Jump to content
IGNORED

After Life - Ricky Gervais


gospvg
 Share

Recommended Posts

I watched series 1 a little while ago, having rewatched Extras and when viewed so closely together (it was actually because I'd also caught The Office film not long before, which made me re-watch Extras in the first place) and, aside from not being a good actor, he plays exactly the same grouchy old man that everybody just has to love on some level at the end, doesn't he? It's true in his films, too (well, the ones I've watched). It almost comes across as a cry for help, this overwhelming desire for him to be liked, even though he knows he's not the most pleasant person to be around, whilst not really caring to try and improve his attitude.

 

Specifically to this, I didn't really enjoy it very much. The enforced sentimentality did nothing for me, it was largely unfunny (unless you enjoy him belittling those he deems 'inferior', along with some c-bombs, which personally didn't) and I never felt his change of behaviour was earned. I don't really remember much of it at all, whereas I can still recall elements of The Office or Extras or Life is Strange. Indeed, for me probably the most touching bit he's done was the Big Brother speech in the Extras Christmas special.

 

Gervais is just not for me anymore I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to keep at the guy, but Series 1 of Extras is passable, and series 2 is profoundly awful. I think from that point on he completely lost it the plot. I remember sitting in the cinema watching The Office film and being saddened that he had presumably ruined his working relationship with Merchant to create this. 

 

When I watch something like It's Always Sunny, I'm never disappointed with just how far they will push it. I'm not easily shocked, but that surprises me with the depths it will plumb. It's acceptable because I know the creators don't mean what they say, but they don't pull back at the end and have someone crying when a dog dies. That to me takes a lot of bravery. Maybe it's unfair to compare this to a sitcom great, but it's not as edgy as he wants to think when it comes to comedy, and not well done enough to be compelling drama. Everything is contrived to make himself look good, and that's been an issue of his for a very long time. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Art Vandelay Your last line is what becomes so readily apparent through every bit of his work, it's not even subtle. Thankfully I didn't pay to watch The Office film at the cinema, but the whole premise relies on the audience laughing at David for being as tone deaf as he ever was but he's also quite petty, spiteful and vindictive but at the end, hey, everybody likes him for <reasons>. Plus it largely wasn't very funny (like The Invention of Lying and the ghost one he did).

 

I'm not how much Merchant can be credited either, given that you didn't think all that much of Extras? I happen to think they just managed to strike gold with The Office but perhaps fell into the trap of thinking that David Brent as a character type was the key to that success (hence the unpleasantness of Andy Milman and Gervais as himself in Life's Too Short - where Merchant may not as well be there. I wonder if that's why the relationship broke down?) Or perhaps that is just who he is and he doesn't have the ability to craft decent characters (none of the original Office gang are particularly well-written or fleshed-out - though I haven't seen Derek which was meant to be okay?) so just writes and plays as himself - the Tom Hanks of TV?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I think Gervais is odd really, there's so many contradictions or things that don't follow a consistency, he ploughs into very specific things without awareness. 

 

Contradictions like being obsessed with niceness now despite him being often unpleasant. He's got a long history of hating anyone overweight or being loud in public spaces, it's in the xfm shows, it's in his standup, it's in the appearance on Room 101 when he went on and on about people being loud like it's the biggest concern in the world. 

 

His character in After Life calls everyone cunts and that isn't the character, that's Gervais. When he's sat in a restaurant looking over his shoulder calling a man a loud fat cunt, we know that's Ricky and not the character, and it's recycling of not just of all of the above but other exactly the same scenes in Extras too. There's loads of recycling in After Life...

 

Contradictions like going on and on after The Office about how hard work brings success when he's become increasingly lazy in his writing, falling back on mawkishness despite dealing with serious subjects, not giving them the insight and thought they deserve. 

 

Gervais wasn't motivated to write After Life to cover grief, people who love the show because they're blinded to it's shitness and clearly if something deals with serious subjects then however bad it is people will respond, After Life and Derek are testament to that. 

