Life's Too Short (TV Series 2011–2013) Poster


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Gervais said it's his funniest work. I concur.
neil-arsenal27 September 2012
Gervais can be annoying. Despite this, I am a fan of almost everything he's done.

The Office was outstanding and Extras wasn't bad either.

I kept seeing a few negative reviews about this and for some reason it passed me by.

Recently, I got the chance to see the series. I wasn't expecting much.

Boy, was I wrong! There are so many laugh out loud moments in this series. Soooooo many. At the end of the day, that's what comedy is Warwick Davis is brilliant in this and shows what a fine actor he really is. He essentially plays a David Brent character in a mockumentary..but really, really well.

Some have criticized the show for being offensive towards smaller people. They just don't get it.

The fact that the main character is little becomes fairly irrelevant. He's just an odious toad! The dumb secretary and the manic depressive accountant are also hilarious characters.

The cringe factor of Gervais' work is always high but this series has a cringe factor through the roof. It can be uncomfortable to watch at times, but you can't take your eyes off it.

I loved it.

A measly 7.7 on here is probably almost as funny as the show.

Watch it and love it.
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Very funny and Warwick Davis is brilliant
UtopianUK25 November 2011
After watching episode 1, I wasn't sure if this was anything special, but episodes 2 & 3 have convinced me that it's excellent. Warwick Davis is a joy to watch.. as he gets himself into crazy, often cringe-worthy situations. He really has a knack for comedy with his expressions and comic timing.

The way it's shot as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, works really well. The scripts are very well-written, so everything flows perfectly, which means it's never anything less than gripping. The celebrity guest appearances are a great idea, with Johnny Depp's scenes being particularly enjoyable.

Overall.. this show feels fresh and full of fun. Sure it's similar to The Office in some ways, but it's much more wacky and amusing. If there's any justice.. it will be a big success. 10/10
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Alan Partridge with Dwarfs
LBSRmcr25 November 2011
This show is one of the funniest on television at this point in time.

Warwick Davies plays Warwick Davies as a pompous, self-centred, grandiose showbiz dwarf who has fallen on hard times. He as well as Gervais and many other famous starts play themselves as very unlikeable characters-similar to extras, yet with no sympathetic main characters and thus no saving grace. This makes the show very much like Alan Partridge- wry and funny in its painfulness.

The only sympathetic characters in the show are the dwarfs that are in Warwick Davis' (halfhearted) care, yet they are juxtaposed with carnival-esque clownery slapstick as we don't see on television as it is politically incorrect.

This is one of the first shows to give dwarfs a satirical role on prime time television where they are not just used as props, but as people as part of a larger context of society. The show is a lot smarter than given credit for.
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placebotonic6 March 2012
It is said the comedy is only funny if the character doesn't "know" he's in a comedy, and Warwick is taking his life really seriously. Utterly desperate for attention, of any kind, he's getting through from day to day, actually broke but pretending to be well off. His "fame" is far in the past, he's out of work, nobody really wants anything to do with him, but he doesn't give up. He's trying to present himself as an important celebrity, or a successful womanizer, but his constructs fail comically.

While other reviewers see a strong connection with The office, I see none, other than they both belong to the same genre. The scripting and the idea of the show are original. Funnier than The office too.
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Good hearted fun
biXen21 November 2011
I find Life's Too short to be a funny and quirky mockumentary following Warwick around showing us his (not so) glamorous life as an agent for other little people. It seems to me that many English viewers are a bit biased about Gervais, but if you like his other series you'll like this.

Much of the fun revolves around Ricky's office and there's cameos as usual, including Liam Neeson, Carrel, Depp and more. I've watched the episodes a few times to really take them in, and I'd say it grows on me too. Warwick's parody of himself and the comedy Gervais and Merchant add makes him likable and funny. Most of the fun is based on the fact that he's trying hard to present his business and himself as a little person as more glamorous then it is, but then it's apparent to viewers that it's not. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, that's what the comedy is about here.

