Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Extras The Complete Second Season|
Actor: Ricky Gervais
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television
What happens when an unknown actor who can't catch a break actually catches one? For Andy Millman, who's just broken through with a TV sitcom called When the Whistle Blows, celebrity doesn't necessarily mean happiness - it... more »
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Extra! Take two!
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 04/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ricky Gervais actually managed to top himself with season one of "Extras," all about a struggling actor trying to catch a break.
Well, in the second season of "Extras," his character has finally gotten one. But obviously it's not smooth sailing for the stressed-out extras, who continue to stumble through odd jobs and exaggerated celebrities. It's full of hilarious spoofery of the entertainment biz, and is pretty much hysterical from start to finish.
In the opening episode, Andy (Gervais) has finally gotten his own sitcom, "When the Whistle Blows," and is over the moon. Problem is, the BBC decides to dumb it down and make him use funny costuming to achieve cheap laughs. As the season goes on, Andy struggles to keep "When the Whistle Blows" afloat and approved of, since the reviews are atrocious.
Meanwhile, Maggie (Ashley Jensen) has a tiny part in an absurd courtroom drama starring Orlando Bloom, and the arrogant Bloom starts pursuing her when she expresses a lack of interest. ("They're basically just doing it because you're famous." "Well, they're not just doing it because I'm famous -- no, it's my looks as well!"). When he's not making fun of Johnny Depp ("I've got scissors for hands!")
He and Maggie continue to tangle with a bunch of other celebs -- a sex-obsessed Daniel Radcliffe (who accidentally snaps a condom at Diana Rigg), Warwick Davis, a self-promoting Chris Martin, and Robert De Niro. He also gets mocked by David Bowie in a pub, and his sitcom is criticized by Stephen Fry. He even stars in a play directed by Ian McKellen, but neglects to notice that it's a gay romance with a man-man kiss.
It's sort of pleasant that Gervais didn't pound the "barely employed actor" thing to death after the first season of "Extras." Instead, he uses Andy's sitcom to open new storylines (and new disasters) for his increasingly embittered character, as he tries to straddle the fence between success and being a genuine actor.
Gervais continues to write wonderfully squirmy dialogue ("'TV bully kicks dwarf in face.'" "Accurate, but as you say there's no such thing as bad publicity") and horribly embarrassing situations. It's all filmed in a very natural style, except that now we have some looks inside Andy's sitcom, a sort of lowbrow, widely-watched comedy with a random celeb cameo.
Poor Andy has a rough time in this season, and so Gervais really brings out his frustration and dissatisfaction with the way his poor show has been mutilated. Not to mention his tendency to embarrass himself. And Jensen is wonderful as the sweet, flaky Maggue, while Stephen Merchant is great fun as Andy's inept agent.
But the best is the stuff uttered by the actors -- Radcliffe and Bloom are hysterical as clumsily woman-chasing, self-obsessed parodies of themselves, and it's hard not to adore them for it. Bowie's "pathetic little fat man/nobody's laughing" song is just hilarious. And McKellen steals the show, whether it's discussing his "method" ("How did I know what to say? They had my lines written down on a SCRIPT") or accidentally making it look like he and Andy had an intimate encounter.
"Extras: Season Two" is a solid follow-up to the outstanding first season, with our "extras" continuing to struggle in the surreal world of showbiz. Definitely worth seeing!"
"Are you havin' a laugh?"
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 04/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the second season of Extras opens, it appears as if things may be looking up for struggling actor Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais). His sitcom, "When the Whistle Blows", is picked up by BBC with himself in a lead role. Problem is, BBC makes him water the show down so much that despite it's high ratings, it gets slaughtered in the review columns. The season mainly focuses on Andy's troubles with the show becoming a hit (including a hilarious satire on the paparazzi), while Maggie (Ashley Jensen) goes about her same routine of looking her love, and Andy's agent (Stephen Merchant) proves to be inept as ever, leading up to a decision from Andy in regards to their professional relationship. Like the first season, the second season of Extras has it's fair share of A-list guest stars that all leave their mark. Robert DeNiro, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellan, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Stephen Fry, and Warwick "Leprechaun" Davis all make the most of their time, but it's David Bowie and Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe that will leave you in absolute hysterical joy. All in all, the second (and possibly final) season of Extras is another excellent comedic blast to come from Ricky Gervais, and if you've never seen this show, you have been sadly missing out."
