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Feel Good Friday: Scarlett, What are You Watching?
This may be different from our usual Feel Good Friday blogs, in that it isn’t inherently cheerful or light-hearted — and yet, what I’m about to talk about is still something that made me feel good, feel heard, feel seen, and feel less alone. I wanted to share about this show because sometimes we overlook the therapeutic value of tasteful (which I guess is subjective in its own right) dark humour. If you’re unfamiliar with Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series, After Life, it’s about a man (played by Gervais) who is navigating his grief after the death of his wife, and grappling with suicidal ideation as a result. Sounds dark, right? Luckily, Gervais throws in a ton of humour to help ease the heaviness.
What I like about this sort of dark humour (as long as it isn’t demoralizing at the expense of someone else) is that it helps normalize talking about these often taboo subjects; it helps you feel less alone for having the same thoughts and for wishing you could blurt them out casually, like we would if we were feeling physically unwell. As someone who has also struggled with grief over the person closest to them, and worsening suicidal ideation as a result of that grief, it is weirdly refreshing to see it talked about in popular media — in a way that makes you both laugh and cry.
Season two was recently added, so of course I binged it right away. I was equally impressed and moved by this season and I’m crossing my fingers for a third (it sounds like there will be)! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite exchanges from the series:
“If you don’t believe in an afterlife… If death is just the end, what’s the point?”
“...So, if you’re watching a movie and you’re really enjoying it… and someone points out that this’ll end eventually, do you just go ‘Oh, forget it then. What’s the point?’ and just turn it off?”
“No, ‘cause I can watch it again.”
“Well I think life is precious because you can’t watch it again. I mean, you can believe in an afterlife if that makes you feel better. Doesn’t mean it’s true. But once you realize you’re not gonna be around forever, I think that’s what makes life so magical. One day you'll eat your last meal, smell your last flower, hug your friend for the very last time. You might not know it's the last time, so that's why you should do everything you love with passion, you know? Treasure the few years you've got because that's all there is.
PS: Whatever you do, please don’t base your ideas of therapy around the portrayal in this show — it’s very much a parody of what a horrible therapist might be like, just to add to the character’s frustration. I promise there are many more GOOD therapists who will validate and help you process your grief and all that comes with it.
The idea of Feel Good Fridays started because we believe the simple things that bring a smile to our face are some of the best things. Smiling and laughing have been proven to reduce stress in our lives! When we smile or laugh it releases neurotransmitters in our brain called endorphins, which are in charge of making us happy and helping to relieve stress.
Remember to check back for our next Feel Good Friday!
Scarlett started as a volunteer with mindyourmind in 2012 and has been a member of the staff team since 2016. As a Psychology graduate from King's University College at Western, she is passionate about all things related to the subject and is a proud mental health advocate with lived experience.
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