I think other reviewers show they don't pay attention when they say it's cheap or lazy comedy, and criticize Warwick falling off his heightening phone books and out of the car, it comes right after he narrates that he wants to show viewers that he's a classy guy, and that's just funny. Simple, but funny.
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Surprisingly average series from the Midas hands of Gervais and Merchant
Christopher Bird29 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Life's Too Short is the new BBC/HBO television series from the comedy maestro's Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

The pair hark back to their 'mockumentary' roots in this new series, whilst blending it with elements of Extras. Gervais (normally a prominent figure), takes a back seat role as the reigns are handed over to Warwick Davis, playing a twisted version of himself. The series plot follows Davis (a former film-star Dwarf) through his life as he struggles to juggle work with his personal life. We see him go through a divorce, struggle to find work, and fail in keeping his 'dwarfs for hire' agency afloat. Gervais and Merchant make cameo appearances in each episode, alongside more of Gervais's new found Hollywood friends.

The hype surrounding this new series may have considerably hindered its eventual impact. Admittedly, my own anticipation and expectations may also have distorted any purely objective view. However, having read many journalistic reviews; I am certainly not alone in my disappointment.

Warwick Davis is a decent actor. However, unfortunately, he fails in carrying the series. His character is a (excuse the pun), mini David Brent. Not only is the character a blatant rehash; but it is also one of the most detrimental factors to the series, as Davis just isn't as funny.

The series failings are certainly not all down to Davis and his performance. The writing is considerably weaker. I lost count of the amount of times the 'Dwarf falls over' visual gag was used. It was mildly amusing the first time, and greeted with silence by the fourth or fifth time.

Davis's constant glances of desperation into the camera fail to capture the essence of Oliver Hardy and Tim Canterbury. This is mainly because, for example; Tim was the 'peoples' character. He represented the normal man. He was rational, funny, and a decent person (in direct comparison to the likes of Brent, Gareth, and 'Finchy'). Davis's character is not this. He is delusional, arrogant, and selfish. In fact, he isn't a likable individual at all (as well as almost every other character in this series). The series lacked scenes in which we could affectively sympathise with Davis. The connection between himself and the audience isn't firmly established because of this. It is another example of how the writing comes short.

The series also boasts an example of a cameo failure. The brief appearance of Steve Carrell (via online video link) crashes and burns. Even the appearances of the much loved Barry and Cheggars (Shaun Williamson and Keith Chegwin), fail to capture the imagination. The series suffers from thematic tiredness. The use of social angst and embarrassment is almost wrung dry.

Highlights of the series include: Liam Neeson's cameo, Johnny Depp's extensive cameo, Davis's accountant (played by the ever reliable Steve Brody), and the final episode. The final episode (featuring Sting amongst others) is the best of the six. It is funnier, and boasts the best narrative pacing of the series. I felt that many of the previous episodes were noticeably disjointed.

I have briefly run through some of the reasons Life's Too Short disappoints. It could be examined further but I'd prefer to leave that to the professionals and to evade any looming sense of boredom within this piece.

The true downfall of the series is the lack of laughter it creates. A comedy is understandably judged on its laugh factor, and unfortunately, I rarely found myself laughing out loud at this series (in stark contrast to The Office and Extras). A surprisingly average offering from the Midas hands of Gervais and Merchant.
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A little gem big on laughs
slavewire26 February 2012
First off, I don't understand why some people are criticising this as being in the same style as The Office and Extras, rehashing old jokes and concepts. So what? Both shows were funny and this is even funnier. What's more, this show is missing the pathos the previous shows had, which reserved some space for us to empathise with some of the characters, and in doing so, slowed the shows down a bit at times. Not a bad thing, by any means, but in Life's Too Short we're offered one great comedy scene after another, with a lovable character who's more than happy to make us laugh at his expense and pulling no punches with the material he's given to work with.

