Friday, December 28, 2007

The difficult last episode

The only actual laughs in the Christmas "Extras" were provided by Stephen Merchant. The scene where he rushed at - and failed to clear - a BBC security gate was all the funnier for the fact that you didn't actually see it. The best you could get out of the rest of the 90 minutes was a knowing smirk, provided you knew about things like the amount of energy expended in the media in getting a table at the Ivy.
It was the final show. Andy Millman had an attack of bad conscience while in the Celebrity Big Brother house and turned his back on the hollow sham of celebrity. This came at the climax of a programme in which everybody from Hale and Pace through June Sarpong to Gordon Ramsay turned up to riff upon their public personality. 
Savage ironic twist or ultimate case of having your Christmas cake and eating it? 


  1. Anonymous11:50 am

    I think it is probably the latter. I agree about the lack of laughs, but strangely I found the affirmation of friendship at the end quite moving. Which I suppose I should have anticipated when one considers the final episode of The Office, but it still caught me unawares.

  2. It didn't say anything new about celebrity, though it did ram home the rather obvious message about the emptiness of it all [see Damon Albarn's worries, which I've quoted in the previous thread].
    I enjoyed it quite a lot, especially Merchant's bits - he's an underrated comic actor. But I found it uneven, not necessarily in terms of laughs or quality, but in terms of the reality/believability of different scenes and characters. I never found this with the Office, which was superior overall.

  3. Anonymous4:41 pm

    Having watched a bunch of Extras on a plane, the biggest laugh I had was when Milman attempted to drink a bottle of sparkling water which exploded in his face. What is it about slapstick?

  4. I must admit, against my better judgment I enjoyed it. I really think the Andy/Maggie relationship is beautifully crafted, and easily the best thing about the programme.

  5. Anonymous12:47 pm

    The thing is I could never buy the Andy/Maggie friendship. For all his shallowness Andy is an intelligent and aware guy, whereas Maggie is unbelievably, (though inconsistently) stupid. Incapable of grasping even basic devices like pretending to be a PA, or remembering Ridley Scott's name.

    Good for hilarious misunderstandings and that, but doesn't really help to stand up anything deeper.

    Agree the Merchant was very good though, also the Barry from Eastenders and the Gaffney.