Friday, 20 August 2010

The Ricky Gervais Show - The Complete First Series (2010)

Ricky Gervais has always split my opinion - I wasn't a fan of The Office, although I found Extras slightly more watchable. However, on a long car journey to Birmingham with some friends I discovered the Ricky Gervais Show podcasts. The insanely random conversations that the three of them have remind me of the strange conversations I often have with my friends – wonderfully entertaining yet quintessentially pointless.

Following the success of these podcasts, which earned them a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for the most downloaded podcasts, the trio released their ramblings onto the DVD world, coupled with animated characters, which bear a stylistic resemblance to the Flintstones. Seth McFarlane, creator of infamous cartoon comedy Family Guy branded the show ‘the best animation [he has] ever seen’. The show is set in a cartoon recording studio, interjected with illustrations of their ramblings – often abstract, so very much suited to the tone of the show. A particular highlight is the ‘Monkey News’ feature, introduced by cartoon-Gervais pulling his shirt off and turning into a chimpanzee.

The real star and centrepoint of the series is the irrepressible chump, yet undeniable genius of a man that is Karl Pilkington. Responsible for much of the insanity and leading many of the rambles, Karl’s animated persona sits at the end of the table, with a slightly bemused and vacant expression on his little cartoon face as Gervais and Merchant mock him senselessly. His train of thought is astounding, with a deadpan serious delivery, and it really makes you wonder what on earth goes on in his perfectly round little head. Although Gervais and Merchant are comedians and a vital part of the proceedings, it is the musings of Pilkington that really steal the show.

Unfortunately, the series does not bring new material per se – instead, animation has simply been added to the original podcasts. The Special Features also give little extra – mainly just TV ads and trailers where additional material would have been very welcomed. The show is definitely worth a watch as the animation complements the podcasts brilliantly, but if you’re expecting something entirely new, you’ll be disappointed.

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