Friday, February 19, 2010

'The Ricky Gervais Show' & 'The Life and Times of Tim' review: Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review HBO's new Friday animated comedy bloc of "The Ricky Gervais Show" and "The Life and Times of Tim":
HBO's new Friday animated comedy pairing of "The Ricky Gervais Show" and "The Life and Times of Tim" both feature protagonists (one real, one fictional) defined by their simple-mindedness and their stoicism in the face of one unending humiliation after another. But it's the second season of "Tim" that surprisingly mines more laughs from the idea than the debut of the latest work from the creators of the British "The Office" and "Extras."
You can read the full column here, though a lot of it is duplicating what I said about the shows on this week's podcast, if you listened to that.

13 comments:

Chazz Goodtimes said...

I saw the first season of Tim and found it to be very funny at times. I honestly haven't found anyone else who's seen it so it was nice to read this review. There is unique comedy in his zen-like approach to life, the way he quietly objects to the ridiculous situations that he is placed in. Tim complaining about the production value of the sexual harassment video was the highlight of season 1 for me. I'm glad it is back for a second season.

I just started listening to the podcasts/audio books from Ricky, Steve and Cal, which have been great to have on in the car on my commute to work. There is at times a certain level of uncomfortableness with their treatment of Cal, often made worse by Gervais's purposeful shrill laugh directed at Cal's more inane comments. To hear that the animated version exacerbates the uncomfortableness is definitely disappointing.

Alan- based on your review the show seems to be animated versions of previously recorded podcasts- is that correct? If that is the case I may skip this show altogether since they've been great, for the most part, to listen to on my long commute to work.

Brent said...

Big fan of "Tim." Some of those Season 1 episodes were brilliant. I'm thrilled that it's back for a 2nd season.

Antid Oto said...

God, Karl Pilkington is one of the all-time great comic characters of the last decade. If animating those podcasts results in him becoming better-known in the US, I'd say it's worth the awkwardness.

And put me down as one more who loved season 1 of Tim.

Tom said...

Me, I am more than willing to put up with seeing a little squirm-worthy cruelty to Karl, if it also means getting to see 'Monkey News' in glorious Hanna-Barbera-style animation.

blinky said...

Ricky Gervais as Fred Flintstone Junior. Who will be his Wilma?

blinky said...

The Life and Times of Tim is the modern day incarnation of Dr Katz: Professional Therapist.
Both are excellent shows. Ray Romano got his start on Dr Katz before the Raymond Show.

Ryan W said...

Alan,

Did you receive a screener for Funny or Die Presents?

Anonymous said...

The first episode of The Ricky Gervais is available for free on iTunes. I so hope they do the Monkey News with a monkey as the late-night talk show host who has to interview Cher.

blinky said...

OK.
Now after seeing the first show I have to ask: Why animation?
The cutaways to the weird ideas make sense, but the 3 guys animated all the time is just distracting. As cartoons they just look like mean schoolboys taunting a moron. Sort of like cackling hyenas in Hanna-Barbera/Ren-&-Stimpy style. I think seeing the real human beings would be much more compelling.

dez said...

I liked "The Ricky Gervais Show," but agree that the animation of the three guys detracts. I'd rather seem them live and have the weird bits animated. Karl is a hoot!

Mark Madel said...

I'd never heard the podcasts (although I've been a fan of Gervais for a long time) but I totally disagree... I think the animation worked brilliantly - with Karl's stories, their responses to the stories, and the three of them in the studio.

The animation in the studio allowed for a hilarious and stylized approach to the body language of the three - the way Gervais and Merchant were sitting on one side of the table with smirks on their faces, barely moving, and staring at Karl like he was bug under a microscope - while Karl was sitting hunched over and beleaguered - was probably not the way they actually behaved during the podcasts.

But even more funny, I thought, was the animation of their rebuttals to his stories - such as the monkey slide towards suicide - or the imagined look on Karl's face when he found 'the note'.

Anonymous said...

I'm definately biased as I think everything Ricky/Steven do together is pure gold (the original podcasts, especially the early ones, being some of their best stuff) I was worried when I learned that they were simply animating old podcasts as a new show, as it seemed out-of-character for Ricky/Steven to ever "mail it in."

However, I have now seen the 1st episode twice and was dying laughing both times. The animation is incredible, and in my opinion gives these podcasts a whole new life!! The animation reminds me of the Simpsons in its prime.

The podcast for this 1st episode wasn't one of my favorites, but the animation totally made up for it. Wait till we get to the Cambodian Midget Fighting League, Karl's "lonliest man in the world" speech, etc... Can't wait!!!!!

PS: For those of you complaing about this show being uncomfortable to watch (Ricky/Steven being too hard on Karl, etc...), have you ever seen any of Ricky's stuff?? The entire 2nd season of the office was excruciating (in a great way). The way they execute uncomfortable is what makes them geniuses.

Tom said...

Amen, Anonymous & Mark Madel.

Sure, Karl's podcast description of the monkey astronaut slipping into depression and suicidal dissolution was hilarious -- but seeing the monkey snort coke off a hooker's ass was truly value added.

This week: Paul "The Party Animal" Parker. My TiVo is set.