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Extras c

Christmas Review #3 of 12

“Happily ever after” is how Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant brought The Office to an end as Dawn and Tim finally got together and even David Brent himself found someone special in that most memorable of finales, four year’s ago.  Trying to force lightening to strike in the same place a second time has proved tricky but there were many great little moments throughout the two series of Extras that led me to think that the Christmas Special finale would be well worth watching and it didn’t disappoint.  It was clear that this had been put together with oodles of care and attentions and even the seemingly throw-away cameos all served to illuminate the path that Andy Millman was following, even the fate of Hale and Pace who were failing miserably to get into The Ivy, was ironic forshadowing.  Of course, Extras has also allowed Stephen Merchant to take a more significant role in front of the camera for which he won 2006 British Comedy Award (and also, wierdly, he managed to win a role as a CTU agent in 24). The banter between himself and “Barry” has always been a highlight and again the seasonal special didn’t disappoint with the added bonus of Dean Gaffney forming a strange alliance in the Carphone Warehouse.  Other cameos were too numerous to mention, other than a quick nod to David Tennant who acted his socks off while taking the mickey out of himself at the same time… lovely.

Andy’s quest to be taken seriously as an actor while simultaneously suffering from bouts of cringe-inducing tactlessness was always a dichotomy in his character that I found hard to believe in but his relationship with Maggie (Ashley Jensen) was magnificent.  A fitting conclusion then for this special to put the seal on their friendship.  After his nose-diving career finally ends with an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, it is life inside the house that ultimately opens his eyes to the reality of his circumstance.  His final, impassioned monologue was a joy to behold and folks who doubt Ricky Gervais’s genius can just go hang their heads.  It might have lacked the punch-the-air moment of Dawn and Tim’s long-awaited kiss but it was pretty close.

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