Monday, December 17, 2007

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.


Dave Zeltserman said...

It was definitely dark comedy to say the least. The observation his agent made how you can have fame and money or respect, but only a select few can have both and Andy would never be one of those few was spot on. The pacing on the reality show was slow, but I think it needed to be. Andy was in a hell of his making and needed to suffer. There were some nice bits in there--especially when all these minor celebrities are fighting over which one's the most popular, and of course when the Paris Hilton-type decides to leave the show with Andy, but wants to put on her thong first. The scenes with Merchant + Barry were needed for their comic relief, but probably the best scene although brutal was Andy insulting his audience. All in all, I'd rate the episode an A++.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I see what Gervais is saying about fame, money and what we do for it, but the reality show bits were even worse than actual reality shows. And the Ashley parts were more painful that Gleason's old poor soul routines (how's that for showing my age.) All in all, a bad ending to me. Shows that are usually 30 minutes and try to expand to 90 usually don't work for me. They stray too far from their comfort zone.