British TV stars continue to take the lead from John Cleese and Fawlty Towers, which ran a mere twelve episodes over two seasons (or “series”), yet retains its place as a classic TV comedy, when it comes to not running a show into the ground. Ricky Gervais, whose original UK version of The Office played out over two seasons and a Christmas special (he’ll leave it to NBC to stretch its ripoff version until it breaks), is pulling the plug on his latest series, Extras, also after two seasons, and also with a special.
HBO suits says its his decision to wrap the series with a movie-style finale. The special is set to be shot in August. No date yet for when it will run.
HBO also says its negotiating a Ricky Gervais stand-up comedy special for next season–which could be a lot less satisfying, in light of the brickbats Ricky’s received over two recent high-profile standup appearances. They were apparently so cringe-inspiring that his fellow Brits are claiming their wonder by has “lost it”!
TV critic Jim Shelly of the UK Daily Mirror leads the charge after Ricky faced the crowd at the recent worldwide concerts for Princess Diana and Live Earth.
You can read the article, “Ricky Gervais Has Lost It,” with UK reader comments, here, or just read the whole thing here:
It’s hard to say exactly when Ricky Gervais stopped being the endearing, ingenious wit behind The Office and became the tiresome embarrassment he is today. There were the endless, nauseatingly matey, appearances on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross; his mediocre episode of The Simpsons; his mutual appreciation society with overrated US comics Ben Stiller and Larry David.
Fawning anecdotes in which he would call Extras’ guest Robert De Niro “Bob” were another giveaway. His cameo in A Night At the Museum (with Stiller) was sub-sitcom standard and, like The Simpsons, another example of him re-hashing Brent. After years refusing to “do” The David Brent Dance, these days you can hardly stop him.
He was at it again during The Concert for Diana, where the sight of Gervais dying on his feet confirmed his demise. Having been introduced by, you’ve guessed it, Ben Stiller, Gervais performed the never-knowingly-funny Brent number Free Love On the Free Love Freeway, before making a gag about global warming we’ve all made: “at least we’re going to have brilliant summers from now on”. Asked to wing it until Elton John was ready, the acclaimed stand-up floundered.
His appearance at Saturday’s Live Earth concert only compounded his humiliation. He opened with a lame remark about the show’s eco-conscious stars flying in by private jet – an irony already commented on by that acclaimed comic genius Simon Le Bon. Then it was a case of he doth protest too much, as he insisted he’d done Live Earth as a favour to Spinal Tap creators “Christopher” (Guest) and “Rob” (Reiner), and that he couldn’t say no to the Diana concert because he’d been asked personally – by Wills and Harry.
And with that, Gervais and David Brent, whose capacity for ingratiating, excruciating embarrassment he made famous, finally became indistinguishable.
Well, Jim at least proved he knows his way around a word processor, but is it a case of anticipated backlash against a true success– or, in light of Ricky’s appearance on Kathy Griffin’s reality series– spot-on?
What do you Tink? Er, think?