Sunday, January 14, 2007

Extras: What a damned handsome man

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?

6 comments:

Jon said...

And that was a picture of Lenny Henry on the wall, yes?

Daniel said...

Great episode. Gervais has matured into a pretty decent actor; he did an amazing job of conveying Andy's despair and helplessness as people laughed harder and harder at his catch phrase.

Wonderful bit of symbolism pointing back toward the Office Christmas Special: having Andy as the boss enter with the joke about "she'd have to be a dog to go out with him" line. David Brent's response marked his progress on the road to being a functional human being and now Andy's response is revealing his decline.

SJ said...

I thought the first season was a bit weak, but wow what a hilarious start to the 2nd seasons. The Keith bit was absolutely hilarious, and I liked how Orlando Bloom played himself as someone obsessed with overcoming Johnny Depp.

Moses said...

I've seen all of season 2 and the next episode has one of the funniest moments in television history. Season 2 is far superior to season 1.

Kristin said...

The bit with Orlando Bloom was hilarious. Loved it. But the rest...very little laughter at our house. Not enough laughs between the non-comedic parts.

I watched one episode last year and didn't like it much. Thought I'd give it another go, but....

Undercover Black Man said...

I loved Season 1. Not having seen the original "Office," this was my window into the humor of Ricky Gervais, and I dug it. Really enjoy the Scottish chick... a great female comic role.

Now, the Season 2 premiere left me a little cold. The Orlando Bloom stuff... one joke, and not much of a joke. Gervais hit the celebrity narcissism thing pretty hard last season.

And there was something off-putting about Gervais's contempt in this ep... Dissing Lenny Henry for no apparent reason, and attacking the sitcom audience for laughing at typical sitcom humor.

I expect things to get better, and Gervais to deliver something more surprising, based on what I've read.