Sunday, January 21, 2007

Extras: Pathetic little fat man, no one's bloody laughing

Spoilers for "Extras" (posted early because I may be computerless for a while) coming up just as soon as I find a vagrant to help me make change...

Of the early episodes of season two, Ricky Gervais said, "We go through the journey of seeing the difference between fame and infamy. Fame without respect is nothing." Boy, howdy. Having sold out completely to the BBC to get "When the Whistle Blows" on the air, Andy is quickly learning that difference, illustrated handily when he meets David Bowie, a man of genuine fame and talent who quickly sizes up Andy for the desperate hack he's become, then uses the talent that made him famous to instantly pen a devastating musical take-down. (In real life, Bowie wrote the music, and it sounds like Gervais and Merchant did the lyrics.)

My favorite part of that scene was Maggie helping Bowie write the song, yet another example of her congenital inability to lie, no matter how much she needs to. (Ditto her crumbling on the autograph scam in the face of Andy's suspicious new neighbor.) I think Darren's the most consistently funny character on the show (loved him explaining the pointlessness of critics), but I just enjoy watching Ashley Jensen work. (And since "Ugly Betty" has unintentionally fallen off my radar, this is the only place I'm seeing her right now.)

The scenes with Andy and the bum were the most "Curb" this show has felt in a while -- probably too much. Andy isn't Larry David, and I couldn't help but feel like asking the bum to make change is the sort of thing Larry would pull (and then act outraged if the bum refused to do it). Much better was his encounter with the scary-obsessive fan who kept repeating "the wig, the catchphrase, the glasses" over and over like it was his mantra. It's both sad and hilarious that Andy had to go see the guy again to pick himself up after the Bowie fiasco.

The Bowie song aside, this was probably my least favorite episode of the six, but it's also a necessary one to establish what's to follow, in terms of Andy's newfound celebrity and the complete worthlessness of same.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I've been watching that Bowie clip over and over since it aired on the BBC. I agree that this is the weakest of the bunch, but still I find myself singing "Pathetic Little Fat Man" as I walk to work (when I'm not singing "Dick in a Box" of course).

Also great was Darren trying to pick up those women at the club with Barry. "Or, you can pocket the money and make a nice profit!"

floretbroccoli said...

Alan -- No link to full post. Only a link to comments.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fixed. And you can always click on the timestamp to go to the full post even if nothing else is working.

Anonymous said...

Not having seen the rest of the eps yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, especially Maggie helping Bowie write the song. And Darren basically treating those women as prostitutes was a scream.

Alan, ABC has "Ugly Betty" up on its website (last time I looked, all the eps were there, though they usually seem to have only the previous four), and their viewer is pretty good (beats the crap out of NBC's!). Anyway, you can catch up there because the show is worth the effort, IMHO :-)