Monday, February 19, 2007

Pathetic little fat men

Spoilers for "Extras" and "The Amazing Race" coming right up...

And so "Extras" comes to an end, but not before we had to witness Darren Lamb and Barry off "Eastenders" each making friends with himself -- plus the implication that Robert DeNiro would be doing the same thing shortly. To quote Rainier Wolfcastle, my eyes! The goggles do nothing!

I liked that the finale had the same quasi-hopeful tone of "The Office" Christmas special. Andy's going to meet Robert DeNiro, but you don't know if any work will come of it. Andy has recognized how badly he was treating Maggie, and they're maybe flirting a little, but chances of a relationship blossoming are probably slim. Darren manages to wrangle the DeNiro meeting, but he's still an imbecile. And, of course, the final bit about the nurse preferring edgy BBC2 comedies, followed by Robert Lindsay's, "What are you, a critic?," was a nice kiss-off.

I've never been an "Amazing Race" die-hard for a lot of reasons -- scheduling, the fact that it makes me feel overcaffeinated and gives me flashbacks to all my worst travel experiences -- but I've watched it off and on over the years and am going to give the All-Star season a try. Despite Phil's hyperbole, it doesn't seem like these are, in fact, the best 11 teams ever. (Certainly, if I was only going to include one set of winners, it wouldn't have been Uchenna and Joyce.) I remain both amused by everyone's hatred of Rob and Ambuh and impressed by his skills. If you're going to make "reality game show contestant" your career, you better be good at it, and Boston Rob is. But my opinion about them is the same as it was in season seven: I want them to stick around a really long time for entertainment value, but not win.

The team I was rooting for going into last night were Kevin and Drew, and not just because Kevin's a Jersey guy. They're funny, they're good guys, and, in the first go around, they were really good racers. This time, I just feel sorry for them. Drew obviously has some pre-existing injury stuff going on, and the two of them both seem like they don't want to be there. Unless someone hits Drew with the purple healing ray in a jiffy, I can see them maybe outlasting the cannon fodder like David and Mary (who suddenly decided to lie at the most useless, backfire-ensured possible time), but not much past that. Sigh...

This didn't seem like that exciting a leg, though squeezing 11 teams into a one-hour premiere didn't help. The Detour choice was too easy once you realized the cowboys were going to do all the hard work, so outside of getting to the Miami airport early and not getting lost in Ecuador, there wasn't a lot people could do to change their fates.

What did everybody else think?


BF said...

Things I Still Don't Like:
Ian's Hat
The "Rapido!" twins
the lack of Mr. "My Ox is Broken!" Colin

Things I Did Like:
the Good sense the Producers had not to include the Hippies as All-Stars

As for the leg itself, I agree: meh. Normally, we'd get a 2 hour premeire but I guess Bertram & Co. figure we already know all the teams.

And in one of life's greatest mysteries, how in the world did Charla & Mirna beat Dave & Mary up the hill? If Mary can't beat a "little person" in a foot race, they won't have very many legs left.

Anonymous said...

First off, Extras. Loved the episode. Everything you mentioned was part of the love. However, I did feel that the sick boy's mother was awfully presumptuous. The stuff with Andy and Jonathan Ross was funny/hella-gay in a hilarious contrast with last week's play...complete with matching white outfits. I'll really miss this show. It made me cringe like nothing else could. It actually makes me question my desire to go back to acting! ;)

I agree with BF: I hate "the rapido! twins." I think I shall use that moniker now, thanks! I've never liked Mirna, ever. I can't believe Colin and Christie aren't there. Them up against Rob and Amber would have been just fantastic! My husband and I had no idea how they could have beaten D & M up that hill...crazy!

As I was a big fan of the Hippies' winning (like their Race prowess, not always their hijinks. plus it could be b/c one of them looked way too much like my college acting professor) I'd like to hear from you as to why you were glad they weren't picked? And which winner would you bring back? I would have preferred if no winners were brought back. Just my two cents....

Alan Sepinwall said...

I believe Christie is either pregnant or trying to get pregnant and didn't want to interrupt that to run the race again. Would've been nice to see Rob vs. Colin, but c'est la vie.

