Supreme” and the debut of a
reality show about “the coolest street in Los Angeles” … In January, Pivot’s
first drama series, “Fortitude,” arrives. For now, however, the focus is on two
“Human Resources” is a reality show about a recycling firm. “What
Pivot stands for and what TerraCycle stands for are really similar,” said Tom Szaky,
who has quickly gone from marijuana-growing experiments (“Canada is a little
more flexible with that”) to recycling in 26 countries.
That’s followed by the return of “Please Like Me,” Thomas’
situation comedy. He said it was made “the same as we did Season One, just with
slightly more money, which is nice.”
In the first year, Pivot simply aired the six-episode season
that Thomas made in Australia (where he’s been a stand-up star since he was
17). That portrayed the stretch when he was trying to be heterosexual and when
his divorced mom attempted suicide. “It’s the light stuff,” Balaban joked, “but
This second season finds him with a random life of friends, school
and would-be romance. His bi-polar mother boasts about her gay son; in a
fictional addition, his dad has a young wife and a baby.
That led to a season-opener highlight: When the baby fills
her diaper, Thomas takes her in the shower.
“They have a lot of laws about … not drowning a baby,” he
said. “We had to get the shower cleaned, because the house we filmed in wasn’t
clean enough to have a baby in. We had to get permission from the mum (and) put
the baby in nude underwear …. A baby in nude underwear is sort of creepy,
Not this one. “(Bleeping) adorable baby,” Thomas said. “I
mean, that’s television. No matter how bad my writing is, that’s going to be
popular, that scene.”
“Please Like Me,” 10:30 p.m. ET Fridays, Pivot,
rerunning at 1:30 a.m.
Opener (Aug. 8) reruns often, including 4:30
p.m. ET Aug. 13 and 8 and 11:30 p.m. Aug. 14