Ricky Gervais

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February 11, 2007: "I Am Not Actually a Wizard"

If I were as clever as the writers on Extras, I would, well I guess we know what I wouldn’t be doing. But, I might make a witty remark about the absurd hilarity of Ricky Gervais’ humor. Suffice it to say, this ep was perhaps the cleverest of the bunch. You all know how I feel about Stephen Merchant, and he only made me love him more here. His ability to make everyone completely uncomfortable with no actual knowledge that he’s doing it is the crux for some of the most hilarious moments of the series. I laughed so loudly my neighbor stopped by to make sure I wasn’t being murdered. And I was — this show slayed me. There’s no good place to start since the entire episode was pure genius. We were graced by Sir Ian McKellan’s presence and we got to see Germaine Greer, one of the most important feminists ever. This is the show in which Andy seeks to gain some respect by getting theater work. His foray into theater proves hysterical as he finds he is meant ... read more

February 4, 2007: Calm Down. Muffin?

Andy stars in a PSA in which he asks the question, “What would you rather, your child die of thirst or dysentery?” A question very similar to the ones Maggie asks of him from time to time. Chris Martin from Coldplay is up next on the PSA bandwagon and proves even more inappropriate than Andy and his friends. Chris banters about whether or not the dying children could hold his band’s new CD in a promotional spot. Then he tries to wiggle his way onto Andy’s show. Once accomplished, Chris is fed up, “Can we get on with this? I’ve got to do AIDS and Alzheimer’s and landmines this afternoon. And I want to get back for Deal or No Deal. Plus, Gwyneth’s making drumsticks.”Understandably, Andy doesn’t want to have Chris on "When the Whistle Blows" promoting his album, because people will think he’s sold out once again, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But the more flamboyant producer trumps him and has Chris on the show. Andy’s sad... read more

January 28, 2007 - Gypsies Are Eating Our Pets!

Subtitled: Are Celebrities Out of Control?Extras gets funnier every time I see it. It is so good, I had to watch it twice and I believe I laughed even harder the second go-round. Did you know that HBO is airing this show up to a day before it is programmed? I like this idea. I can watch on Saturday and let the juices meld and then write on Sunday, having watched it a second, hilarious time. Stories get out of hand as Andy’s restaurant faux pas turns into a horrible media scandal. When he tries to fix it, he refuses to apologize the entire time, and the spin becomes negative again since he had gotten into a fight with a dwarf and had knocked him unconscious. The episode guest was Daniel Radcliffe, whose naughty little Cub Scout routine was out of control. In a scene where he is dressed as Harry Potter, Daniel says to Maggie, “I’ve done it with a girl, I mean intercourse-wise.” He tries to have it off with every girl on the set — not exactly the Harry Potter... read more

January 21, 2007: Extras 08

The best thing that can be said for Andy’s new show, When the Whistle Blows, is that it has a catchy theme song. It inspires weirdos to approach him and the elite to write lurid songs about him. What do you get when you mingle the description of a crappy show with the word "sitcom"? Wish I could write it here. Darren Lamb, par for the course, tries to make Andy feel better and only depresses him more. The only good review of his show is from the paper that didn’t bother to write about it; it was that bad. Did you know that Ashley Jenson, who plays Maggie, also has a recurring role on the American sitcom Ugly Betty? But it’s her naïveté here that makes her the more charming. She’s Andy’s only real friend, but she has an innocence about her that makes her quite unaware how much she hurts him. It happens quite often, to much comic relief. The scene with the homeless guy is priceless for so many reasons. One) because the homeless guy keeps abreast of a... read more

A Winning Loser
Ricky Gervais' Extras returns for Season 2

He's in the No. 1 holiday movie (Night at the Museum), his brilliant The Office has made a successful transition to American TV, he has written and performed in an episode of The Simpsons, and yet Ricky Gervais continues to play the born loser. Bless his (and our) lucky stars. In Extras, an HBO-BBC collaboration now in its second season of wickedly biting showbiz satire (Sundays at 10 pm/ET), Gervais plays the hapless Andy Millman, a would-be actor of questionable talent and limitless desperation, who for years has been an envious bystander on movie sets. This setup allows movie stars and other celebrities (from Kate Winsle read more

