I was skeptical of Ricky Gervais' new sitcom Extras because I loved The Office and quite frankly I didn't think anything could live up to it. Ricky is a real funny guy, and I think The Office is one of the funniest things ever, but I was pretty sure that kind of comedy was a one time deal. So I started watching Extras feeling like it wouldn't possibly be as good as The Office.
I was right, it's better. Gervais is a genius in the same way that Larry David is. They both are masters of awkward comedy. Extras is funnier than The Office because its content matter isn't necessarily a one trick pony. The show brings in well-known guest stars to play themselves while simultaneously pretending to play a role in a movie. Kate Winslet discussing why she's playing a nun in a holocaust film had me in tears. God bless Ricky Gervais and his comic talent.
People often tell me that they can't understand what's so funny about The Office. Extras does not suffer that problem. While The Office is cringe funny with only brief moments of laugh out loud humor, Extras has consistent belly laughs and Americans will understand it more. HBO was smart to pick it up. It truly is brilliant.
Of course, no British comedy is ever going to be as funny as Spaced, but that will never find its way to an American dvd. Shaun of the Dead captures some of that humor, but not with the same depth.