The fact that the show guest stars other various celebrities 'playing themselves' (as in Extras), is an aspect that's always welcome to watch. But what's more important of this type of show, is not just the exceptional writing and cringe worthy situations the characters find themselves in, but the facial expressions and comic timing of every character. And when that's done right, as it is here, then I wouldn't mind seeing this kind of comedy rehashed over and over - for some jokes just never get old.
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It's just not funny!
raymisalas130 November 2011
I've been a fan of most of the comedy Ricky Gervais has done, but also because everything has come from what he knows and has experienced. His stand up is brilliant... anyway about the show: It's just not funny. Why does Warwick Davis have to act like a mini David Brent? Many people have said this, but they say it because everyone has noticed, except the Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant. And WHY OH WHY! Do they have to resort to using a cliché stupid blond girl character. They done it in extras, so why do it again. Did they really think "right everything we have made so far has been funny so lets make it again!" and why has someone compared this to Alan Partridge??! This has no depth and all the jokes are easy and revolve around making fun of the fact Warwick's character is short. OK, so it's going to do this as it is about the fact he is short, but it's just too easy. The best parts have actually been the scenes in Ricky's office and the other famous actors. There has only been a few episodes, but they seem to be doing the same thing and that blond girl is already doing my head in with her stupid moronic comments and using the cheap cringe worthy laughs to make Warwick look stupid. The last thing I will say is that with this program they have tried to make it into a mock documentary of Warwick's day to day life, so why are they using known actors that have either already been in previous shows made by Ricky Gervais or have been in other comedy programs. They should be using unknowns like in the Office and extras! This could make it more believable!
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A washed-up version of Gervais's previous shows. Warwick basically plays David Brent.
Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)23 February 2012
I would tend to agree with criticism that Gervais and Merchant seemed to have written and directed this "on automatic pilot". There is little evidence of any real effort.

First of all, there is the issue of originality; I am mainly referring to cloned characters, an unfortunate decision on the part of Gervais/Merchant. While LTS may seem original at first glance, what with a dwarf actor playing himself as the main character, it isn't. The show is basically an amalgamation of "The Office" and "Extras", totally derivative hence quite predictable.

Warwick, playing an egocentric attention-seeking head of a small company, is – give-or-take a few things – essentially a dwarf version of David Brent; he is always focused on what the camera is doing i.e. on how he will look to the viewers later, he gives the camera those awkward looks of embarrassment, he gets into the same kind of cringe-worthy situations as Brent, etc. His ditsy secretary, whose stupidity constantly puts him on the spot in front of other people, is basically the Scottish gal from "Extras". The running joke in "Extras" was Ashley revealing secret/embarrassing information about Gervais at the worst possible moments: the secretary does the exact same thing to Warwick, and stupidly enough he never even admonishes her for it, let alone fires her. Warwick's accountant is almost a replica of Merchant's incompetent agent from "Extras"; totally useless, lazy, and unmotivated, but quick to put the blame on Warwick. It's all quite familiar, in fact far too familiar.

As a result, LTS keeps bringing up the same sort of situations we've already seen dozens of times in the two previous Gervais/Merchant sitcoms. Unlike these two, however, you will very rarely find a laugh-out-loud moment in LTS. In the defense of the show, though, the episodes are usually interesting throughout, if nothing else, and Gervais's appearances save the series from sinking into total mediocrity.

Which brings me to another problem. Warwick is vaguely likable, but he isn't a good enough comedian by a long shot to carry a whole series, which is why every appearance by Gervais comes as much-needed comic relief. During those scenes, LTS's quality level rises – but the moment Gervais exists, it drops again.

There are other reasons LTS doesn't work that well. For one thing, the whole mockumentary genre has been almost bled dry by now. Christopher Guest ("Spinal Tap", "Waiting For Guffman", "For Your Consideration" etc.) and Gervais/Merchant had already done this, not to mention a plethora of "The Office" spin-offs around the world, and many other lesser comedies that were made in this fashion, diluting the mockumentary format in the process and making it decreasingly appealing. When "This Is Spinal Tap" came out, back in 1982, it was a totally new type of comedy, very fresh and hilarious. 30 years later, and I don't get particularly excited about anything new mockumentary-wise.

