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Not having (as much of) a laugh
on 22 February 2007
Hmmm bit of a disappointment this series after the original inventive high water mark of the first Extras series. Don't get me wrong there are some very funny bits in it - such as Count Fxxkula, or Andy's doll constantly repeating "Is he having a laugh" during Richard Briers' sombre speech, or Richard Madeley's bit (not going to say any more about this it would come out wrong but it is very funny if you see it), and Stephen Merchant and Barry's "work out" with the pen was good too, as was Bowie's "pug nose face" song...
Ashley Jensen's Maggie character was criminally underused in this series compared to the first series which is a shame as she was one of the best things about Extras Series 1. Were Gervais and Merchant envious that she was getting all the plaudits?
Stephen Merchant's character was brought more to the fore at the expense of Ashley's character but it got too much and he became irritating after a while.
Also the star turns were not as inspired as the ones in the first series. Either they were just irritating - Orlando Bloom, Daniel Radcliffe (will he ever be able to act?), or they ended up making me think of similar performances in the first series which were much funnier. I'm thinking specifically of Keith Chegwin which made me think of the Les Dennis episode and Ian McKellen's bit which made me think of the far superior Patrick Stewart episode. There was also nothing in series 2 as entertaining or completely well sketched as the sending up of Ross Kemp's hard man image.
Also although there were some very spot-on observations in series 2 like the fan boys who pester Andy when he is in the pub and the media's tendancy to exaggerate stories to ludicrous proportions (Andy punching the boy and his wheel-chair bound mother!!) there was some bits that did not ring true: like when Keith Chegwin gets fact and fiction mixed up "but I told them I don't have a sister" and many of the cases involving Maggie e.g. Andy: "It's a figure of speech.." Maggie: "You are going to make a speech?". That is quite frankly crap and an insult to the viewer's intelligence: no one is quite that dumb.
And also I love Bowie and he should obviously be made the King of England tomorrow but Gervais and Merchant showed too much timidity and/or respect with his bit - all the mad outlandish things he has done and they couldn't find any way to mock him however gently?? To echo another catchphrase "I don't believe it!"