Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sam Wollaston...

... wrote that Thursday's Extras was 'priceless' and that That Mitchell and Webb Look couldn't even raise 'a little inside chuckle'. This proves that the man's a fool. Extras was woeful (apart from the Ronnie Corbett scenes which he picks out as the best - we'll give him that) because it has become so damn predictable. Maggie blurts out something she shouldn't; Andy hates broad comedy; everyone hates broad comedy - in this, he even went so far as to say that people who watch it (and broad comedy, readers, is silly wigs, live audiences and catchphrases) are morons. Nice. It'd be ok if there was a dissenting view, but no - everyone from Stephen Fry to Barry-from-Eastenders knows that broad comedy is lowest common-denominator television. All of which could be excused if I actually laughed, but Chris Martin was awful, the scenes in the shop were boring, and complaining about being at the Baftas is just ridiculous. Thank goodness for Ronnie.

Then there was Mitchell and Webb. Now it's far from perfect, I know that, but at least it doesn't make me angry. In fact it makes me laugh. Quite a lot. Which is always a start. Numberwang is demented fun, the Sir Digby Chicken Caesar sketches are weirdly enjoyable, though I've no idea why, and the sketch from this show where David had a go at Robert for writing a sarcastic letter made me laugh more than I have done in a long time. (Reading that back, you probably had to be there). Plus, they throw away great ideas in a single sketch, never to be seen again, because they've got thousands more where that came from. I really look forward to it.

Talking of looking forward to stuff (I'm good, I know), Robin Hood and Strictly Come Dancing start tonight, if you haven't noticed. :)


MIKEY said...

I atcually got excited that today was the day the BBC idents changed. I've only seen one so far, and I like what they've got going on.

Thoughts anna?

Paul Fuzz said...

Uh huh. I didn't see this particular Wollaston travesty, but I read a glowing review he wrote of Extras a couple of weeks back and I was shaking my head in disbelief at how unimaginative and un-insightful his reaction to the show seemed. I mean...even if you really dig Extras and the whole Gervais thing, surely you gotta think about it a little harder than this. I don't have a problem with Wollaston liking Extras, but I do have a problem with him not adressing the politics of the show, politics so central to the show that it seems peverse to ignore them, or, as I guess is the case, just not really notice them at all. Extras isn't just
'funny' or 'clever.' It's pure soapboxery, a series of half hour political broadcasts on behalf of the Anti-Broad Comedy Party. It's remarkable TV, totally auteurish -and, as Anna says, there is no dissenting voice. It's all Gervais, all the time. It's propoganda, rhetoric. And if a coupla two bit blog monkeys like me & you can approach Extras with some creative thought, surely Wollaston should be able to muster something. I really think Wollaston is a terrible writer, his Extras coverage has been particualrly depressing.

MIKEY said...

anna, sorry to fill up comments.

I just watched a show i downloaded called 'studio 60 on the sunset strip'.

For some reason, I think you may like it. Its done by some of the guys who did the West Wing, at least at the beginning, and has one guy from the show, and matthew perry amongst the cast. It was a very clever idea for a show, with it set behind the scenes of a show, which is a saturday night live type of show.

You may wanna see if you can find a copy of it. I've heard its gonna be shown in the UK sometime next year.

Dean said...

Not seen extras yet as have been away since thursday but I'll second the reccommendation for Studio 60. My new favourite TV show, it has it faults but they're overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the writing.

Mike, if you like this and The West Wing check out Sorkin's first show, Sports Night. It's very simmilar to Studio 60, in that it's behind the scenes of a live TV show. Don't worry if you don't like sport either as it makes no difference.

stu_n said...

What's really annoying about Extras is the smugness. Like the scene with Stephen Fry in the toilets: all the stuff that Fry is criticising in Millman's sitcom is stuff that Gervais didn't do in The Office. No laughter track — no catchphrases — no wigs and glasses. So what it's actually saying seems to be: Look! I might be pretending to be Andy Millman but actually I am RICKY GERVAIS! Who did THE OFFICE! And here I am, telling you that THE OFFICE was so much better than all these other sitcoms! And here's STEPHEN FRY, and he's AGREEING WITH ME! Aren't I BRILLIANT?

No, Ricky, you're the same annoying, conceited little tw@t I didn't think was funny all those years ago on the 11 O'Clock Show. And all you were doing on The Office was playing yourself.

Ahem. I appear to be a bit ranty this morning.

Anyway. Did you see Robin Hood?

Mouldy said...

Ok, first of all and no offence is meant but...he writes for the Guardian? What do you expect?

This is a Ricky Gervais backlash that we are seeing and I am a little amazed because apart form small parts of his stand up this is the first thing that I have thoroughly enjoyed (both series of Extras that is). I could appreciate the Office but I didn't enjoy it.

So now he does something a little edgy and you guys go ape. So we don't like our comedians to have something to say, do we not? And he's all about self congratulation, is he?

What do you want from him? Tell me that!

MediumRob said...

I may be over-reading things here, but surely the fact that every episode contains a reference to how rubbish catchphrase comedy is makes that... erm, the show's catchphrase? Isn't Gervais effectively trying to point to his own double-standards and signalling the fact that while he/Millman may have ambitions to something "higher", he's actually no better than catchphrase comedy himself? It wouldn't surprise me if, by episode 6, he does an Office Christmas special and has Millman embrace the traditional sitcom he's accidentally created.

On the other hand, he might just be trying to have his cake and eat it (fat joke or not? Hmmm...)

Marie said...

I dunno. I like Ricky Gervais but I don't like Extras. Maybe it isn't deeper than that. I just don't find it funny.