But this aspect isn't as detrimental to the series as this flawed conception: both Warwick's character and the situations in LTS are too exaggerated. Less is more when it comes to mockumentaries, I would have thought Gervais would at least know this. You can't have broad-comedy situations within a "reserved" mockumentary setting. For example, Warwick's speech at the wedding; it is so over-the-top absurd that it belongs more in some idiotic, buffoonerish Stiller/Owen/Ferrell comedy than in a mockumentary which is supposed to be more low-key, subtle rather than ape-ish, clever rather than in-your-face. Warwick delivers a speech so extreme that it loses all credibility in the way it relates to the real world – and a mockumentary simply doesn't work unless its events and characters remain plausible, firmly grounded in reality. It is the mockumentary's strong connection to reality that makes the goings-on in it funny. Once that element of credibility is lost, the gags too are as good as lost.

The series hits its absolute low point in episode 6. Almost nothing works. That whole party segment contains all of the problems I'd mentioned above: the situations are predictable, the characters unrealistic, Gervais isn't present, the gags are too exaggerated, Warwick makes decisions that are out-and-out retarded hence unfunny. Even worse is the fight between Warwick and his accountant, earlier on in the same episode, when the two face Warwick's ex-wife and her solicitor. This scene was embarrassing to watch; moronic and unfunny to the core. The accountant's infantile behaviour made absolutely zero sense. If Warwick had sneaked him out of a psyche ward a day earlier, then perhaps it would have worked.

Nearly all the highlights are with Gervais and Merchant. The scene with Steve Carrell is a rare stand-out. One of the few highlights with Warwick is his visit to the Scientologists. I commend the writers for having the balls to make fun of this "church", because most (comedy) writers wouldn't have had the guts to even entertain such a thought. The only other funny scenes with Warwick are when he trips over a banana peel and when he falls out of the car. (Telling.) I would also commend the team for the casting of Warwick's moronic secretary; this girl can't act to save her life (the daughter of a successful fashion designer, i.e. yet another nepotist) but her appearance and dumb lobotomized facial expression are unique.

The celebrity appearances are problematic. This shtick usually didn't work in "Extras", and works even less frequently in LTS. Helena Bonham Carter, the nepotistic funny-looking little gnome, is a vastly overrated actress, let alone a comedienne; no wonder that episode didn't work. She was just as bad as Daniel Radcliffe (yet another nepotist; yes, it's an epidemic) was in "Extras". Stick an unfunny person in a poorly written part, and the results are nothing less than atrocious.

"The Making Of" is funnier and more entertaining. That's a warning right there.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, if you lose one more kilo, your face will start looking perfectly square-shaped. Another warning.
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Not too bad. Not too great. Just good.
Adam Daly24 July 2012
In writing this review, I think it is only fair to remove any influence that successes such as The Office, Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad may contribute towards it. I find that in doing so, I may avoid the typically predictable droning about it 'being better or worse that his last show'. I find that argument boring and it's narrowing both the potential comparative and the viewers focus when watching.

So, with my 'Gervais' hat now removed, here is my review for 'Life's Too Short', the new mock-umentary from Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais.

Gervais cited a number of ideas that had influenced the making of this show. With an influx of those awful, 'look at me' celebrity documentary things in which a television crew follows one, or a number of deranged, fame hungry socialites doing nothing other than sleeping with each other and shopping for new Ugg Boots and push-up bras.

In Warwick Davies, we have the protagonist, albeit an unlikeable one. Desperate to cling on to fame's back side, he invites a 'film crew' to follow him around, heightening his celebrity status at every opportunity. Much like those awful celebrity docu-soaps, Warwick yearns for all and any publicity, hoping blindly that living his life like an open wound would somehow benefit his career. Only...Warwick is a dwarf actor looking to pay a huge tax bill.

