It’s very common to leave a comedy show with a new perspective or having learnt something. Louise Atkinson’s Mates takes the idea of putting a message within a comedy show a step further, so that not only do we leave with having internalised the more personal experiences within the show, but with an academic and sociological insight on the topic. Atkinson fills the gap between academics and TikTok and provides a more colloquial exploration into the nature of friendships and the different forms that they can take.
Throughout the show, Atkinson presents an academic-level analysis about relationships between friends, using a non-linear structure in order to clearly book-end her arguments as she logically explores the topic, and then expands on the points that she makes by recounting personal anecdotes as part of her analysis. Atkinson always loops her tangents round to meet with the main body of her material, retaining an overarching narrative throughout Mates, providing a clear sense of flow and storytelling. The delivery of the material is testament to Atkinson's almost acerbic wit, but underneath her words is a fondness that comes from the personal nature of her stories and care for the people in question. It’s as if she’s showing the practical application of her arguments through her delivery of the material. Beneath the personal anecdotes and comedy, there is an underlying message and critique of fast fixes and one size fits all therapy, in particular aimed at TikTok. In quite an unforgiving manner, Atkinson criticises these creators, and generally anyone propagates these ideas in order to benefit themselves, and generally warns us to be aware that these creators do not have our best interests at heart.
Mates is a very touching and hilarious show to watch, because whilst it is an emotional and personal subject, Atkinson takes every opportunity to poke fun at the people that she features in her anecdotes, but in the way that only friends can. We learn something incredibly useful here, which we can use going forward to appreciate our friends more and be better friends to them in return.