 

A recent guardian interview: 

 

Quote

I ask Gervais how After Life came about. “With most things I can remember how I thought of that joke and how it developed,” he says. Already I’m confused – I had assumed that it started with the idea of loss and grief. “So I was on tour in March 2017 with my show Humanity, and I’ve still got that work ethic. I thought, I’m staying in castles and being chauffeur-driven, and I feel guilty about only working an hour a day. So I thought I should write something new.”

 

Gervais is mid-monologue. He doesn’t really allow for interruptions. He just talks till he runs out of steam, then asks what the question was. “Humanity was vaguely about free speech and the world changing. And I thought, ‘Why do we worry about what people say?’ Well, we worry about the consequences. But why do we worry about the consequences? Well, because you want to be popular and you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Well, what if you didn’t care, what if you had nothing to lose? I went, but why would you do that? Well, if you were going to die or nearly died. If you were going to kill yourself, and you didn’t. What could have happened to make you feel that bad? Because you lose the love of your life. Why didn’t you kill yourself? Because the dog was hungry.”

 

And there you have it: the genesis of After Life.

 

Contradictions like using his deliberately contemptible paparazzi scrunched up face and gelled hair over look from his stand up as Derek. That apparently sweet show that's a total car crash before anything happens because Gervais is doing a stupid gurning face. 

 

Contradictions like openly expressing how much he loves dogs all the time even though he's never actually owned a dog. 

 

Contradictions like apparently understanding human behaviour and going on and on about how lame it is that 'people go on X Factor to be instantly famous without any talent or meaning to their desire and it's sad' without ever that I see highlighting social pressures and culture. That X Factor opinion was trite 20 years ago but I've never seen him think bigger, structurally. He's misanthropic in his views, it's ultimately just small scale. 

 

The entirety of Karl Pilkington is him (Karl) realising very early on that Gervais is someone who firmly believes in logic and science and that he can't tolerate other angles. Gervais plays up to it as well and Karl saying stuff can't work without Gervais' energy in his reactions but he's never come across like he's aware that Karl was winding him up, and I always found that arrogant. 

 

Contradictions in the niceness again:

 

Quote

I ask why he rarely gives interviews these days. “I don’t like them. They give me too much anxiety. I’m not in control. I don’t know what you’re going to write. And I only do it so someone who hasn’t heard about After Life will watch the show. If you didn’t write about After Life, this would be fucking pointless. It would only be bad.” He is talking with such venom. I give him a look. “No, no. I don’t mean you. Don’t take it personally, but I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t come to spill my heart out. I’ll read it with anxiety. What’s he said? What’s that come across like?’”

 

I’m thinking about what Gervais said about me not taking his dislike of interviews personally. Actually, it’s hard to take anything he says personally because he doesn’t seem to do personal. There’s been something strange about our meeting, but I can’t quite place what. Only towards the end, when we’ve been talking for more than 90 minutes, does it strike me that he has not used my name once. Nor has he asked what it is. In fact he’s not asked me a single thing. Most interviewees engage on a basic level – where have you come from today, do you like your job, what do you think of this or that? Not Gervais, though. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody less interested in other people.

 

In After Life, Tony expresses his newfound kindness with dramatic gestures. Gervais doesn’t seem to realise kindness is also about little things – learning a name, showing an interest, making people feel they matter, too.

 

yeah anyway season 3 is out isn't it. and it's probably shit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know once my missus sees this high up on the Netflix home screen that she is going to want to drop everything and watch this, but I found Series 2 pointless - the characters other than Gervais' weren't really expanded on, especially Sandy, and they all seemed to like him too.

 

If Paul Kaye isn't in it this time, I'm definitely out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I share a lot of similar thoughts to Loik’s post above, it’s a very absurd show really. 
 

I just binged the entire season 3, it’s got a load of great gags but it really continues to hit you over the head with the show’s  ‘message’, especially during the start and end of EVERY episode.

