Saturday, February 6, 2010



Probably not the word one would immediately think of when describing Ricky Gervais’ Extras, but... it kept coming to me as I tearfully sat through the final moments of the series finale.

Hmm... the beginning of this entry sounds like it’s being written by a critic doing a review. This is not a review. This is an actor talking about a piece of art.

Yes. Art. This show is so human. Who would have thought that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant would attempt to make a rise-and-fall story, a story of maturation that would travel as far as it does in so little screen time? There are moments of such naked honesty, such clarity in illuminating the human condition... jesus I sound like a pretentious sap but it’s true! I often talk about great art as giving us the essence, the thing itself. Great poems about nature allow us to taste the essence of that experience. Songs can illuminate grief, cut through any thoughts/intellectualisations of it to give us grief itself.

Well- this story gives us the classic rise and fall. Extras shows us the ego itself, and how it can change us, humble us and ultimately make us suffer until we grow and transcend it, (hopefully) finding fulfillment, joy and innocence on the other side. Extras is a story of innocence lost and found again. The best part of this show is that it’s a classic left-right combination: it makes us think we’re in for a fun, silly ride – which it duly delivers – only to discover it’s a show that can teach us about and remind us of ourselves, making us cringe and grieve and hope. I said early on that all actors in Los Angeles should watch this show. Having watched the finale, I have no doubt that we’re all in the process of living its journey. Hopefully we’re all closer to the end than the beginning. BRAVO. Extras is epic.

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