Sunday, February 11, 2007

Extras: Whisk-y business

Spoilers for "Extras" just as soon as I see what happens if I jiggle the handle...

I learned a long time ago not to try to make comedians or comedy writers laugh, because the odds of me actually succeeding are far outweighed by the likelihood of me annoying them. So it was with some measure of shock and delight that I induced a prolonged, red-raced giggle fit from Ricky Gervais -- though, of course, I was quoting his own show back to him. While we were discussing Stephen Merchant's acting contribution to "Extras," I mentioned the scene from this episode with Darren, the toilet and the whisk, and Gervais just lost it. I had never seen anything like it among a comic of his stature -- even their own material doesn't generally affect them that deeply, that long after the creative process began -- and I think it's a measure of Gervais' affection for his partner, not to mention the power of a good joke about poo.

Darren's triple-flusher (another fine example of his complete single-mindedness, ala his attempt to unload the flatscreen) was the best, but far from the only example of juvenile humor running through this episode. Andy retreated into being a teenage boy at the sight of the BMOC from his schooldays (played by Jonathan Cake, TV's go-to Handsome Bastard of the moment), becoming even clumsier than usual, in every respect. I don't know exactly what you call that bit with him and the exploding seltzer bottle -- an anti-spit take? -- but I was a little awestruck by it. And, of course, there was the whole 12-year-old "Ewww! Boys kissing!" attitude towards Sir Ian's play, with Andy's fear of being mocked by the cool guys from school causing him to completely bollix up his opening night.

McKellen's cameo felt a little too much in the vein of Patrick Stewart's last season, but I still chuckled at how he expected Andy to view his words as a stunning revelation akin to Morpheus explaining The Matrix to Neo.

One more episode to go. What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

That water bottle thing totally cracked me up.

Blankity-Blank said...

So I guess 12 is the answer to the age old tlevision question of how many times can you do the same exact thing before anyone catches on?

Anonymous said...

Agree with you about Ian's cameo compared to Stewart's, but both were played well, ridiculously straight.

My favorite scene still involves Darren cajoling Andy into the bathroom stall in the previous episode, and Andy's quick take: "I'm not into this."


Anonymous said...

I thought this was the funniest episode of the season. Darren's date with Maggie, the way Andy got all stupid and screwed up the play, the seltzer bottle, Sir Ian crying when talking about acting. It was freakin' hilarious and I seriously nearly fell out of my seat from laughing so hard.

I wonder if Maggie rinsed her mouth with disinfectant after seeing Darren's other use of the whisk?

Anonymous said...

I know I'm late to comment, but we only just caught this ep. on Tivo (auditioning for World Series of Pop Culture was exhausting!) This episode was hilarious. I always tell myself that Gervais/Andy won't make me feel as uncomfortable as last time and then he does. I really do not know how that man does it. My husband and I love this show. I think it's extra cringe-worthy for me as I was once a professional actor. Actor's are the worst! ;) I loved the anti-spit take and the Sir Ian speech that came out of nowhere, but also really adore Maggie's dimwittedness as evident in the "black magic marker" scene. The chemistry between the two actors and the "relationship" between the two characters is priceless.