Saturday, September 09, 2006

And then they start kissing, because they've been in prison too long.

Extras was a weird beast - sometimes made me laugh a lot, but mostly I didn't really understand what was going on at all. I'm not a massive fan of shows that 'deconstruct your preconceived notions about what celebrities are like in real life', as usually I don't really care what they're like in real life. If I did, I'd read magazines about celebrities, and watch chat shows, and then kill myself. And people like Ben Stiller play up to this concept so knowingly, the whole thing gets very murky very fast.

The stuff that worked for me was the relationship between the fictional characters (and Stephen Merchant was great, so I was pleased to hear he'll be in it a lot more in the second series).

Anyway, on a slighly different topic, with that episode of Extras that had Patrick Stewart in it that was repeated recently, when it first went out, didn't some reviewer chuckle along to the 'low budget identikit fantasy movie' that opened the episode? And wasn't it in fact, er... The Tempest? Or did I completely imagine that?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

it was

james henry said...

Thanks anon - now I have to find out who the critic was AND GET THEM INTO TROUBLE! It was ages ago, mind, but still.

Gary James said...

I am a massive fan of the show. I think the relationship between maggie and...that flat bloke -

Ok, maybe massive was the wrong word. I like it a lot though. The two main characters are very good on their own, but even better together, like sausage and beans.

Gary James said...

I meant FAT bloke of course, as opposed to flat bloke.

Unless I meant flat BROKE...

james henry said...

I'm fairly sure RG isn't flat broke - never seen him in the same suit twice, anyway....

twit said...

For me, it's so totally NOT about "..preconceived notions about what celebrities are like in real life.."

& how dare you put it in the same BREATH as celebrity magazines & such!

The famous guest parts are usually just a small fraction of the entire show (that would easily stand up without them anyway).

They're just the icing on a rather tasty cake IMHO.

(& I think it's the third series approaching)

james henry said...

Nooo, I think it's coming from a very different, and much more laudible angle to celeb mags, but it's the same sort of topic, as though the only thing worth discussing is fame, and why people want it and how it's not all it's cracked up to be, as though there's nothing else in Western society worth talking about.

Not that that's what RG and SM have said necessarily, but there's a lot of telly-about-telly about, and I'd like something new really. That Rob Bryden panel game sitcom seemed to fall into the same trap, whereas if it was all fictional, that might be more interesting...

helen said...

I liked it mostly, it made me laugh...though some bits were better than others...Stephen Merchant is brilliant very good to hear he'll be in the next series more. Maggie's good aswell but i'm not a massive fan of Ricky Gervais...he can be very funny but sometimes...just not, much prefer SM

Danothebaldyheid said...

RG pretty much said exactly what you just did about fame today in the Guardian. He thinks it has taken the place of class as the main obsession of most people and thus is the central plank of modern comedy. I disagree entirely, mind you. My favourite recent comedy - The Mighty Boosh - has very little to do with fame!

My main problem with the whole (RG and SM) crew is their reliance on cruelty as the central component of humour. I only caught one podcast, but it seemed to be an excuse to laugh at the sub-normal Karl Pilkington. Laughing AT people is always a dangerous game, in the end, particularly if it's the only way you can laugh....

woot said...

I have offically (and unoficially for that matter) seen only about five minutes of the episode shown the other day and therefore have no idea what really goes on in the show but the blonde girl amused me...

Also liked RG apoloigising by getting someone else to do it, may have to do that in future...

woot said...

I have offically (and unoficially for that matter) seen only about five minutes of the episode shown the other day and therefore have no idea what really goes on in the show but the blonde girl amused me...

Also liked RG apoloigising by getting someone else to do it, may have to do that in future...

Catpee said...

I watched an episode because I heard it was supposed to be really good. Unfortunately I found it boring and not at all funny. This may have been because I had no idea what was going on and because I have an aversion to Mr Gervais.

Still, I shall give it another chance.

Tim Woods said...

seriously - what's not to understand???

if the beeb was rg 24/7 i'd consider buying a telly and paying the fee.

the weakest episode (which was still pretty good) was the sam jackson one. maybe his agents told him not to do anything too self deprecatory. that would be typical of yanks. but they dealt with the lack of good participation by knocking up the writing in the other departments in that ep.

yes, that critic fucked up not realising that that was a joke about the cheap (could be argued as play like) filming of the tempest.

and for anyone who didn't know, the patrick stewart ep was actually written for jude law, who pulled out at the last minute (insert lame bbc 1 style "joke" here), citing illness or scheduling conflicts or some such shit rather than "i can't stand to take the piss out of myself"

certainly, the ben stiller episode was the greatest thing on telly in a long time. the jokes were fantastic and his willingness to go along with it all even more fantastic. he even improved a couple of scenes that made it into the broadcast cut.

the show did not AT ALL "deconstruct your preconceived notions about what celebrities are like in real life".

if anything, they were parodying what the jaded general public might like to believe is behind the public facade.

for example - you will NEVER get michael bay doing what ben stiller did. because that is what michael bay is like in real life. but ben stiller can come on and do that and have people saying "ooh! he seems so nice and cool usually, but i wonder if that's what he's really like in real life?"

basically, it's testing the thoughts of morons, doubters, haters, fuckwits and starstruck heat readers rather than anyone else.

and the greatest trick it's pulled? having people wonder/debate/etc whether ben stiller or kate winslet or whoever is really like their perceptions or really like their characters in extras.

that element of doubt.

that's what it's all about . . . for the aforementioned some people.

since series one ended with him getting his own series, i wonder if series two will now deal with extras from the other side of the table - how they come in and fuck stuff up for productions and how talent has to deal with them.