As a millennial who is stumbling her way through the void we call life, I am always looking for avenues in which to ground my behaviours, feelings, and habits, for something that is, as the kids say, relatable. Like You – the web series created by actor, writer, and general kick-ass lady Verity Softly – fits this bill perfectly.
The six-part series centres Elliot, a 20-something Perth resident who, like the rest of us, is just trying to do life. Featuring struggles which include but are not limited to job ambiguity, an unstable goldfish, and finding the perfect outfit for a date with “the holy grail of lanky white dudes”, Like You is hilariously accessible in a way that subverts cliché. In a new take on the age-old rom-com, Softly and fellow writer Amanda Clarke, with the technical help of director Robert Woods, have captured the grittiness of early twenties life against a familiar Perth backdrop.
Our atypical protagonist, described by Softly as “a chubby woman who unashamedly likes sex and clothes and work”, is flanked by Dan, Sal, and Emily, who paint a broad spectrum of diversity that has too often been ignored in mainstream media.
While sexually and racially diverse characters are not new territory, it is refreshing to see them represented outside of stock personas. The inclusion of a femme queer couple rather than a token camp, homosexual male, and the avoidance of racial stereotypes as a tool for characterization are just a few ways that the series’ sex, body, and queer positivity themes are put forward.
When speaking to Softly about whether this multiplicity was cultivated mindfully, she admits that it wasn’t something that needed much consideration in the scripting process. She and Clarke wrote based on what was around them, which was “diverse, smart and funny people”. However, when it came to casting, Clarke and Softly ensured that the actors and creatives on set were a diverse bunch, knowing full well the empowering force of representation.
Similarly, the sex and body positivity organically came from writing truthful personas and being unashamed about publicising them. As Softly put it, they were excited to portray a realistic view of the world, “where bodies aren’t perfect, where sex happens and is great and sometimes terrible, and everyone is equally gross and amazing”.
Confidence is the take-home gift that Softly would like to bestow on Like You viewers, as the series which drew inspiration from Girls and The Mindy Project is lovingly released to the internet. This is easily received, predominantly through the characterisation of Elliot – a modern woman who has wonderful friends, career aspirations, and is seeking a partner, but is ultimately defined by her relationship with herself. The unapologetic individualism of all the lead characters is an empowering change from the co-dependent narrative so often explored in traditional rom-com, and it’s difficult to feel meek after taking it all in.
So, you must be asking, where can I feast upon this wonderful, modern series? The good news is, you can watch it for exactly zero dollars on the Like You YouTube channel – although, if you’d like to monetarily support the series you can do so here. The better news? Clarke and Softly have plans for a second season, so we can all indulge in sweet, sweet relatable humour once more.