Friday, 13 April 2012

Ricky Gervais had the last laugh as Derek - but it was the only one

Gervais as Derek
Ricky Gervais had the last laugh - last night's pilot show Derek confounded his PC critics by playing the simple-minded title character in a manner sympathetic and at times moving.
Unfortunately it was the only one. We have a clearer definition of a Gervais comedy-drama - a sitcom without laughs.
Gervais is at the height of his career and can write his own cheques. No one but he could have got the half-hour aired and likely be commissioned for a full series.
Derek, the odd, gentle old people's home worker shows Gervais is ready to move on as a writer-actor.
The pity is he can't break entirely free of the roots of his success.
Hence rolling out the tired faux documentary format again; crude attempts to inject slapstick humour are best forgotten.
Gervais's dilemma put me in mind of Tony Hancock's The Punch and Judy Man. Both men were unsatisfied with being recognised as comic geniuses and wanted to say more about the 'human condition.'
Audiences, however, for the most part want escape through laughter rather than insight amid tears. They demand their funny men be funny.
The failure of Hancock's film marked the beginning of the decline in his career. Gervais, too, is at a crossroads but fortunately lacks the former's self-destructive drive.

2 comments:

  1. But he seems to enjoy playing a retard in all his shows.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you say the 'human condition?'.

    ReplyDelete

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