 

Anyway, over the years I keep coming across people who this series clearly touches on a deeply profound level. It has an audience who find comfort through it. Just the other day actually, I heard someone calling into a radio station talking about grief and they brought up how this series really helped them more than any sort of therapy as they really connect with gervais’s character. For once these people have a show that doesn’t sugar coat the experience of grieving, or something like that.

 

I find it hard to criticize too heavily when it’s clearly got an audience who really connect with it. So I can’t quite bring myself to moan about it. It’s heart is in the right place but yeah I also agree what loik says about regurgitating old material and weird obsessions with mocking loud/overweight/ugly people. 
 

At the very least, there are some great gags and skits here and there.

 

 


 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@CapwnI think that's the thing with the show - it's heart isn't in the right place because it's never meant to have any heart. It's just another vehicle for Gervais to play a horrible person that everybody around just loves still, exactly like every other role he has had. The fact that some people have found something I that resonates within it is a pure accident, I think. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Gabe said:

@CapwnI think that's the thing with the show - it's heart isn't in the right place because it's never meant to have any heart. It's just another vehicle for Gervais to play a horrible person that everybody around just loves still, exactly like every other role he has had. The fact that some people have found something I that resonates within it is a pure accident, I think. 

 

This is it. He's admitted in that interview, the show was not written to explore grief at all. It's purely about being able to get away with saying nasty things and being horrible. I watched a bit of episode 1 of season 3 last night, it was late and I didn't get through it, but immediately yet again he's horrible to his boss. He's not grown as a character at all. When he goes to see someone in the town to listen to a story they've got, and all he has is contempt for them, Gervais wants you to think 'oh he's still angry with the world' but it always comes across as Gervais' contempt for small town stories and the banality of them. An interviewer asked him, a bit miffed; 'it's like you just looked down your contact list and phoned everyone you've ever worked with', and then they take a role where Gervais is a cunt to them, it's weird. The working environment must be fun. 

 

I can't say I really noticed these shows being vehicles for Gervais' narcissism even though it's true because my expectation of Gervais' writing after Derek is so low and the idea of them being realistic...oh right yeah, I guess they should try, The Office was. On the ricky gervais subreddit with big fans of Gervais who genuinely expect quality writing from him still, so many there completely rip into it. On the television subreddit, mostly positive reviews. 'I watched it with my gf and had to cry a few times'. wtf. 

 

There are a few YouTube videos as well, one where the guy said it was his first YouTube video ever because he hated the show so much he couldn't let it go, and that video is like 12 minutes long. Then he did another video for season 2 which is 50 minutes long. 

 

I'm not familiar enough with Gervais/have poor memory so fans are able to go through far more recycling that he does with After Life. Asides, repeated phrases and jokes which you wouldn't think were worthy of being re used but show he's become so rich and lazy he's trapped in his own narrow bubble of thinking with no reason to try. I can't imagine it was hard to get Netflix to commission anything he thought of doing. Honestly imagine he could turn up for a meeting in his dressing gown and before he finishes 'so I'm thinking of doing a show about...' they yell 'we love it! We absolutely love it it, you're a genius and you can do anything you want, here's £20m, if you want to spend £15m of that on yourself, then heh go ahead, you deserve it'. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can’t imagine that it’s an ‘accident’ how it emotionally resonates with people. Regardless of how sickly (for me) his sit downs are with the elderly woman at the graveyard are clearly intentionally written to tug at heartstrings. He’s always cramming emotional aspects into his tv shows. 
 

By the very end he IS a nicer character but still is a bit mean.  He’s often talked about that being his experience with his own family and friends where he’d be ribbing each other but lovingly, I think he is playing into that.

 

I think in his mind, he has written an amazing modern day version of a Christmas Carol with himself playing Scrooge, a book he has brought up as the greatest story ever in podcasts/interviews way before after life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, macosx said:

I like the human stuff in series 3 but there’s some nasty crass,  Chubby Brown stuff in there. The odd touch of it had impact in other two series but just too much in here. 
same shit that happened to Little Britain.


yeah it’s a odd contrast to the message of the show. I think the worst bit in S3 for me was the interview with the swingers couple when they mention ‘there’s even a little Chinese fella’ - again something from his old podcast days.