He continually annoys Gervais and Merchant, who both play themselves as conduits to Warwick's celebrity life. Warwick seeks their help in finding his way to higher pastures but is continually berated and mocked, mostly for his size. All in all there is an abundance of misfortune in this man's life, and we're party to all of it.

As you'd expect, there is an abundance of 'short jokes' in this. The casual observer would possibly assume a level of discrimination in doing this, feeling Warwick is somewhat exploited. But that could not be further from the truth. Although we see Warwick's immense difficulty with his stature, it is his small mindedness that we are most amused by. Where some might think forcing a dwarf down the toilet is immoral and wrong, others look at his reasons for agreeing this - trying in vain to impress Johnny Depp. Where some might see his hilarious scaling of a bookshelf and think it is somewhat derogatory, others might point out his ridiculous pride in saving face so not to give his ex-wife's new partner the upper hand. These moments are aptly portrayed in such a way as to mock only Warwick's personality and not his disability. This is a 'small man' in mind alone. He is petty, vain, desperate, small minded and arrogant. He is a small 'Alan Partridge' with the same delusions of grandeur that made Alan such fun to watch.

Most of Life's Too Short is familiar to fans of Gervais. His touch is evidently there, and the overall show is stylistically more similar to The Office as oppose to anything else. The physical comedy is done brilliantly and Warwick has such a commanding grasp on this realm. Yet there is too much missing from the show. The writing is just not funny enough. The incredibly funny parts, such as Liam Neeson's scene are too few and far between. I dare say it, but there is too little of Gervais and Merchant. And once more, Barry, Cheggers and Les Dennis are back to provide the odd laugh inbetween, proving the show needed additional comedy from somewhere. Other than Warwick, nothing stood out. Gone are the level of characters such as Tim, Gareth, Darren Lamb, Barry (who we see too little of), Dawn and the lovable Maggie. Finding incredible characters and creating interesting and brilliant people to play them is what Gervais and Merchant have done brilliantly. Yet there's nothing too special here. It's as though they narrowed their view solely to Warwick and forgot about the outer world he'll exist in.

But still, with my Gervais hat still gone, I will review this show on its merits. Ultimately it is very funny in parts. Watching Warwick scale that bookcase had me in tears. Liam Neeson's bit was one of the greatest scenes the guys have written and the whole idea behind the show is still strong. I enjoyed watching Life's Too Short and it was in no way a bad show. The current viewer rating on IMDb is 7.8/10, a little generous for my liking. If I could be more specific, I'd give the show a 7.4/10...or 74/100...or 74%...whatever works.

All in all - not too bad, not too great. Just good.
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Another Gervais/Merchant Masterpiece
James Danes24 November 2011
A very funny show, as everything Ricky Gervais does, the writing is magnificent and the directing is sublime, some might find it offensive, but if you put another guy there in the same situation, loser with public embarrassing moments, that's what he did on Extras, it is the same kind of humor.

Warwick Davis is excellent, he has the timing and the face of humor, but the writing is what really helps here, this show will make you roll on the floor if you like dark humor, don't expect a show like the office, it's not, Ricky Gervais was right when he said, this might be his best work so far.
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Giving the people what they want...
Howlin Wolf14 November 2011
I agree with anybody who would say that it's similar to stuff Gervais has done before, but I don't see why people should complain about that? If he did another series of "The Office" or "Extras", then almost nobody would be saying that he should move onto something different... Well, effectively he HAS given us all another series of those things, it's just under a different name.

Ricky obviously has subjects and themes that he thinks are funny. If people agree with him, then there's no reason why they shouldn't appreciate this, but if they don't, then they won't.

Basically, if you are someone who thinks his other work should've had more episodes, then it doesn't make sense to moan about this being similar.

It's the same thing, albeit mildly diluted... but wouldn't you rather have something in the same vein that's just a little bit less funny, than something totally new, which doesn't work at all?!

