See His Pug Nosed Face....Pug! Pug!

You can stop waiting for the new Seinfeld, because its here, and it's Extras on HBO. I know, I know: it's just not The Office, the other brilliant show created by and starring Ricky Gervais (and if you're here I assume you're a TV junkie and know I'm talking about the BBC version, which is was just a little bit better than the American version). Like a lot of people, I was really excited about this show when it came on last year, and after the first few episodes, I just couldn't get over the fact that it was not The Office, that Gervais was not playing David Brent, that Tim wasn't going to give one of those sad sack glances toward the camera any time soon. So I gave up, wrote it off.

But then I started hearing about all these brilliant cameos during this (second) season. I took another look and, holy shit, the show is great. It's still not The Office, but like I said earlier, it's pretty damn close to Seinfeld. The characters are almost all unlikable (on the surface, at least), either completely self-obsessed or incredibly stupid or rude. They get themselves into terrible situations, they act poorly, they feed their worst instincts, and, well, hilarity ensues.

Gervais is brilliant as Andy Millman, an extra who hatches an idea for sitcom, which gets greenlighted by the BBC, only to be incrementally dumbed down until Millman is standing in a fright wig, fake glasses, and shouting out a terrible catchphrase ("Are you 'avin' a laugh? IS HE HAVIN' A LAUGH!"). Andy bounces back and forth between relishing his newfound fame, and anguishing over the way he's achieved it (a "shitcom," as his manager helpfully points out).

Ashley Jenson (the Scottish, um, woman who hands out dresses and stuff, on Ugly Betty) is also brilliant as Maggie, Andy's dim friend who is so stupid that she barely notices when leading men are hitting on her. And the Kramer of the show is Stephen Merchant as Andy's crude agent. Merchant steals just about every scene he's in -- he's the most likeable unlikeable character in television.

And the guest stars this season have been amazing. I even have respect for Orlando Bloom after his self-parody as, well, Orlando Bloom, who is so amazed that Maggie doens't find him attractive that he's completely infatuated with her. Equally great was Daniel Radcliffe -- Harry Potter, to you -- who tries to impress Maggie by offering her cigarettes, telling her that he's "done it, you know, with a girl," and then showing off the condom that he's carrying around.

My favorite guest star this season was David Bowie, who reacts to Andy's sad-sack story about his sellout with this singalong:


Sophie T. Mishap said...

Ha! That's a great video!

aaron said...

Dave, I may have to disagree. Though much is made of how different this character is from David Brent, I could totally see Brent try to get change from a homeless man for a $20.

Also, every episode I've watched seems to hinge on Maggie blabbing every tidbit of Millman's gossip right to whoever he was talking about, and there is no effort made to make it seem like the info is "slipping out."

I do agree that Merchant is amazing. I wonder what he could have done with Gareth.

Mike said...

Damn you, HBO subscribers! Now that I've joined the lower class, I'm being constantly reminded of what I'm missing. I really enjoyed watching this show back in my freewheelin', HBO-subscribin' days.