January 14, 2007: Orlando Bloom

The season premiere of Extras opens on a promised star, Orlando Bloom, in a scene that looks a lot like a British version of The War of the Roses.When the astonishingly good-looking, or so he thinks, Orlando Bloom finds out that Maggie doesn’t think he is all that, he sets out to prove how attractive he is, and in the meantime dishes on Johnny Depp. Orlando’s best line? “Willie Wonka — Johnny Wanker”.Andy has a crisis of identity when he realizes that the sitcom he wrote is not turning out the way he had expected. He is a man surrounded by complete idiots. His agent, Darren Lamb, the incomparable Stephen Merchant, spends more time trying to get his protégé Barry, whose sense of dignity gets called into question, into Andy’s role in the show than he does working with his other client. His friend Maggie doesn’t remember that his show begins shooting that night, and his producers think big glasses are funny. The agent reminds me very much of... read more

Ricky Gervais Pens an Extras-special Guest Column

Ricky Gervais

I was asked to write an article about television — American television, the best TV in the world. I felt I had nothing to offer, no insight of any value; the prospect was too daunting. So I decided to plug the second season of my HBO comedy series Extras, about struggling actors trying to make it big. Here's how I made it. Work on Season 2 of Extras [premiering Sunday at 10 pm/ET]started straight after Season 1 finished in August 2005. I moved to new up-market offices in central London, and after decking it out (which included building a recording studio for our podcast) and putting up some pictures, cowriter and costar Stephen Merchant and I started chatting about plotlines, scenarios and characters. Despite numerous trips to America, several awards ceremonies, and the fact that I only work between the hours of read more

Extras, Extras, Read All About It!

Ricky Gervais brings his popular new comedy, Extras, back to the small screen Sunday in the premiere episode of the second season. This season will pack a powerful punch as HBO has cast quite a line-up of superstars including Bowie, Orlando Bloom and Sir Ian McKlellan. Even little Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, shows up playing a very naughty boy. read more

November 30, 2006: The Convict

Two weeks, and two Stamford employees who simply couldn't take the leadership of one Michael Scott. I'm disappointed to see Wayne Wilderson leave us already (and while we're on the topic, there was some disagreement last week as to whether we should refer to him as Purple Grapes or the WaMu guy — I have to confess, in my heart of hearts he'll always be the OSHA rep from that one episode of NewsRadio where Matthew hurt himself playing a rousing game of "Who Can Get the Paper Cup Off the Light Fixture" with Joe). But I'm putting my money on Nursing Mom to be the next to hand in her resignation. We can only hope Andy's here to stay — Ed Helms rocks my socks. If you changed the channel before the end credits, you missed something special: a super-falsetto serenade to Pam of "Rainbow Connection," complete with banjo accompaniment, with a wonderfully sweet two-shot of Jim and Pam letting us know that everything's gonna be OK. Sure, Jim is dating Karen (and it's hard to admit it,... read more

Thursdays Are Now Even Better

If you took all the terrific shows that air on Thursday night and spread them out during the week … well, we can dream, can’t we? The crowded list of can’t-miss Thursday shows just grew this week with the addition of Scrubs to NBC’s top-notch two-hour comedy block (30 Rock made its Thursday debut earlier this month), joining My Name Is Earl and The Office (which hits another home-run this week with an episode penned by the original British series’ creators, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant). ABC has also potentially strengthened its hand with the addition of the Friday charmer Men in Trees to its lineup, a tasty nightcap to a first-rate lineup including the adorable Ugly Betty and the once-again-riveting Grey’s Anatomy (even those fickle fans who’d been carping recently have to admit the Thanksgiving night episode was a knockout).CBS is still a powerhouse with Survivor (which kicked into high gear Thanksgiving night as well, with its merger episo... read more

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