The Extras Finale
Well, the 90 minute Extras finale has come and gone. I haven't seen a positive review. Most were mixed at best and a few almost angry that a series this good should end on so strained a note. The jabber on the Seinfeld finale was similar.
Last night we learned that Gervais doesn't do straight drama with any originality or even vitality. His forte seems to be bitter comedy with melancholy underpinnings. At that he's a genius.
Too much much last night, though lingering on Ashley Jensen's face so often was effective not only because of her sweet looks but also because you rarely see a middle-aged woman celebrated this way.
The big name gambit of having famous actors behave badly was either overdone or underdone. For just two examples, Clive Owen was too much of a jerk; George Michael was so understated I didn't quite get the point of his appearance.
The guy who played the agent could give Jeremy Piven some pointers on how to be sincerely avaricious without being a bad guy. He interpreted his role intelligently. If you're willing to do trash, I can make you some money. None of Ari's frantic bullshit.
The reality show segment was clumsily paced and unfocused and way to much to be beleivable, though the old Gervais wit was on display with the woman whose "celebrity" was based on the fact that her son was murdered. She is apparently trying to ride tragedy into cheesy fame.
For me the most enjoyable parts of the show involved Merchant as Gervais' incompetent agent and his sidekick Barry. I'd like to see a half hour for them, a day at the office maybe. Their scenes as cell phone salesmen were fine, especially the dance they did whenever one of their phones rang. A weird riff on the Marx brothers (just as there was at least one weird riff on Seinfeld).
I'd give the finale a B though maybe I'm being just as sentimental as Gervais was being last night.