Why Are You Like This? is going to be one of the most polarizing shows of the year. In essence, the show presents three exaggerated, horrible versions of Gen Z stereotypes and throws them into a number of different culturally sensitive scenarios.
From MeToo movements through to gender equality, Why Are You Like This plays out as a satire on steroids walking a very fine tightrope that feels like it’s going to break at any moment.
The first episode is particularly rough around the edges and will undoubtedly make or break your experience with this one. Here, we’re introduced to Penny and Mia, two entitled 20-somethings who think the world owe them a massive favour. Mia struggles to find steady work and jumps from job to job, unwilling to get her hands dirty and claiming racism, sexism and every other ‘ism whenever she’s called out for her lack of work ethic.
Penny meanwhile, is determined to instigate forced change in her all-male workplace, complete with trying to fire her colleague Daniel for alleged homophobia. After publicly humiliating him and trying to entice their boss to fire the man, it turns out he’s gay. Sure this is a light spoiler but it’s a good example of the level of humour we’re dealing with here.
The awkward and situational comedy is then dialed up to 11 for the remainder of the season, as roommate Austin is introduced and acts as the wildcard ingredient for the rest of the show. At times it feels like the writers didn’t quite know what to do with his character. He does have some interesting moments but this is largely the Penny and Mia show.
The six episodes do have some good jokes but at times Why Are You Like This isn’t quite sure who it’s trying to aim its comedy at. Older millennials will almost certainly be put off by this while those squarely in Gen Z may take offence at the stereotypical view this series takes toward them.
Instead, this sitcom shoots for a very specific demographic and if you don’t fall into that category, you’re probably not going to enjoy what’s here.
The fact that these three characters all live in a big house with one wage packet between them does completely contradict the message this show is trying to portray. I do appreciate this is a sitcom and Friends did the same thing, but when you hear these characters complaining about money and debts, while living in said house, it does feel like tone-deaf irony.
The characters themselves certainly go on a journey but it’s more a jump between different awkward situations rather than one of self reflection and change. The closest the series comes to actually showing some meaningful change is actually near the end of episode 6, where Penny and Mia confront a woman named Alma backstage at a show. Beyond that, the series sticks pretty rigidly to its character tropes.
At the end of the day comedy is subjective. What one person finds funny, another will almost certainly not. There are a few nice jokes in here and the exaggerated satirical look at equality and other important topics do work quite well in today’s climate. However, it’s also a show that misses a lot more than it hits.
If you can get past the rocky first episode, you may find something to like here but given the sheer number of other sitcoms one can’t help but ask this show “why are you like this?”