Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Extras; The Real Housewives

A whole gang of you wrote me off-line (well, two people) to say that I never delivered on my promised reviews of the final episode of Extras or the first couple of this season's Real Housewives of Orange County.

There were some fine comic moments in the final Extras though I think the script
got away from Gervais and Merchant. Hearing the Gervais character denounced from
the rostrum of the big music award show was spot on. Just thinking of all the women you failed as friend, confidante, lover...and then one of them having an international audience to trash you for your failings...Very good. I was cringing all the way. It was mean hilarious stuff. The sub-plot about about Merchant as the dimwit agent getting arrested for doing (I think) coke in a bathroom stall along with a faded little comedian and an innocent Gervais...not so good. The Irish woman was as stupid and fetching as always so I wasn't surprised that Gervais ALMOST got sentimental in the last few minutes, a long shot of them walking in silhouette down a long hall and talking about how, if they couldn't find anybody else in five years, they'd become lovers.... A solid B.

Gervais is a major major talent. I don't know if Merchant has much of an acting range but his agent dude is one of the most pleasingly aggravating characters I've ever run into on the screen. A guy born to be punched out...several times a day. What was especially amusing this season was that they wrote in an assistant for the agent who was just as stupid as his boss. I've never seen Gervais-Merchant really bad. I doubt I ever will.

I only slogged through one full episode of Housewives. Maybe it was all their plastic surgery that bedazzled me for half their first season, though balloon bazooms of the size they prefer (or their men prefer as they're quick to remind us) border on comedy. The children are more interesting than the adults, spoiled, arrogant and yet confused and vulnerable, at least most of them are. (The two
wanna-be major league ballplayers are every bit as sneeringly upper-middle class
as their parent.) The kid in and out of various types of jails needs a lot of our prayers. Seriously. He's a lost kid and you suspect his ruthlessly self-absorbed mother (she actually had to live in a house most of us would envy after the
divorce--she makes it sounds like Whitechapel in the years of Jack The Ripper) sounds as if she's happiest when he's behind bars so that he won't get in the way
of her love life. His little sister's love for her brother is gut-wrenching. You don't seee a lot of real loyalty on the tube these days but when you DO see you remember what life should be about.

Miserable scheming greedy men and women in whom I have no interest .

2 comments:

Brendan DuBois said...

Ed,

"Real Housewives" is *blush* a kind of guilty pleasure for me and the missus. Though it's hard to watch all the time, with one's jaw dropping at all the nonsense that goes on...

Makes you wonder... who *are* these people, and why did they think it was a good idea to invite camera crews into their empty lives?

Best,

Brendan

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ed,
The assistant to the agent on Extras (actually added last season)is even funnier if you know the backstory. He is Shaun Williamson who played a nebbishy character called Barry on the popular BBC soap opera Eastenders. He left the show voluntarily and hasn't worked much since. Therefore, his desperation and Merchant's constantly referring to him as "Barry" are hilarious to those who watched him on that show (and it helps that Williamson is clearly a very funny man).