October 18, 2005

Crying at "Extras."

I finally got around to watching the first episode of "Extras," the new HBO series starring Ricky Gervais. It's a comedy, but when it ended -- I am not kidding -- I broke down and cried! Nothing at all sentimental had happened or made me feel emotional during the show, but when the closing credits came up, I started to cry! I can only think that the show hit some level of artistic brilliance that brought on tears -- like the way people cry in front of great paintings. That was weird!

(Some spoiling follows.) The Gervais character harshly but blandly states his atheism early on in the episode, then, confronted with a woman with cerebral palsy who believes she will live free of the diseases in the afterlife and sexually interested in her sister, he says he's a Catholic. Later, there is a long scene where a priest sees through him and brings him to confession. There are other religious and sexual themes woven throughout the half-hour show. I'm in awe.


XWL said...

This is an amazing show and I doubt you'll be disappointed upon watching the other episodes.

Kate Winslet deserves an Emmy for her performance as herself. (wearing a nun's habit and saying 'fudding myself rotten' that's comedy).

This show is far less cringe inducing than The Office and Ricky Gervais' character is both more sympathetic and pathetic than his previous creation.

Just visited the BBC site for the show and saw there are only 6 episodes total. Brit TV actors really ought to put their backbones into it and work a little more.

And Maggie almost always looks better in her costumes than she does dressed as herself (I think it's the hair)

Dustin said...

My wife and I are big fans of both of The Office mockumentaries (BBC and the American version) and Extras.

I have to disagree with xwl, I found the cringing to be far worse. Perhaps its just the specific subject matter of the three episodes so far, but I've had to look away at times... scary stuff.

The last episode only had a couple moments ( in the club ) that were cringe worthy, but I'm still reeling from the confession episode. That hooked the show for me.

Lonesome Payne said...

Interesting cause of crying, Ann. I do the same thing when watching "North By Northwest," or a number of other movies and TV shows. I am just thunderstuck when something is simply good: when the talent and effort and commitment are obvious.

It's real famous, of course, but I saw it recently and I think it's really the case that the "Cropduster scene" is essentially perfect. Every little detail is conceived, and manifested for a reason.

Material like that stirs something deep; maybe just the evidence that not all in society is irony and detachment, and some people do something great just because.

(Not that ironic and detached artistic efforts can't be good in the same way. Although as an artistic stance it lost its oomph about 23 years ago.)

Hamsun56 said...

XWL: Disagree with your comment about the Brits needing to "work a bit more" when they have a good TV series going. The Brits sitcoms tend to quit while they are ahead and American sitcoms tend to milk a series for all its worth - or at least until they have enough for syndication.

The Kate Winslet episode was about as good as it gets. I've only seen one other episode - the one with Sammuel Jackson. It is was worth watching but not as good as the first.

Contributors said...

Just thinking about "the Searchers" or "Notorious" puts a lump in my throat.

Lonesome Payne said...

Actually, "Dirty Harry" does it for me. I almost mentioned it.

knox said...

Ann, you must see "The Office" if you haven't yet... it's out on DVD now.

amba said...

"Harshly but blandly"? I have to watch the show just to see what you mean by that.