Saying it isn't 'risky' is not the same thing as saying that it doesn't raise laughs. No, it isn't risky, but if you like this sort of thing, then yes, it will amuse.
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The funniest show on TV
Matt156712 March 2012
I have to admit when I first started watching coming attractions of this show I wasn't sure what to make of it but after four episodes I am now convinced this is the funniest show on television. I was out one night with a group of friends and we had gone out for a fun time and we all came back at about 2:00am and we decided to watch something on "HBO on demand." We decided to check out "Life's Too Short." We watched one episode after another after another. I have never laughed so hard in my life! We were all dying!! It turned out to be the best night of the weekend. Warwick Davis (star of Willow, Leprechaun, and Ray) turned out to be a great comic actor. I couldn't believe how funny the show was and the situations Davis had got himself into. His secretary is equally funny. His secretary talks very slowly and in an episode after she (his secretary) explained something to him, Davis replied, "Well that took longer than an episode of Columbo." ROFL! Ricky Gervais is a comic genius as he makes fun of dwarfs, the mentally challenged, and just about everyone else in this TV series! It isn't in some people's taste but it really is all in good fun. I give the series ten stars out of ten. It is the best thing on television. Thank you Ricky Gervais!
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i am disappoint
soevik198325 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
( my first language isn't English )

First i have to say that extras and the office are my all time favourite comedy shows and i also like Ricky's stand-ups , the podcasts etc.

but I've read some of the reviews and i cant help to agree with the general sentiment.

  • It lacks a story, thats my main complaint. Yes Warrick is loosing money and his wife is leaving but somehow i just don't get emotionally involved in any way shape or form and think that is because ( as many have stated ) Warrick'scharacter as Warrick seems fake.

  • The scenes with Ricky&Steve are by far the funniest of the show , not including Warrick in the bin LOL , but are just forced into the show and storyline in a way that gets annoying and makes me think " why didn't they just do extras season 3 " .

  • The midget jokes , oh good god the midget jokes. There's a billion of them in each episode.

  • it seems to be to shows at once , ricky&steve's celeb chat and Warricks life. And the stories are forced together

  • Warricks accountant is the worst character in the show. A bad copy of Darren Lamb. Hes so bad its near slapstick

positive things :

  • its better than most out there - Warricks assistant is brilliant
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Poor at best
angusmcc9 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was expecting so much more. Ricky's previous fly on wall Extras was great, now introduce the small person, who played his part well. It was a sad sitcom, God Bless them for trying, The whole idea was flawed, see a cynical look into the hidden camera jokes were stale. I watched for the stars, Not a good start. Just poor in all ways, is a an allegory of all xxx-ism and bias? No, just a badly acted out script. 0/10 for writing and direction, 10/10 for Warwick doing his best. You can better than this. and I watched it with my mum (74) and the C<>t word was used. And I cringed. Never watched a TV comedy with that particular word. In It's context, did even work, just gratuitous . My God, if this if the future of comedy, I despair. I love swearing, don't get me wrong, but c<>t was not needed, i guess Gervais has a right now...he's a Brit export. "Shut up, Ricky and call your' mum a c<>t to her face". and he probably would. Oh my bah is over Ricky get back to why you made us laugh. and don't buy the box set of "Life is too short"
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Warwick is great, the show is not
hoplite106 March 2012
From someone who grew up watching "Willow", it was really cool to see Warwick Davis flex his comedy muscles for this show. He has an excellent flair for the comedic, especially when it comes to poking fun at himself, and he definitely has the charisma to carry a TV show. This particular show, however, is not very good, despite Mr. Davis' best efforts to make it entertaining.

The main problem is the creative minds behind the show, Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant, who have more or less proved with this show that they are incapable of creating anything except for poor re-hashes of "The Office." The Office was brilliant, Extras was okay but mostly a recycled version of The Office set in Hollywood, and this show is basically a thought experiment about what it would be like if David Brent was a dwarf actor instead of a manager at a paper company. This was my first and strongest impression upon watching an episode of "Life's Too Short" -- that they had basically taken the character of David Brent and transposed him onto Warwick Davis. Just like Brent, Warwick is depicted as arrogant, self-obsessed, and cluelessly believing himself to be talented at everything he does. And also just like Brent, the main source of humor is seeing him constantly put in situations that demean him and demonstrate how pathetic he really is. This schtick has been done and re-done countless times, and unfortunately it feels stale and forced in this particular show.

