Ricky Gervais

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Episode 9: The Convict

Hi, it's me, Kate Flannery from The Office [Thursdays at 8:30 pm/ET, on NBC]. This week's episode was a lot of fun to shoot. I must admit, in the past few weeks I was hesitant to mention some of my scenes because they didn't make it on the air. But NBC.com has been showing so many of my deleted scenes that I now feel comfortable bringing them up, as long as you keep in mind that you may have to watch them later on the Web (or on the Season 3 DVD extras). OK? That being said, "The Convict" was written by our show's British creators, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. This is the first time they have written specifically for the American version of the show. Pretty cool. Now, usually when we shoot an episode, the writers are on the set all week when we shoot. Ricky and Stephen were not. They haven't been to the set very often. I love it when they come, but when I've seen Ricky there, it seems to me like he is looking at all of us with a sense of, "I can't believe that this exists bec... read more

"LIVE" SIMPSONS RATE

Although Desperate Housewives was Sunday's top-rated series, The Simpsons provided the night's biggest Nielsen news: The animated comedy's spot-on live-action opening, as well as the vocal and writing talents of The Office's Ricky Gervais, helped attract the show's largest audience in almost four months. CBS' 60 Minutes also got a boost from its interview with Tiger Woods. Imagine how much better the news program could have done if it, in turn, had been aired as a cartoon. read more

Office Boss Woos Marge Simpson

The Simpsons' Charlie and the man behind him, Ricky Gervais

The British are coming to Springfield! Or at least one of them is, when Ricky Gervais, the boss man on the original U.K. version of The Office, lends his voice to this Sunday's The Simpsons (8 pm/ET on Fox), in an episode that he also wrote. As Charles, Gervais finds himself filling the role of Marge's new hubby via a Trading Spouses-type reality-show swap. Surprised that it took this long for a Brit wit like Gervais to get his animated due, TVGuide.com asked the actor-writer how his Simpsons stint finally came to be. "I'd heard that [creator] Matt [Groening] was a fan," he tells us. "I think he saw [The Office] on a plane to or from England, before it was on BBC America, and then read more

You're probably not asked ...

Question: You're probably not asked this question a lot, but got any scoop on The Simpsons?


Answer: As a matter of fact, I do. If you're among the millions who have jumped on the YouTube bandwagon, you've probably seen that incredible U.K. promo video that is essentially the opening sequence of The Simpsons only performed entirely in live actions — with real actors and everything. Well, Matt Groening is apparently a fan, because he's using it as the actual opening of this Sunday's episode (which just happens to be written by Ricky Gervais). You can check it out by clicking here.

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The Office Relives a Classic "Day"

The Office's Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer

It's an oldie but goodie on The Office tonight [9:30 pm/ET on NBC]. We are rerunning an episode from Season 1 called "Diversity Day." Michael is subjected to a day of diversity training after complaints are made to corporate about his behavior. He hijacks the meeting and teaches his own brand of sensitivity. If you are new to The Office, this will be a treat. "Diversity Day" is an often-quoted fan favorite. It is also a favorite of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the creators of the original British version of read more

Tasty Imports
Savoring a British TV invasion

Stiff upper lips? Hardly. The best of British TV is anything but stuffy. From the guilty pleasure of the trashy Footballers' Wives (returning for a third season in February) to hauntingly dark mysteries and wacky comedies, BBC America has become one of my top cable destinations for the range of its bold and unpredictable programming. But the fun doesn't stop there. PBS still turns to England for classy drama, HBO has developed a crush on shows with an accent (Rome and Extras) and A&E will air a fourth season of gritty spy drama MI-5 in 2006. Here's a roundup of some recent arrivals. Bad GirlsTuesdays at 9 pm/ET, BBC AmericaThink: "Oz with Estrogen"The Lowdown: read more

Maybe I missed it, but I ...

Question: Maybe I missed it, but I don't see anyone talking about the absolute best comedy on TV at the moment. The show Extras consistently makes me laugh out loud and is thoroughly enjoyable overall. Matt, have you had a chance to take in this hidden gem on HBO, which has received hardly any promotion? If so, what are your thoughts? Answer: I reviewed it quite positively when it premiered in late September, and now having watched the last few episodes — as with The Office, Ricky Gervais does only six at a time — I am still a fan. I love the fact that it isn't the same exact show every week; the episode when he stepped into an ill-fated holiday, panto stage production of Aladdin as a gay genie, playing opposite a sad-sack comic, was a terrific change of pace. Like the original Office, it is painfully, often brutally funny, but it doesn't surprise me that the show hasn't exactly caught the culture on fire, especially considering how far HBO has slipped under the radar on Sundays lately. ... read more

Dude, how freakin' ...

Question: Dude, how freakin' spit-out-your-Snapple hilarious is The Office!?


Answer: Pretty spit-out-your-Snapple hilarious, Eric. Steve Carell is a riot. Sure, he's no Ricky Gervais, but dang-it, he comes pretty close. That said, someone needs to rein in Rainn Wilson a smidge and explain to him the difference between over-the-top funny and over-the-top obnoxious. I'd be happy to give him some pointers.

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Best episode so far, I think....

Best episode so far, I think. The guy trying to be Andy's friend was perfectly cast since you could see why one wouldn't want to be his pal, but couldn't help feeling sorry for him just the same. And even though Maggie's am-I-racist-or-not? crisis was done first on The Office, it was still damned funny, I thought, particularly the truly uncomfortable moment with the dolls. (Besides, Ricky Gervais can be forgiven for stealing from himself.) I'll tell you, between Curb and this, my cringe muscles are getting a serious workout on Sunday nights. And I don't mind a bit. read more

I've really been enjoying ...

Question: I've really been enjoying Extras, but it seems like I never hear anything about the show. Why has HBO put so little effort into promoting it? Do you think it's because it's not their own production? Or because there aren't that many episodes? I saw ads for Unscripted and The Comeback all over the place and neither of those shows was nearly as good as this one. Whenever a network attempts to remake a British show, there are always scores of people complaining because they don't just air the U.K. originals. Now that a network finally is, it seems like the show is going completely unnoticed. Answer: It would make sense to me if HBO, as I expect, spent most of its promotional energy this fall, once Rome was up and running, to trumpet the long-awaited return of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I'm loving Extras and agree HBO had some real opportunities to exploit the hilarious cameos by Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller, but much like Ricky Gervais' original The Office, it's still something of a ... read more

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