Extras: Season 2, Episode 7

The Extra Special Series Finale (16 Dec. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Comedy, Drama
9.1
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Andy is unhappy with the fame he has achieved. When a new agent approaches him, Andy fires Darren and quits 'When The Whistle Blows'. Meanwhile, Maggie has hit rock bottom, having given up ... See full summary »

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Andy is unhappy with the fame he has achieved. When a new agent approaches him, Andy fires Darren and quits 'When The Whistle Blows'. Meanwhile, Maggie has hit rock bottom, having given up working as an extra and living in a tiny, dismal flat. Andy however is too self obsessed to notice Maggie's plight. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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Comedy | Drama

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16 December 2007 (USA)  »

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Greg Lindley Jones: I saw you in Doctor Who as a slug. Very convincing.
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References Live and Let Die (1973) See more »

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Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
(uncredited)
Performed by The Smiths
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User Reviews

Extra Special Series Finale: Very sharp at times, too preachy at others but overall clever and engaging
19 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When the Whistle Blows is still drawing in millions on BBC1 but Andy is closer and closer to breaking point. Seeing his rival successful in Hollywood, Andy drops his useless agent and takes up with Tre Cooper, looking for more. Dropping out of his sitcom to pursue more worthy material however may not be the best move and soon Andy is faced with hard decisions about his goals. Meanwhile, with no work as an extra after a run-in with Clive Owen, Maggie settles into menial work and basic living.

Deconstructing Harry. If you're a Woody Allen fan and you've seen it then you'll know why I am referring to it here. In that film I was not only laughing but actively shocked at how personal and aggressive Allen seemed to be towards himself and the theme of the film appeared to be self-loathing. With the last ever episode of Extras, Gervais and Merchant appear to be going for the same thing, using their character to attack the celebrity culture in the UK but also managing to deal with the fact that Andy is wanting the fame just as much as he hates what he has to do to get it. At its best it is a searing watching and quite thrilling with it. Those expecting a lot of laughs will be disappointed though because the special produces sporadic laughs rather than anything consistent. I wasn't overly bothered by this though because to me the focus was rightly on the "message".

I want to say "point" but sadly the main weakness of the special is that it is occasionally does get preachy and surprisingly obvious. For example look at the rather clumsy use of music while the characters struggle with their thoughts or situations in a series of clever shots. It will work if you are totally into the moment but for me it just seemed uninspired and flat where so much of it was sharp and insightful. It is the smart writing that keeps the majority from being preachy and it should be commended for this, even if it is still prone to lapses. The cast is starry but Gervais is the star. He shows he is able to do drama as well as comedy and he is genuinely touching at times and credit to him for allowing the writing to damn him and not leave him to one side. Merchant is left to one side although he is funny and entertaining in his sections, working well with the two Eastenders stars. Talking of them actually I was again surprised by how willing everyone was to send themselves up. George Michael and Clive Owen in particular but more cutting were the Big Brother housemates and Hale & pace. Gordon Ramsey was good value too.

Overall then an impacting conclusion to the series that goes out on a very sharp and engaging high. It isn't hilarious and here and there it gets a bit too obvious and preachy for its own good (particularly coming from a man who is looking down at the problem rather than up at it) but mostly it is cutting and intelligent and a fitting end to the series.


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