Extras - The Special [DVD]
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The Christmas special of the BBC comedy from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. In this series finale, even though his sitcom 'When the Whistle Blows' is a huge success, Andy (Gervais) has finally had enough of not receiving the artistic recognition he feels he rightly deserves. Letting his ego rule his head, he arrogantly rejects long-term friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) and quits his role, convinced that the job offers will come flooding in. Features cameo appearances from George Michael, Clive Owen, David Tennant and Gordon Ramsay.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of celebrity. Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) is back and more miserable than ever in this darker and devastatingly funny finale to the Emmy-winning series. Though his sitcom When the Whistle Blows rates six million viewers, he is, as ever, mindful of the critics' barbs and jealous of colleagues landing the prestige film roles he covets. "I'm not proud of having Britain's No. 1 catchphrase," he grouses (actually, he has sunk to No. 3, now trailing "You are the weakest link, goodbye"). Worse, he has become a right bastard, arrogantly treating crewmembers and his one true friend, Maggie (a heartbreaking Ashley Jensen), like dirt. Andy finally drops his clueless and incompetent agent (series co-creator Stephen Merchant) and quits the show. "Don't worry about me," he proclaims. "The phone won't stop ringing."
Unlike the finale of The Office, this super-duper-sized episode really has no loose ends to tie up. In Andy's humiliating comeuppance (he sinks to portraying an alien on Dr. Who and joins the desperate housemates on Celebrity Big Brother), Gervais has the perfect vessel with which to rail against soul-sucking celebrity, degrading tabloid culture, and "the gutter press." As for Andy and Maggie, those longing for some kind of Tim/Dawn hookup may not get exactly what they want, but they will get what they need in the lovely final scenes. A-listers having a laugh at their own images have always been one of Extras' special treats. The finale features jaw-dropping cameos by Clive Owen and George Michael, performing community service yet again. --Donald Liebenson
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