We're thrilled that Ricky Gervais is resurrecting his bloody genius HBO series Extras for a one-shot finale this week, but we can't help feeling dejected. Soon, Extras will be gone for good. Here's what we'll miss most. (The Extras series finale airs Sunday, Dec. 16, at 9 pm/ET on HBO.)
Extras features TV's most delightfully dysfunctional duo
That would be Gervais' serious-actor wannabe Andy Millman and his idiotic agent, Darren Lamb (Gervais' collaborator, Steven Merchant). In creating the duo's maddening attempts at communication, Gervais harkened back to comedy's legendary mismatched duo Laurel and Hardy. "They nailed it," Gervais says simply.
It showcases TV's sweetest relationship
"People know that she's vulnerable, because she's a bit stupid," Gervais says of Andy's best friend, Maggie (Ugly Betty's Ashley Jensen). Particularly refreshing is the absence of will-they-or-won't-they sexual tension. That's no accident. "We'd never seen a truly funny platonic relationship between a man and a woman," Gervais says.
It proves celebs are bigger jerks than us
There's nothing more delicious on TV today than the awful behavior of the show's guest stars (playing themselves), whether it's Kate Winslet demonstrating her phone-sex technique, David Bowie torturing Andy with an insulting serenade or Daniel Radcliffe trying way too hard to shed his Harry Potter image. "I don't understand why these people are willing to say such ridiculous things," admits Gervais, who was floored by George Michael's cameo in the finale. We won't spoil it, but trust us, it's not to be missed. "Kate Winslet doing her turn is one thing, because it's not related to her life in any way. But with George Michael, where there's an absolute parallel with real life, I think you've got to be a bit braver."
And it hurts so good
For all its gut-busting moments, Extras is mostly about disappointment, and that gives it a depth and a peculiar warmth few sitcoms can match. "Steve and I have always done comedy plus," says Gervais, who cocreated the original Office with Merchant. "We've always been excited about pulling the rug from under people's expectations." Hence the choice of Cat Stevens' "Tea for the Tillerman" as the show's theme song. "It's lovely and melancholic and evocative," Gervais explains. "Everything should at least be evocative. Otherwise, what's the point?"
Relive extra clips of Extras in our Online Video Guide.
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