25 October 2006

Extras - what Gervais is really doing

The second series of the hyper-clever, self-referential Extras finished last week. It's a comedy series for Hofstadter fans, with enticing self-referential layers deposited weekly - here's a good discussion of what went on.

But if the series is as clever as that, why the increasing use of childish dirty jokes (viz the not-really-very funny masturbation scenes in Episode 6?) Why is Gervais sometimes like the four-year-old shouting 'bum' for comic effect?

Here's why... Gervais is having a laugh at us (Having a laugh? Is he having ... etc etc)

How's that? Well, one of the exquisite pleasures of Extras is marvelling at the things he persuades the celeb guests to do... the 'How on earth did he get him to say that??' moments, as guest stars are carried along by the tsunami of Gervais's own celebrity into portaying themselves as racist, or sex mad or just plain unpleasant.

Well, guess what? Gervais is doing the same with us, the audience (..and also the critics!).
Watch the last episode again, but this time have in mind the thought 'How on earth did he get me to laugh at that?'

Feel a bit silly now?

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