This past Sunday (December 16th), the series finale of the HBO series "Extras" premiered. If you haven’t been watching the show, shame on you. (well, maybe that is a little harsh..but you really should be watching!) "Extras" is from the same guys who developed the original BBC series, "The Office"…Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
This show follows the lives of Andy Millman (Gervais), and his friend Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jensen), as they scrape out a living as extras in movies and TV shows. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I do want to include a clip from the finale (don’t watch if you don’t want to see a spoiler!!).
The set up is that Andy has become bored with doing his sitcom and is ready for bigger and better things. As he attempts to make this climb, his personality undergoes a transformation. In addition to berating the fans for following his silly sitcom in the first place, he starts to lose touch with his best friend Maggie. As she struggles to make a living, even going so far as to give up her flat and start working as a cleaning lady just to pay the bills.
Andy meanwhile is still enjoying the luxuries the sitcom has afforded him, but isn’t happy at all. And his search for more credibility isn’t going so great. He isn’t getting the parts he’d hoped, and he has gotten desperate. In this scene, Andy has sunken to a new low, agreeing to become a contestant on "Big Brother", along with some other minor celebrities.
After being in the house for several days and becoming totally frustrated with the whole process, Andy breaks down and delivers this monologue, as his friend Maggie watches from home on the couch.
This is absolutely one of the most emotional scenes I have EVER seen, and it moves me right now just as much as it did the first time I watched it. In addition to just being completely real and emotional, the subject matter is just presented perfectly and with a cutting and witty edge, insight and clarity that would make George Carlin proud.
If you could give an Oscar for "Best Emotional Scene", this one would have to make the list. I just think Ricky Gervais is a genius at delivering funny, emotional, and uncomfortable moments, often simultaneously.
So check out this clip, but only if you don’t mind seeing a spoiler, or don’t plan on watching it anyway. Actually, the impact will be far greater if you see this clip set within the entire context of the show, so for that reason, I suggest you try and catch a repeat airing of it on HBO. Here is a page showing the air times over the next week or so.
So watch it. Please. And after you do, and you are wanting to see this scene again, it will be right here waiting for you.