Extras sitcom
October 6, 2006 8:30 AM   Subscribe

The new series of the Gervais/Merchant sitcom "Extras" can be streamed from the BBC's website. This series is really excellent. There are two quality settings and Windows Media/Realplayer streams are available. Shows are only available for a few weeks after broadcast but there is still much to enjoy!
posted by mokey (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
*As befitting a UK-related advert, the appropriate rejoinder amongst MeFites would actually be Protex Blue. For those coming in late, we once again declare that the thread designation stands at Protex Blue. Thank you.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:46 AM on October 6, 2006

Wow I love that show, it's absolutly hilarious and one of the few sitcoms that makes me cry out of laughter. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by vodkadin at 9:00 AM on October 6, 2006

Last night's episode (at the BAFTAs) was truly painful viewing. Great stuff.
posted by MrMustard at 9:03 AM on October 6, 2006

The bit with Andy Millman and Keith Chegwin discussing the state of comedy in the UK was excruciating. And also very funny.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 9:07 AM on October 6, 2006

The state of black comedy in the UK I meant.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 9:07 AM on October 6, 2006

BBC streaming only works within the UK - elsewhere you'll just see it "connecting" forever, until you get bored and go download from your favoured torrent site instead.
posted by BobInce at 9:29 AM on October 6, 2006

Thanks, BobInce.

*Closes stupid box*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:31 AM on October 6, 2006

Well, maybe the Bafta bit is funny, I haven't seen it yet. But the first installment of Extras 2 was painfully unfunny.
And that comedy series that he fictionally plays in is stupid in an unfunny.
I had told some friends that the series was starting again and how wonderful it is. I was very sorry.

Sorry to be out of tune with the chorus.
posted by jouke at 9:46 AM on October 6, 2006

*wishing she could close her box of stupid forever, but sadly no*
posted by onlyconnect at 9:51 AM on October 6, 2006

Seek out the one from a week or two back with David Bowie, in which Bowie, meeting Gervais in a nightclub, sits at the piano and ad-libs a song about the 'pathetic pug-nosed fat man', and soon everyone is singing along. It's magic.....oh I just noticed BobInce's comment above... well probably every Mefite in the UK has been watching Extras anyway, oh well
posted by Flashman at 9:53 AM on October 6, 2006

jouke, are you avin a laugh?
posted by Flashman at 9:54 AM on October 6, 2006

(No, it isn't as brilliant as The Office, or even his podcasts, but it has its moments)
posted by Flashman at 9:55 AM on October 6, 2006

damn, you beat me Flashman. It is really good though.
posted by micayetoca at 9:55 AM on October 6, 2006

I tried it through a proxy in the US and it seemed to work at the lower-quality setting. Maybe it's just the broadband version that's UK-only?

I liked the first episode a lot. I hadn't been expecting the series to be much good but I think a lot of it works. Orlando Bloom was really funny, I thought.
posted by mokey at 9:57 AM on October 6, 2006

The bowie one is amazing. That man (bowie) can do anything.
posted by dozo at 11:26 AM on October 6, 2006

Is this going to be aired on HBO again? So damn funny!!
posted by OhPuhLeez at 11:37 AM on October 6, 2006

Wait, seriously? Do you people honestly think this is even approaching a quality program (relative to Gervais and Merchant's previous output or otherwise)?

I'm a yank who's been downloading each episode after they've aired, and despite loving most of the first series--the Les Dennis episode being among the most hilarious and tragic things Gervais and Merchant have ever written--I rank the second far below even Gervais's appearance on the Simpsons last season (which was really, really unfunny).

I believe my roommate summed it up best in his LiveJournal (in which he refers to me by my screenname)...
Series 2 of Extras has been fucking dreadful thus far. I can't and won't look away, as I'm curious to see how it turns out, but it's really been so awkward, contrived, forced, derivative and dumb. The polar opposite of Gervais' and Merchant's previous work (including series one of Extras, which really in my opinion ended strong as hell after a taking a couple of episodes to find itself).

Instead of first-rate Gervais and Merchant, we now get second-rate (obvious and contrived) Larry David and Larry Sanders, with oddly inappropriate Simpsons moments thrown in. The Office--by their admission--owed a huge debt to Spinal Tap and Christopher Guest's flicks, but it was in execution; It was a story-telling "model" they employed. This new series of Extras is straight-up imitation in content, and it's vastly inferior in all respects.

The first series incorporated the celebrities, at times, in ways integral to the plot. Les Dennis' episode--driven by Dennis' character to a large degree-- in particular, was just plain brilliant. Patrick Stewart's cameo, while very much a cameo, was freaking hilarious (and, as it turns out, his presence again was integral to the plot). But the series had room for pathos and even brief moments of poignancy. There were characters who by the end you actually liked and cared about: Which is really, in my mind, part of Gervais and Merchant's brilliance. They're very, very good at very human comedy. This more broad material is just not their forte. And the celebrity cameos--which have thus far amounted to little more than famous people awkwardly imitiating Gervais--have felt very conspicuous, distracting, and forced.

Gervais and Merchant make a point in this series of getting digs in at Peter Kay, Catherine Tate, Little Britain, and Lenny Henry. While I share their view on these topics, I'm not sure that after--or certainly within the context of--this series they're in any position to be talking shit.

Last night incomple and I watched episode 3. (Having aired in the UK on Thursday night, downloaded off bittorrent and burned to DVD.) The blank, slightly bemused look on incomple's face throughout the episode was infinitely more amusing than anything within the episode itself. Within five seconds of the episode ending, incomple popped the DVD out of the player and, faster than I've ever seen such a thing done, snapped it in half. The whole time having the same dead, disgusted look on his face.

