HBO Home Video
Ricky Gervais is the master of comedic mortification. When he offered us the original British version of The Office, he played a hopelessly foolish corporate manager who constantly missed the point and suffered humiliation as a result. In Extras, Gervais plays Andy Millman, another schlemiel who can’t win for losing. In the newly released DVD of the second season, Andy has achieved some small measure of the success he so desperately craved. He’s now the star of an execrable sitcom, but respect still eludes him. His hunger for that respect leads him into further embarrassments—as in the episode where David Bowie improvises a song about him, singing it to an adoring group of fans while poor Andy squirms at the musical portrait Bowie warbles. Stephen Merchant, who plays Andy’s inept agent, can twist the audience into knots of frustration, and Maggie, Andy’s sweet but dimwitted friend, can be equally exasperating. Both of them are constantly undermining Andy’s attempts to gain respect, and both of them are hilarious, though no one is funnier than Gervais himself. Lots of funny extras on the Extras DVD, too.