Not the same show as the first series - but still better tha
D. Lynch | 09/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Overall I was disappointed with this because the distinctive format from the first series has been morphed into something else entirely. In the first series, one famous person dominated and they either overdid their public image or played against it. This was especially powerful given how straight the other characters played alongside them, while still remaining funny themselves. When the famous person was absent, Gervais and Ashley Jensen's characters and performances were pitched just right to keep the laughs coming.
Admittedly, series 1 was so perfect it was always going to be difficult to follow, but the same team did it with The Office and I had high hopes here ... but when I saw who was appearing in the second season, alarm bells were ringing. Richard and Judy? Jonathan Ross?
Admittedly, Ross is pretty good, as are most of the 'celebs' who appear. And when they fail - like Orlando Bloom, it has more to do with the lines they are given rather than their performance.
The main problem is not with the performers, it's just that Extras now feels like just another 'celebrity' show - as if the main aim is to pile in as many celebs as possible and hope that the laughs will surely follow. Yes, there are still laughs here, but each episode is struggling for them rather than flowing as it did in the first season. Then it was either Ross Kemp's inflated macho man, Ben Stiller's deluded tyrant or Kate Winslet's kinky opportunist that held each episode together. Now things often feels forced, or messy (or both).
Another major reason for the decline is that the quality of the writing has dropped noticebly. An example being jokes about Ian McKellen and vaseline that felt as if it had been lifted straight out of a 'Carry On...' film (and Gervais hates Carry On films!). Ashley Jensen is sidelined too much and Stephen Merchant's insane character is brought more to the fore (although Merchant is still hilarious so this does have its plusses). And one episode features a very famous person whose name I won't reveal - but he was so criminally wasted it left me depressed!!!
That's the bad news. The good news is that this is still great stuff compared to any other recent comedy out there. If nothing else see it for Keith Chegwin's turn as a clueless actor, Ronnie Corbett as a notorious drug taker and David Bowie singing to Gervais that he is a 'fat waste of space.'
Fat he may be, but Gervais proves he still has plenty to offer - his acting is always spot on even when his writing is shakey. But on this evidence he should stay away from a 3rd series of Extras and employ his marvelous talents in another direction.
More of the same, but less
D. Martin | 08/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While Season 2 has many hilarious moments, the episodes start falling into a pattern. In each episode, Andy is humiliated and embarrassed by something said or done by Maggie or his agent. After a while this stops being funny and just starts being predictable and depressing. It gets to a point where one just can't sympathize with Andy anymore because he should have fired his agent long ago and should have learned to keep his mouth shut about sensitive issues with Maggie.
Also, a lot of jokes are disguised versions of previous Gervais jokes. For example, the joke about Sir Ian McKellan's character's method of acting is very similar in spirit to Keith Chegwin's confusion about acting (i.e., the distinction between acting and real life). Even Orlando Bloom's hilarious part has echoes of the scene where David Brent asks his employees how old he looks and cannot bring himself to accept their answer.
What is indeed interesting, and quite brilliant actually, is how the show-within-the-show parallels the show itself. For example, as Andy struggles with the sitcom status of When The Whistle Blows, Extras itself becomes a bit ludicrous and outlandish in its jokes and situations and more like a sitcom. In the show, Andy bemoans having to bring on Chris Martin as a celebrity guest, when this is exactly what's going in the real show, Extras. Very Charlie Kaufman-esque."