If you haven’t caught up with Please Like Me, don’t start with “Christmas trifle”. But, as a fan, you would have marvelled at the season’s finale – fewer laughs, but an artistic triumph.
Episodes have been built around a food or drink, so that Series 1 started with “Rhubarb and custard”, and, after running through such items as “French toast” and “Skinny latte”, we recently reached the especially brilliant “Coq au vin”, in which the household planned to kill and eat Adele, whose unanticipated crowing was waking the district.
For the Series 3 ending, the writer-star Josh Thomas told the sitcom’s
characters some home truths about their characters, snatched the bowl of Christmas trifle from the table, and ate it alone with his dog on a park bench.
Josh’s parents, partners and house-companions are quite likeable, usually, but Christmas typically brings out the worst in everyone … I get grumpier than ever.
Not that I should be overly blamed because, just this year, in the space of a few days, I heard about two, separate, extended families whose tensions became so overwhelming that members were opting out of the Christmas gatherings entirely, while a third complainer spoke of the opposite problem, being unilaterally informed that this year was the turn of the partner’s family.
On top of family difficulties, add the manufactured stress of gift-giving … frenzied shopping … increased traffic … haphazard parties … interrupted routines … pretend snow … inappropriate cooking … and I can think of more. More usefully, I can suggest a solution.
Apparently, one strategy is to think of the family as someone else’s: they then seem merely eccentric, rather than disturbed. That might reduce family but not retail stress.
My better suggestion is a quiet champagne on Christmas night. That’s with no more than one or two other people, sitting on a park bench with a bit to eat. With this anti-party to look forward to, the whole season can prove less rigorous than anticipated.
I adopted the anti-party ritual about 30 years ago, waiting in Wellington Square in North Adelaide for the Christmas tree lights to turn on every 25th, and it has usually seemed to work, so that I have often enjoyed the season almost as much as professed enthusiasts.