This episode starts with Warwick flat hunting with Cheryl, his assistant. The scene is a clever reference back to Extras that seems to have been overlooked by every other critic. But then, other critics are busy bashing Life’s too short, as this is Gervais’ year for a media bashing.
The Daily Mail recently had to print a retraction after massaging the viewing figures, they only reported the overnight figures, which given the way we watch TV nowadays, are completely redundant as they don’t include viewers who record it and watch it later or people who access it via the Iplayer. It is funny that they only do it with popular shows, you never see ‘Homes under the hammer down 100 viewers’.
Anyway, in Extras, Andy Millman tried to impress a journalist from the Guardian. Andy asked his friend Maggie to pretend to be his assistant. Warwick is trying to impress the estate agent; into thinking, he is more important than he is. The estate agent is the same actress who played the journalist. It’s a great scene, which again showcases Warwick’s excellent comic timing. Warwick has a real knack for physical comedy and I predict will win many awards next year.
Later in the episode, Warwick turns to Ricky and Steve when he finds out his wife is having more than a professional relationship, with their divorce lawyer.
While in their office, Warwick sits in on a skype chat between Ricky, Stephen and Steve Carroll. When Ricky badmouths Carroll after thinking he had quit Skype, things take a turn for the worse. Speaking as someone who has been in this situation, it felt just as authentic and just as awkward.
Now at the midway point, Life’s too short is turning in to one of the best sitcoms the year and you know what, I’m glad the mainstream media doesn’t like it.
Life’s too short airs on Thursdays at 9:30 pm, on BBC2
Warwick launches a new website in an effort to get himself more work, but it only ends up getting 12 hits and some nasty online comments. His clients at Dwarves For Hire believe that Warwick always takes the best roles for himself and he attempts to appease them by creating showreels re-enacting famous film scenes. I feel that this episode is where Life’s Too Short finally found its feet. This is what I’ve been waiting for, some quality time with Warwick. The celebrity cameo is in the last few minutes and the episode works so much better because of it. Helena Bonham-Carter doesn’t overshadow the episode, in the way the Neeson and Depp did.
We were left with Warwick and Cheryl and this is when the show is at it’s strongest. For series 2 I’d rather they toned down the celebrity cameos, maybe go an episode or two without them.
The critic’s main problem with Life’s Too Short, is that it features an adult male dwarf playing an adult male dwarf, as opposed to a leprechaun or a goblin. It’s worth a pretty penny nowadays when dwarves want to play something other than an Oompa Loompa. This is almost the same problem Jon Watkins had with The Fosters, back in 1976. I thought we had moved on.
Life’s Too Short airs on Thursday’s at 9:30 pm, on BBC2
For some reason, critics haven’t been that keen on this new venture from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. I think that’s due to this being Gervais’ year, every year the media seem to pick a celebrity they’ve always liked, then tarnish them. Quite why this is happening is still a mystery to me and that’s probably why I’ll never be taken seriously as a critic.
This series is really starting to take shape, Warwick again puts in an amazing comic performance, everyone involved is perfectly suited for comedy.
My personal highlight happened when Warwick and his assistant, Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) are discussing ways to expand and bring in new business, she suggests he should dress up as a little girl and wait in the woods, as paedophile bait. In fact, the best parts of this episode were the parts that just featured Warwick and Cheryl. The convention scene was genuinely funny. You felt sympathy for the young boy with the brain tumour, but also for Warwick as everyone in the line then used the tumour excuse to avoid paying the £25 for his autograph.
The only criticism I have about Life’s Too Short is the celebrity cameos, with Warwick and Cheryl I don’t think you need them. It’s almost as if they’re making extras, without making extras. The post-credit scene made me realise, how much I miss extras.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Johnny Depp’s part in this episode, the confrontation between him and Gervais felt authentic, but if you had taken Depp out, it wouldn’t have affected the episode.
Another time you feel for Warwick is when he turns up at the couples, Star Wars-themed wedding and they expect him to be dressed as Wickett the Ewok. This reflects a real-life experience Warwick had when he was asked to open a garden centre at Christmas and told by the owner “bring your elf costume”. The speech Warwick gave at the wedding was the brilliant cringe-worthy comedy that Gervais writes so well.
Overall I’m enjoying this series and I look forward to episode 3
Life’s Too Short airs on Thursdays, at 9:30 pm on BBC2