 

oh god no the interview with the overweight man played by Keith from the office. That felt especially cruel and tacky. Although there was a good gag in there about scraping off the toppings on a pizza to get the most out of an ‘all you can eat buffet’.

 

Arghhhh it’s such a weird show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure Gervais doesn't need my support, or deserve it, but here we go anyway. Yes, I agree, fundamentally, that he has a very narrow writing space and leans heavily on a small set of tropes. But I think trying to build a picture of him and what he's like from bullshit like that newspaper article ("he wasn't interested in me after 90 minutes together" - fuck off with that shit) and reddit is a total waste of time. 10 minute critique videos on Youtube, fucking lol. He's certainly rich, probably doesn't have to work again and can afford to put less effort into getting stuff produced than unknown creators. he may also hate fat and loud people. I don't know, nor do I especially care as 90% of stuff written about celebrities on the internet is shit. I'd judge him on what he does and what he generates. And, quite honestly, if his only contribution to humanity were the Golden Globe speeches (which seem remarkably ahead of their time now) then I'm good with that. 

 

After Life specifically I find quite interesting. It is odd, and the cruelty, whether intentional or not lends it a tone unlike other stuff. It's not Fleabag levels of crackling intensity, but I do like fact that it isn't neat. Because grief isn't neat. And whether Gervais intended to write about grief, or a dog (or just write a script with a lot of calling people cunts in), I think the reason it is so popular is because it has a messyness to it that real life does. People are cunts to one another, sometimes for no reason. People are crass. There aren't really arcs in real life, just shit happening and life meandering on. I don't even think the show has much of a coherent message - and whether by design or luck that too lends a certain reality and texture to it. It has sentimentality, random jokes, some good some bad, recycled tropes and weirdness. It's lazily written, perhaps, but I think it largely works because of it. And that's why it's fine, I guess. And it is undeniably popular - while Gervais has an audience you don't get as many people watching something like After Life in a democratised media space like Netflix with a million other things to watch unless it has something going for it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Capwn said:

I can’t imagine that it’s an ‘accident’ how it emotionally resonates with people. Regardless of how sickly (for me) his sit downs are with the elderly woman at the graveyard are clearly intentionally written to tug at heartstrings. He’s always cramming emotional aspects into his tv shows.

To clarify, I'm sure there are some bits that are written to hit people in the feels, but it's still just used as a vehicle to make you love Gervais - the man, not the character he plays - a bit more.

 

I think he's said numerous times that he doesn't care about and being liked, but his entire body of work suggests that really isn't true. All his films, TV shows - he just has to be loved no matter how awful to people he is. 

 

He's not even a good actor. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Gabe said:

To clarify, I'm sure there are some bits that are written to hit people in the feels, but it's still just used as a vehicle to make you love Gervais - the man, not the character he plays - a bit more.

 

I think he's said numerous times that he doesn't care about and being liked, but his entire body of work suggests that really isn't true. All his films, TV shows - he just has to be loved no matter how awful to people he is. 

 

He's not even a good actor. 

 

And this post screams you desperately want to do a psychology degree. I mean, it's easy to compartmentalise him as desperate for love and fucked up in some way, but I don't think either of us know him well enough to judge, nor do either of us know how fucked up he is respective to us. Point me out a comedian who isn't fucked up in some way. Considering the insane success he's had, he seems about as relatively grounded as anyone, and does seem to be able to write stuff that isn't like a Wembley arena stand up doing a routine on 5 star hotels or eating lobster for every meal in a day. You could equally turn your post around and ask you whether you feel threatened and resentful of his success and why that might be.

 

But then if you're into that shit I'd recommend watching Couples Therapy on iPlayer if you're craving some real drama. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ricky Gervais appeal is pretty easy to work out. He appeals to fundamentally nasty people who wish they could go around acting like a prick to other people without getting a punch in the face, and to somehow be popular because of it.