Whatever, folks are allowed missteps and to make inferior works. I have no idea if this series is even well-regarded by anyone (although Merchant and Gervais have stated that they believe it the funniest thing they've ever done). This rant is unfounded and unnecessary, but such is blogging. I really, really was disappointed.
In summary, MetaFilter, I insist that it is, in fact, YOU who is 'avin' a laugh.
posted by incomple at 11:53 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Another vote for disappointing and I loved the first series. I'm not sure why he decided to change it so much but the show is called Extras. Why is he no longer an extra? By changing that, he's changed the whole dynamic of the show.

Stephen Merchant is pretty great though. The doll at the BAFTA's scene last night was really funny.
posted by gfrobe at 12:21 PM on October 6, 2006

Well, I like broad comedy, and I think they do it excellently. This series has been much funnier than the first one, in my opinion.
posted by mokey at 12:39 PM on October 6, 2006

Yeah, agreed with the haters -- Ricky Gervais, for all his claims that he was avoiding doing stupid shows, has probably jumped the shark. I've listened to or watched pretty much everything he's done since the Office -- his two stand-ups, his Simpsons episode, the episode of Alias he was in, his podcasts, Extras Season 1 and now what's been produced for season 2 -- and all I can conclude is he had one brilliant bit, "Seedy Boss" and the rest of his stuff is mediocre.

On a related note, for those that don't know: Seona Dancing
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 12:51 PM on October 6, 2006

That said, Extras Season 1 had its moments and Stephen Merchant's "Seedy Agent" character never fails to make me grin. I wish I could talk that fast.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 12:53 PM on October 6, 2006

Extras? More like Expectorate..ras!!

What a SHITCOM!!

("Shitcom" being a portmanteau that no one has ever used before me to describe a sitcom that is shitty, for example series two of Extras)
posted by incomple at 12:56 PM on October 6, 2006

OK incomple, you can stop trolling now.
posted by mokey at 1:04 PM on October 6, 2006

Underwritten, pointless CYE/Larry Sanders ripoff, plus sitcom plot from Seinfeld.
posted by stammer at 1:13 PM on October 6, 2006

Fair enough, mokey. I apologize (especially since my last comment wasn't the least bit amusing, even to a self congratulatory weirdo like myself). My roommate and I are just obsessed with this new series. Like however eager we would have been to download it before, the second one has us reloading our tracker repeatedly on Thursday night, waiting for the new torrent to show up.

Also please understand that my vitriol is purely borne out of bewilderment, since I love Gervais and Merchant so much.
posted by incomple at 1:42 PM on October 6, 2006

My brother interviewed Gervais and Merchant for last month's Arena Magazine and they were apparently really off-ish when he didn't give them the same sycophantic treatment meted out to them by most other journalists.

This series really seems to have divided people - I hear people talking about it at work in a gushingly positive way, but others seem to hate it. I wonder how funny it would be if they swapped out the characters played by well-known-to-UK-audiences with anonymous actors.
posted by TheDonF at 2:04 PM on October 6, 2006

Personally, the thing that irritates me most about the latest series is how it's obviously become some sort of measure of celebrity cool to appear on there to deflate one's public image. Ironically, it just reinforces the celebrity culture that Gervais once claimed to hate (although he also said he kind of loved it, too, I think). There's a constant implicit nudge-nudge, wink-wink aspect to the comedy that really undercuts and humour that could be derived from using celebrities, sort of like how unfunny the Ali G movie was compared to the real series, because it was all actors reacting rather than unsuspecting marks.

That said, I don't know how Larry David managed to pull it off (not consistently, but a lot more convincingly than Gervais). I suspect the improv nature of Curb Your Enthusiam was a big part of that.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 2:31 PM on October 6, 2006

I agree with the Big Fat Tycoon. Nothing else has lived up to the David Brent "Seedy Boss" character (although I would refer to him as "Incompetent boss with delusions of grandeur").

I loved the BBC podcasts and laughed all the way through them. But Gervais wasn't the funny one - it was Merchant and Karl Pilkington who made with the funnies. Gervais just sat there in the background and laughed at Pilkington most of the time. Although his laugh is very infectious, so I guess he helped.
posted by Diag at 6:35 PM on October 6, 2006

I fully approve of more TV being streamed on the web, but Extras s1 was so vastly over-rated, that I simply don't trust this one enough to even waste a few bytes trying it out.*

* Until Battlestar Galactica s3e01 & 02 are down and dusted.
posted by The Monkey at 7:39 PM on October 6, 2006

I agree with Diag... and when watching The Office's 'Behind The Scenes' bit, I was struck by just how much I wanted to smack Gervais. I honestly don't think Brent was that much of a stretch for him.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:50 PM on October 6, 2006

My gosh, I have to say, I love the show. I have laughed out loud several times during each episode, particularly episode 3 with the Down's kid, and the midget. I mean, my god, that was uncomfortable!

What can I say? It's comedy...if you don't like it, stop watching. Me, it makes me laugh, so I continue to watch. I find it so much funnier than most American comedy (Ben Stiller does not, and never will, make me laugh). But that's just my taste!
posted by newfers at 11:18 PM on October 6, 2006

Ah, but did Ben Stiller make you laugh when he was on Extras?
posted by bent back tulips at 4:46 AM on October 7, 2006

Ha, Gervais as a new romantic! That's funny. Good link, that 'Seona dancing'.
posted by jouke at 7:31 AM on October 7, 2006

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