Since the Ricky Gervais interview post is so damn long, I'll handle the details of the "Extras" season two premiere here. Spoilers coming up just as soon as I Google Keith Chegwin...
As I've said in the past, I didn't love season one. I felt like Andy was a bad fit as central character for Gervais and Merchant's style of uncomfortable comedy, since more often than not he was the victim of circumstance, where David Brent always brought the humiliation on himself. There were too many incidents where I just felt sorry for him.
But with Andy so brazenly selling out his creative vision with "When the Whistle Blows," it's become much easier for me to laugh at him, as well as with him. (As opposed to Barry from "Eastenders," since according to Darren, "The thing about Barry is, people will laugh at him, they never laugh with him.") I still felt some sympathy for him at the end, at his realization of how much people enjoyed the stupid wig and glasses and catchphrase, and at that look between him and Maggie, but it's the same way I can feel bad for Michael Scott for growing up friendless and still find it painfully funny when he can't bring himself to fire Creed.
Orlando Bloom's guest spot was one of the funnier ones (though not up to Kate Winslet or Patrick Stewart), particularly the scene where he was so desperate to get Maggie to look at all the magazine stories discussing his magnificent beauty. However, Bloom couldn't hold a candle to Keith Chegwin. I have no idea who he is, save what was said about him, but the whole sequence where Keith couldn't get anything right was a scream. ("Door's stuck." "That's lunch.") And, of course, the racist/homophobic exchange afterwards (particularly David's inability to think of a single funny English black man) was the sort of thing they probably couldn't get the more famous guests to do.
What did everybody else think?