There are some pretty clever bits in the show, and I think it would definitely have been worth watching if it had been made prior to "The Office" and "Extras". Unfortunately, it was not, and therefore we are seeing pretty much exactly the same type of jokes that we saw in those shows, only this time they are wearisome because we've seen them done much better before. I get the feeling that since Ricky and Steve are so rich now, they no longer feel they need to make shows that will entertain people. They have reached the point where they are making shows solely for their own entertainment, and they couldn't care less whether their fans like it or not.
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A Series too long
seanandfreddy18 December 2011
The show is just not funny.

It tries to be The Office with Dwarfs but is not successful as you will be slightly grinning at its jokes. Warwick Davis does a particularly horrible job as he tries his best David Brent impression. Gervais and Merchant show up in each episode to make you remember that this is their show. As they show up so do other celebrities and only one so far has been funny, a good reason to watch the first episode is to see the fantastic Liam Neeson moment which almost gives me hope for the rest of the show.

The plot is awful as each episode feels disjointed and will make your face fall to your hands as you don't want to laugh or watch with such awkward moments.

If this is the natural evolution of Gervais's writing then his next show will be flat out awful. The Office was a classic that will be loved forever. Extras was hilarious and should not be missed. However Life's To Short is a bad taste in your mouth that Gervais should be happy to deny.
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Curb Your Dwarfism
Shawn Watson24 December 2011
You hear that? It's the sound of a barrel's bottom being scraped. Ricky and Steve are not just out of ideas, they're plagiarizing efforts by better writers as well as their own past successes.

Warwick Davis stars as himself in a mockumentary of his daily life, which includes ritual humiliations and an endless downward spiral. It's grim, ugly, unpleasant, depressing, morbid, and thoroughly repugnant stuff. The writing and production of this show is a career low and a massive misjudgement.

The main 'inspiration' is, no doubt, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Ricky Gervais adores Larry David to the point of obsession. But what he and Steve utterly fail to realize is that Curb is populated with complex, layered characters. Larry is a jerk, but he's kind and fair. Jeff is a cheating slob, but he'll do anything for Larry. Susie is witch, but she's loyal and forgiving.

There is not a SINGLE likable character in Life's Too Short. Each and every one of them is featured for the sole purpose of creating awkward situations regardless of logic, reason, or common sense. Why doesn't Warwick fire these people? Why doesn't he distance himself from those that make his life even worse? The lazy accountant is a poor facsimile of Merchant's Darren Lamb character from Extras (itself a rip-off or Curb). The Cheryl character (a name stolen from Curb) is a carbon copy of Maggie. There's nothing original here at all.

Ricky needs to worm his way out of Larry David's rear-end and come up with something new, dynamic and innovative if he and Merchant don't want to be regarded as one-trick ponies. Life's Too Short is derivative and joyless. No amount of tacked-on celebrity cameos can make something like this worthwhile.
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Lazy and unoriginal
film-expert20 December 2011
Yes, there were high expectations. We hoped that, although unlikely that Gervais and Merchant would match their previous excellence, at least the same effort would have been applied in creating something original and funny. An effort worthy of their previous perfection.

What did we get? Warwick Davis doing a David Brent impression, to a rehashed Extras-style i.e. unoriginal script.

If we had never seen The Office or Extras before, then yes, this would have been a very funny show. However, the very reason we loved The Office and Extras was the fact we had NOT seen them before!

Ricky and Steve took months writing just one episode of The Office... and it showed. The fact that Life's Too Short was written rapidly and badly by comparison, from a position of 'lazy success' really lowers the respect level demanded by Gervais and Merchant. It seems Ricky and Steve are either great at spending their time writing a show, or spending their time as 'celebrities'. Unfortunately when they try to spend their time doing both, it is the show that suffers.

