Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hilarity ensues

[Note: for some reason, YouTube, which has never given me a problem before, isn't allowing me to put up the video that is the subject of this post (or perhaps things are just slow and it is going to publish all my post-attempts several hours from now). The result is a somewhat less elegant blog entry than I would have liked... ah well.]

So a few of us have had comedy on the brain for the last few days (though others of us always have comedy on the brain, alas) -- but even if that wonderful discussion had never happened I probably would have been compelled to post this, easily the funniest moment on the funniest show currently on television. Thanks you, Ricky Gervais.

"I imagined what it would be like being a wizard, and then I pretended and acted in that way." Hoo-wee! Imagine if McKellan had pulled out that gem during his recent interview with professional blowhard Charlie Rose!

One of the things that really sets Extras apart is that it is depressing and funny all at once -- the bits (which don't always look funny on paper) have a dependable capacity for inducing squeamishness. But wasn't it Charles Schulz (a man who struggled with depression all his life) who said that happiness isn't funny?

Oh yeah, can't wait until American television gets ahold of this one and turns it into a pale boring shell of itself.


Jeff said...

I would beg to differ that the NBC office is a pale imitation of the original. It's very different and I'm finding it to be one of the better comedies on network TV. (Tho I think the current leader is 30 Rock...)

I HATED HATED the first season of the NBC office. Simply, it didn't translate. Michael Scott is not David Brent, tho they may share some similar traits.

Give the latter seasons of the NBC show a chance -- I think you'll find things there to like a lot.

(Apparently, Carrell in the 40 Year Old Virgin informed the writers where to take Michael Scott, so the seasons before FYOV are lesser than the post-movie ones are.

I had the good fortune of seeing the whole series in one sitting (thanks to our torrenting friends across the pond) and I am saddened by the notion that this may be the final season of it. I don't know that next week's episode is a fitting conclusion to Andy's story.

The last episode of the Office with Brent crying not to be made redundant was an ending -- downbeat, but understood.

The Office Xmas Special -- two episodes surrounding the Office Xmas Party where Brent returns -- put a happier ending on the series, and resolved Dawn and Tim in a more satisfying way.

I can't see an Andy Millman Xmas Special. I'd like to see a third series where they deal with the aftermath of fame. Season One was the struggle to attain it. Season Two is "What Price Fame?" and Season Three should be "And now it's over..." and Andy struggles to live in a post Whistle world.

I thought the McKellan episode was the best of the bunch -- callbacks to first season ("Bunny!") and just McKellan himself. Bowie probably came in a close second because I couldn't stop humming that damned tune...

Jeff said...


"I had the good fortune of seeing the whole [second] series [of Extras] in one sitting..."

Andrew said...

I don't know, man, I may need some more convincing on the merits of the NBC Office. I actually saw a few episodes recently while I was sick and had nothing better to do -- I ended up getting mad at the TV for not distracting me from my illness (isn't that what TV is supposed to do when you are sick?).

The British probably invented deadpan, and it is very hard to beat them at that particular game. The best I can say at the moment is that the American Office is not as horrible as the American Coupling (not by a long shot). But I'm open to arguments...

I haven't given up on Carrell, BTW, though I have been somewhat disappointed in him in recent years -- I didn't like FYOV either. I think he was great on The Daily Show, and there are a few other things he's done that look interesting, though I haven't seen them yet.

Looking forward to the last episode, though even without having seen it I suspect you're right and that it's a bit of an abrupt and unsatisfying cut-off.

Andrew said...

Oh, yeah, and I think the BBC Office has a better theme song...

Kris Tiner said...

Seems to me the American Office is a very, very different show altogether. Especially this season - it's as if they're trying to see how far they can possibly push the absurdity and still retain some thread of a storyline. The first season seemed like they were going for the deadpan thing, but like you said, it has to be more on the surface with these actors (particularly Carrell and Rainn Wilson).

They seem to have hit their stride this season, though. Carrell will deliver some over-the-top line and immediately I think there's no way they're going to make this work... and then he'll just look at the camera in a certain way and make the character so believably ridiculous.

Kim and I are absolutely addicted to the American version, btw. We've gotten through only about four episodes of the original. It's a totally different show.

Jeff said...

Oh, the BBC theme is MUCH better; and it has a closing theme too which is just brilliant.

"And what becomes of you my love,
When they have finally stripped you of,
The handbags and the gladrags,
That your Grandad had to sweat so you could buy."

The last line kills me.

Beatles connection: Mike D'abo who wrote the tune played in a band with Revolver artist Klaus Voorman.


I've not seen either the Brit or the US Coupling ...

(I'm now too tired to continue this post... but I'm a tad surprised you didn't like 40YOV... I thought it was one of the funniest things I'd seen in a while. But that may be because we saw it in the movies on an adults night out... )

Andrew said...

"we saw it in the movies on an adults night out"

Yeah, context is everything.

I'll give you both that the American Office is different than its inspiration... maybe it's even "very different"... but at "very very different" you lose me.

Clearly the shows (aside from their similar production values and cinema verite style) are riffing on the same thematic territory: the tedium of office life as colored by the social ineptitudes of a particularly moronic boss.

One of the NBC episodes I saw dealt with the issue of multiculturalism in the workplace. As I sat there watching it in my nausea-induced agony, I found myself getting more and more pissed off that I was able to predict the jokes as they happened. E.g.: I just know he's going to prove his bumbling insensitivity at some point... wait for it... ah, look, he thought he was going to a costume party! What else? Okay, now he's going to propose to his girlfriend in front of everyone, and she's going to say no. Yup, there they go. Yawn!

I highly recommend (the BBC) Coupling to both of you. That's much more of a witty wordplay / cleverly constructed plot / battle-of-the-sexes kind of thing. The writing (Stephen Moffat) is brilliant, and the ensemble is, well, almost as brilliant.