 

That’s his ‘comedy’, and it resonates with people like him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, cavalcade said:

 

And this post screams you desperately want to do a psychology degree. I mean, it's easy to compartmentalise him as desperate for love and fucked up in some way, but I don't think either of us know him well enough to judge, nor do either of us know how fucked up he is respective to us. Point me out a comedian who isn't fucked up in some way. Considering the insane success he's had, he seems about as relatively grounded as anyone, and does seem to be able to write stuff that isn't like a Wembley arena stand up doing a routine on 5 star hotels or eating lobster for every meal in a day. You could equally turn your post around and ask you whether you feel threatened and resentful of his success and why that might be.

Neither of us do know him, that's true, and some artists are detached from their work whereas some *are* their work - and we don't k ow enough to say either. So yes, I get the impression he needs to feel loved in everything he does. That may be close to truth or nowhere near it, I guess it doesn't matter (to me, to him, to you).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Gabe said:

@CapwnI think that's the thing with the show - it's heart isn't in the right place because it's never meant to have any heart. It's just another vehicle for Gervais to play a horrible person that everybody around just loves still, exactly like every other role he has had. The fact that some people have found something I that resonates within it is a pure accident, I think. 

 

No accident. Gervais is a creep who has found a stealthy way to sneak his horrible, bigoted worldview into a show by using the characters grief as a kind of a "I kid, folks. I'm a nice guuuy" shield to protect him. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn’t mind the first season of this, thought it was quite sweet and I hadn’t jumped on the Gervais hate train. 
 

Didn’t really get on with the second season, felt like was milking the pain and the nastiness was turned up a notch. This third season is just unwatchable. The scenes in the cafe with the baby and the one in the pub just made me angry. Won’t be watching any more. 

Couple more things, ‘Cunt’ should always be used sparingly, used only to emphasise true hatred. He’s overused it way too much here. The other main thing that’s always baffled me is how he could have loved such an irritating woman so much. The relationship depicted in the home movies is one of a pair of deeply annoying cunts. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

So many armchair psychologists in this thread it's hilarious. Which is more than you can say of most scenes in After Life. 

 

Is that what people call others who criticise now, 'armchair psychologists'. The ultimate diss, go away, get a degree in it, then come back. Armchair psychologists, redditers, youtubers, scum really. Or just people looking into something. Everything I've read from people, like fans who still care, has been spot on. I mean people making images is weird but this is all correct and actually the image is pretty funny: 

 

Screenshot_20220115-233937_Reddit.thumb.jpg.b991ffd7fac56355b7cc06ed136b0eb0.jpg

 

There are few people on Earth as exposed as Ricky Gervais when you take into account the 20 years worth of stuff, the hours of xfm shows and podcasts, his stand up, his tv work, Brent, his many many interviews where he goes on about people eating loudly or atheism, all the stuff he's told about his upbringing and personal life, from his failed pop career to not having kids and being devoted to his wife (the show is half 'lets set it up so I can be horrible' and 'what would life be like without my partner'), his awards presenting, his film writing, his solo writing and acting, his decade of tweeting and preaching and what he picks out as important, what he cares about, I mean there is a lot there. It's hardly like extrapolating from nothing, it's literally all there. I always feel like I say obvious stuff to present some kind of argument, like a reminder, we all know how much he's done in the last 20 years, does it need to be laid out really?

 

Why can't detractors in this thread just admit, 'I sort of like Ricky really, and can't bear all these unfounded attacks like people are supposing he should be burned alive'.

 

Just reading his wikipedia he apparently endorsed Corbyn in 2017 so he could make another 10 crap shows for Netflix and he'd be alright to me, although 'OK. I'm not telling you how to vote, but this is a fact. The only vote that will keep Theresa May out is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn' still seems like he's coming from a position of just hating May more.

 

I don't care really, long posts are explained by rllmuk being a way to procrastinate badly, I don’t expect anyone 20 years into writing and performing to have fresh new great ideas. All the things he mocked though in Extras with When the Whistle Blows being lazy comedy he's doing now. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.