05 March 2008

Debra and I just watched the series finale special of "Extras", the followup series Gervais and Merchant did after "The Office". All in all, the series was excellent and the finale was good enough to be a movie, on its own. For fans of the BBC "The Office", if you haven't seen Extras (I'm going to skip using quotation fingers right about now) it might be worth a shot. Gervais plays what one can only assume to be himself (or very nearly), and he's the straight man surrounded by comic characters in contrast to The Office, where aside from Gareth he was the sole comic character in a real-world array of serious characters. Stephen Merchant, who I liked from the Ricky Gervais podcasts, is stupidly funny. Fans may remember him as "Nathan/The Oggmonster" in a brief cameo on The Office.

The best part of the whole show, that was so funny we were almost gagging with laughter, was when Gervais' character is ill-advised enough to attempt to audition for a part in a period drama for a younger, fitter actor, and wears a girdle. He is auditioning in front of his smug, more successful rival, and you hear a horrible rip, and his stomach comes out like his torso was a kernel of popcorn. Context is of course important for why this was so funny, but we had to rewind it several times. "Your reputation precedes you, sir..."

Unfortunately I am not as hip to the celebrity culture as others might be, but I did recognize (at least the names) of George Michael, Clive Owen, Gordon Ramsey, and a host of British celebs I don't know. Ramsey's cameo was very funny, with the inevitable verbal fisticuffs, and Gervais pointing out that he was such a big man, yelling at people in kitchens...who works in kitchens....women and gays...oh, and the French...big man!

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