I guess my TV viewing is a little out of date, what with me being reliant on the iplayer, but I’ve only just caught up with ‘Extras.’ I don’t really like Ricky Gervais; he’s very talented but I prefer to laugh rather than squirm when I’m watching a comedy, and though ‘The Office’ was brilliant I didn’t much enjoy it. But ‘Extras’ is great. There’s a different scene every week and the opportunity to bring in guest stars who are playing ‘themselves’ – such as Kate Winslet, Les Dennis and Ross Kemp. And although it has its awkward, ‘Office’-type moments, you grow to like the characters. It’s unpredictable, and I like that. Of course you know things are going to go horribly wrong, but you don’t know how – and it’s not always the central characters that are to blame.
It reminds me of the more recent ‘W1A’. A spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary with David Tennant doing the v/o, my favourite character is the grinning shit-stirrer whose catch-phrase is ‘Very good – very strong’ – and who always tries to land his boss in it by saying things like; ‘is this something you’d like to be across in terms of Values?’ to which Ian Fletcher can only reply ‘Yes, no – yes, absolutely,’ while wanting to throttle the guy (people are always saying ‘Yes – no’ or ‘No – yes’ in this series. And in the blue corner we have Anna, promoted to a job neither she nor anyone else can understand, and jabbering things like ‘the fact is,’ and ‘this is all about Better’ in a panicky sort of way. The only genuine character, ‘lovely’ Lucy, is being stalked by her one-time colleague who constantly tries to dump his problems onto her. The voice-over is full of gems such as ‘meanwhile, in the Syncopati-cafe, it is becoming increasingly obvious to Lucy that she is having some sort of breakfast.’
It’s terrific stuff, and the more I watch it, the more I see in it.
‘Extras’ is on Netflix and W1A may still be floating about on i-player, so go watch.