Monday, January 29, 2007

"Pick on someone your own size, fatty.": Extras

So. . .halfway through the season then? Not sure I could get used to British TV. . .

Anyway, this season seems to get funnier and funnier with every episode. I don't know if writer/creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant just figured out what the show's strengths were this year and wrote to those or if they just decided to do what amused them or what, but I'm enjoying this season in a way that I simply didn't enjoy season one. A lot of it has to do with the show's stronger, more-focused presence. Ordinarily, I shy at shows about the travails of famous people, but Gervais and Merchant have succeeded at finding the worst possible things that can happen to the famous (emotionally) and turning those into the sort of warmly humanistic comedy that made The Office so great.

The series also makes great use of celebrity cameos, and Daniel Radcliffe's work as a teen boy hot for his elders was nicely played against type (or perhaps a heightened version of "type" -- I'm not familiar with Radcliffe tabloid rumors). And the plotline with the Down syndrome child that Andy (Gervais) accidentally made fun of was one of the better bad-situation-going-to-worse ideas I've seen on TV in a while. It also critiqued the entertainment press rather savagely and completely effectively (in under a minute no less!) by employing an old gag (the "telephone" game) in new ways.

All in all, this was a fine and funny addition to the season. And if rumors are to be believed, next week's episode with Chris Martin of Coldplay is even better.

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