Yesterday Josh Thomas surprisingly apologised for comments he made in 2016 around the challenges of casting and how he wanted to make Please Like Me more diverse.
In 2014 he told TV Tonight casting had also been a concern to US network Pivot.
“They were really worried about our racial diversity casting, but so was I. The show is quite white, and I get really frustrated that Australian television is quite white,” he said at the time.
“It’s always been something I’d criticised, but we cast with who we could find and they were quite white. But also a lot (of characters) were family members, so you kind of get stuck. We tried to do better, but we didn’t do that much better in Season Two.
“It’s a thing I want there to be more of on television, but then when you’re casting you can’t really force it. You can’t go with someone who you don’t think is as good a match to a character, just because they are a different race.”
Compared to many scripted comedies in 2013 Please Like Me actually had some strong representation, including characters who were gay / lesbian, seniors and Asian-Australian. The New York Times even included it on its list of the Best International TV Shows of the Decade at #19.
The role of Ginger, who befriended on screen-mother Rose (Debra Lawrance) was cast from a very wide field.
“‘Ginger’ didn’t have an age in the casting process. We looked at 20-somethings to Denise Drysdale,” he explained.
Drysdale eventually landed the role to much acclaim.
In his latest series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Thomas has cast performers who are LGBTQi, black and actors on the autism spectrum.
And a St.Bernard dog.