Reviews, Screen, TV Please Like Me season 4 review: is Josh Thomas the voice of his generation? By Ben Neutze | November 9, 2016 | In the pilot episode of Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls, Dunham’s character Hannah says to her parents: “I don’t want to freak you out, but I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least, a voice of a generation.” This statement, and the success of the series, spawned a mass of opinion pieces questioning whether Dunham was, in fact, the voice of her generation, and whether the discomfort, ugliness and bleak humour of Girls captured something about millennials. Well, I’m sorry to inform my fellow Australian millennials: if Lena Dunham is that voice in America, Josh Thomas might just be the voice of our generation at home. It mightn’t be something we’re all that happy with — you either find him charming or can’t stand his neuroticism, socially awkward persona and inexplicably British-tinged accent — but his ABC series Please Like Me is the best and most incisive comedic drama Australia has produced in a long time. Please Like Me has always captured the contradictions of our generation that we’ve never really seen on Australian TV before. It’s received an International Emmy nomination, glowing review after glowing review, and even been called the more playful Australian Girls, by several commentators. Okay, here are a few gross generalisations that apply to millennials and the central characters of Please Like Me: We’re informed(ish) and engaged(ish) about the big issues but are unable to translate that into any kind of action. We’re confident and cocky but crippled by self doubt. We’re sexually liberated but don’t really know what to do with that freedom. We’re committed to discovering our own moral compasses but often need a guiding hand. There’s a lot more than that covered in the series, including mental illness, sexuality, and the relationship between older parents and their adult children, but it’s those millennial concerns driving the series. The fourth season of Please Like Me kicks off with a rather rude awakening for Josh: it’s time to adult. (No, not “time to be an adult”, millennials have started using “adult” as a verb.) Not only is his mother throwing out all his childhood toys (he wonders aloud how he suddenly became Andy at the end of Toy Story 3), his best friend is about to move out of their share house, and his relationship is becoming more and more difficult. If the first episode feels a little like it’s going over ground the series has already covered — it features an embarrassing, failed threesome — the second is intensely moving and unsettling. It would be unfair to reveal what happens, but the episode catapults towards heartbreak with a fair degree of force. The episode, which takes place on a short camping trip, is so well written and directed that it builds up to a final confrontation that stops just the right side of melodrama and manages to feel totally real. On the trip, Josh and his friends come across an ambulance on a beach. They decide to approach. Why? Because they could? Because it seemed like it might be exciting in some way? Because they might be able to provide some kind of assistance? There’s no real answer, but this moment feels like it perfectly encapsulates what it is to be a young adult in 2016, and to make choices for the sake of making choices. Please Like Me had a gorgeous first three seasons, and to be able to find another side of the coin for the fourth is pretty damn impressive. [box]Please Like Me is on ABC TV on Wednesday nights at 9.30pm[/box] Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Email About the Author: Ben Neutze Ben Neutze is Deputy Editor of Daily Review. He has previously written for Time Out Sydney, The Guardian Australia and Limelight Magazine.