If only I could say Extras rose above its tastelessness problems this week. It's not a bad start: Guest-star Ben Stiller mocks himself with a self-congratulatory speech about why he's making the important war film Andy and Maggie are working on. And the show manages to make me chuckle when Maggie raps the fake baby's head against the desk. Even the bowel-cancer gaffe works, but my discomfort meter's pinned for the rest of the episode as Ricky Gervais and Co. mine the genocide in Bosnia for laughs. On top of that, Maggie decides she's not interested in a guy she was just gaga over because one of his legs is shorter than the other, and then there's some racism tossed in for good measure. Capping it off: "Would you stop going off about your f---ing dead wife?" Stiller tells the Bosnian widower. It's not my job to take HBO to the woodshed, so I'll just say this: I'm not ending my night with a smile.
Please, please, please be as good as BBC's The Office. Please? Well, here's our beloved Ricky Gervais, just missing his chance to get into the shot in a very David Brent-like movie. Don't care... I'm headed into this with a strong bias toward wanting to like it, despite HBO's building surplus of showbiz-related fare. And the first-audible-laugh honors go to guest-star Kate Winslet for her absolutely filthy dirty-talk coaching (which I obviously can't repeat here). But good god, are they jumping in with both feet in terms of dancing around delicate topics for humor, or what? A Nazi movie, atheism vs. belief and a character with cerebral palsy? "Heaven? Brilliant up there," Gervais' Andy tells the others. "You're gonna have an amazing time." In his voice, funny. When I type it, not so much.
Then there's Winslet again, gamely saying she only took a Holocaust film because she figured she was guaranteed an Oscar, and Andy making tim
Question: Since Extras got picked up for a second season, does that mean Ricky Gervais is out of the running to take over as the Bluth's new head attorney on Arrested Development? And if so, who else is up for the role?
Answer: Well, as my frienemy, Kristin, over at E! Online reported last week, Happy Days' Chachi Arcola will take the legal reins for one episode. But don't rule out Gervais just yet. Despite his busy schedule, I'm betting he gets Arrested at least once this season.
How did Ricky Gervais follow up his double Golden Globe win for BBC's The Office last month? He went straight to work filming scenes for Sunday's episode of Alias (9 pm/ET on ABC). Here's what the British funnyman thought of his weird, wicked week in sunny Los Angeles.
TV Guide Online: Aside from The Office, you haven't really acted before. What was it like starring in a big TV action-drama?Ricky Gervais: The hardest part was keeping straight-faced. Everybody around me was in black and cool and wearing Gucci and Armani and guns, and there I was in a jumper looking like a country fisherman. I couldn't take myself seriously. I just pretended to be Jack Bauer from 24.
TVGO: Who do you play?Gervais: All I can tell you is he's a very, very bad man indeed. An international terrorist. Let's ju