I’ve been a massive fan of ABC2’s Please Like Me since it aired with its first season.  It’s just enjoyable,  sweet, clever, raw at times and it makes me laugh out loud and cringe for the characters minutes later.  Series three can’t come soon enough for me, I’m hooked.

I was watching this week’s opening scene taking place in the kitchen shared by Josh and Tom (played by Josh Thomas and Thomas Ward) and I began thinking how does this happen, how does the magic of creating the scenes and the set that make the characters that little bit more realistic and believable happen?
There is a look to their home, I call it “op shop chic” It’s a mixture of retro, kitsch and modern.  It’s warm, packed full of personality and very unique.
Once I’d finished watching I thought bugger it I’ll try to find out.
I was shocked and stoked to actually get a reply from the Production Designer Penelope Southgate.
Please Like Me - Taken from Zap2it

Please Like Me – Taken from Zap2it – Loving the mismatched cushions, granny blankets, lamps.  Great mixture of retro and kitsch.


What was your brief for the Please Like Me, did Josh Thomas have much input or an idea of the look he wanted to create for the house?
Josh definitely had ideas on the house what the characters would have, he has quite a strong visual sense. The show is very character driven so it’s really all about what they would have and the type of house they would live in. Obviously being young they would look in particular areas within a price range. But both Tom and Josh have certain interests, talents and lifestyles that are hopefully reflected in the house.
Josh Thomas Image c/o Vox.com

Josh Thomas (Ben Timony) Image c/o Vox.com

How did you source the item for the house shared by Josh, Tom, Claire and Geoffrey? Did you visit op shops, antique shops or garage sales or is there a secret ABC Aladdin’s cave hidden somewhere?

There is an excellent Aladdin’s cave at the ABC that was the source for a lot of the props & dressings. This was particularly as the show is very low-budget but also because they have some fantastic stuff that was perfect for the show. There was a lot of ebaying going on as well as op shopping and hiring from prop stores such as Prop-A-Ganda & The Prop Store.

Josh, Tom and Jenny - Please Like Me

Josh, Tom and Jenny – Please Like Me

What sort of time frame did you have to put the house together?

I think the pre-production on the first series was about 5 weeks but that’s to do everything for the whole series. We also didn’t get the actual house location till down the track a bit. Once we did, I think we had access for about 4 days before filming, firstly to move everything in the house out into storage, then wallpaper & paint, then move all our furniture & dressings in.

Did you have any favourite pieces that seemed to suit the show’s feel?

I loved the dog collection & a couple of them in particular. I also loved the Mickey Mouse phone that is from the ABC props store. Unfortunately we were asked to remove it from set because of copyright concerns. I loved a lot of the pictures we had as well, again a lot from the ABC store.

From the ABC's Aladdin's Cave Prop Department

From the ABC’s Aladdin’s Cave Prop Department

What was the best bit about being involved in the show?

I think working with Josh. He’s such a smart guy and thinks in a really interesting way. I also loved working with the director Matt Saville and of course the wonderful art department team. It’s all about the people.


Are you an op shopper?  If so can you tell us what you enjoy most about op shopping.

I don’t do as much as I would like, it’s mostly others in the art department that get out and about. I’m stuck in the office or on recce’s quite a bit. That’s why I tend to buy on ebay. It isn’t quite the same as seeing & feeling the object though, it only works for some things, I try and get out on the weekends though

Taken from SFGATE

Image c/o PIVOT

Huge thanks Penelope for taking time out of your weekend to answer a random e-mail from me.

Does anyone else want to see what’s in this ABC Aladdin’s Cave or is it just me?

Please Like me can be seen on ABC2 at the moment on a Tuesday at 9.30pm or you can catch up on ABCIview

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