I'd want my previous winner team to be a duo with superior racing skills (say, Rob and Brennan) instead of a couple who are likable but got by almost exclusively on luck (Uchenna and Joyce).

Anonymous said...

Alan, I had heard that Christie was pregnant, though trying-to-get-pregnant makes just as much sense.

I'd like to know, just as I asked BF, why would you want a previous winning team there? Just curious.

I agree about Uchenna and Joyce being likable but lucky. I was so impressed when she swallowed her fear and took up that challenge, cutting all her hair off. It's sad to see that their relationship has suffered so since they won the race. I hope this brings them back to each other again somehow.

BF said...

My #1 choice would be Chip. (okay, Kim can come along too, even if she never did anything. Actually, I imagine a team-up of Chip & Zach to be pretty formidable.) #2 would have been Rob & Brennan.

#3: Reichen and Lance Bass?

Anonymous said...

I'd actually love to see a season where all the teams are composed of previous racers, but not their original partners. The possibilities are endless. Mary and Jonathan (of "and Victoria")? BJ and Flo? Rob and Colin? Chip and Zach? One of the bowling moms and one of the Cho brothers?

Anonymous said...

Great final episode of Extras. Brilliant writing. The apparently irresistible power of the novelty pen gets firmly established, and when it reached De Niro I laughed out loud in anticipation. Would they really go there? But then I realized it's not necessary, the joke's been paid off already. Anything further would have just added to the cringe factor.

Eric said...

One of my ideas for freshening up the series would be to have people join in teams of two, but get scrambled pseudo-randomly before the race begins.

That would bring in some interesting cross-team interactions - do you help your former partner if you get the chance?

For that matter, I'd like to see reality shows that don't have the apparent "no splitting prizes" rule. At least I assume they have rules that prohibit players from proposing deals where they'll split the winnings with someone who sacrifices himself, or it would have come into play in Survivor by this point.

Anonymous said...

Marsha, I think your idea is fantastic! :) I hope the producers are listening....

Anonymous said...

[I}Despite Phil's hyperbole, it doesn't seem like these are, in fact, the best 11 teams ever.[/I]

They're not. They're not even all the most popular teams from the last 10 Races.

Unlike you, I can hardly wait until Rahb & Ambuh are gone because I don't find them the least bit entertaining. It's even worse now that Rob's smugness has rubbed off on Amber, who is generally pretty useless without Rob propping her up. Shut up, you simpering fool!

On to "Extras": I'm glad Andy finally realized he was treating Maggie abysmally. I'm also glad he kept visiting that kid, even if his motives weren't pure. I'd like to think he goes back to being the rather likeable bloke he was at the beginning of the series. And that stuff with Jonathan Ross was a hoot! I could've done without seeing Darren's arse, though, heh.

Cinemania said...

Sooooo very late to the Extras game, having just watched the entire two seasons over the past coupla days, but I must applaud Ricky G and Stephen M for having managed the unimaginable. They've produced a follow-up to The Office that is every bit the predecessor's equal in terms of cringe-inducement factor, industry in-jokes and large dollops of self-deferential humour.

Gervais gave Andy human dimensions almost entirely lacking in David Brent, which eased some of our (the audience's) pain, and made Extras a touch more emotionally accessible. I guess to some extent he and Maggie (and what a great job Ashley Jensen does here--for me, she is the best thing about the series) fulfilled the function of Tim and Dawn, playing recognizable characters in a world largely populated by caricatures and buffoons. At first I was a bit uncertain about Merchant's performance, but he definitely grew on me as the series progressed. His imbecility became endearing in a most peculiar way.
And the bit with the whist in season 2's episode 5 sealed the deal for me. Almost impossible to carry on after that; I had to pause and catch my breath, I was laughing so hard.

Anyways, well done ladies and gents; unlike When the Whistle Blows, Extras will be remembered and treasured years hence.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Extras this season, but I can't believe that was the series finale. I wanted to shout at the screen, "Is he having a LAUGH??!!"

I will miss Andy and Maggie and dumb-as-dirt Darren.