Ricky is moving in showbiz circles now, Tweeting, sticking to his diet, trying to impress Dawkins, Hitchens (RIP), Larry David, De Niro, etc, etc, etc. No wonder he doesn't have any time to devote to actually writing a good show.

We should have seen the writing on the wall when The Invention of Lying came out. After that movie, Science stand-up and this 'effort' of a show, it is time for Ricky to ease back on the smug attitude until he actually does something worthwhile again.

Oh and by the way Ricky fans... I hope you have gone back to watch all of the Alan Partridge shows to see if the allegations of Ricky ripping off Steve Coogan are true? Do it. And be amazed at home many times you will say... "Jesus, Ricky directly copied that idea/gesture/concept/expression/joke (Camp David?)/show".
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Good, not great.
matthewfarmerfarmer126 November 2011
Life's too short is basically an amalgamation of both "The Office" and "Extras" but sadly not as good as either. That's not to say it isn't good.

There are some underlying problems, one being the character Warwick Davis. This isn't going to be a scathing attack on his capabilities as an actor because I believe his performance is really quite good. However, the character seems to similar to David Brent and Ricky Gervais' portrayal of that character is incomparable. The fault is not with Davis but with the writing. The only thing missing is the ability for the viewer to sympathise with Davis, there is enough to sympathise with his situation (divorce, career down hill) but not with the character, because all you really see are his superficial or self empathising tendencies.

Some of the press reviews have been extremely unfair and seem to have drastically missed the point in terms of where the humour lies. In my view the humour lies in the absurd nature of the people Warwick meets; examples being Depp placing him in a toilet and H B Carter putting him in a bin as if they believe this is acceptable behaviour.

All in all it appears to be getting stronger episode by episode and there are usually a few hilarious scenes in each that make it worth watching.
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More hit than miss
Ann Kittenplan3 December 2011
As the only person in the Universe who thinks both:

a) The Office was not funny and b) Extras was better

I came to this after several negative reviews not expecting much but I had heard Ricky Gervais on Danny Baker and he was:

a) a really nice guy and b) very proud of the series

So eventually I got round to watching it on the iPlayer.

Basically, as everyone seems to be saying, it's similar to, OK the same as, his other work. This is not always a bad thing. When it hits it's spot on, and very very funny, but, because it's the comedy of embarrassment, when it misses it is just embarrassing.

Still, it's well worth the occasional discomfort for the laugh out loud moments.
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Life's Too Short
Jackson Booth-Millard20 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have created some of the most influential and fantastic comedy in the 2000's, including The Office, Extras and The Ricky Gervais Show, and I was really intrigued to see that they would be doing another Mockumentary style show, and I was definitely up for it. Basically this fake observational documentary sitcom series delves into the life of famous dwarf actor Warwick Davis, star of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, Willow and Leprechaun, and his attempts at reviving his career, carrying on with his business ventures, and some of his personal life. This includes trying to end his marriage with wife Sue (Jo Enright) with as little hassle as possible, trying to run his dwarf actors' company, trying to help out at the dwarf support group he is a patron of, and trying to keep stable financially, and throughout the series we see that with his attitude, his lack of enthusiasm for everything, and sometimes his size don't always work to his advantage. Throughout the series he often visits his showbiz friends, that he met in Extras, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for help and advice on stuff, he gets help in the office and sometimes personally from his not always intelligent assistant Cheryl Wilkins (This Is England's Rosamund Hanson), and with his divorce in proceedings he also tries his hand at a new relationship, unknowingly at first with another dwarf, Amy (Kiruna Stamell). Celebrities appearing in the series as themselves included Liam Neeson, Shaun Williamson, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Steve Carell, Right Said Fred's Richard and Fred Fairbrass, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin, Cat Deeley, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sting. Davis gives a really good performance playing the complete opposite to what he is like in real life, the script written by Gervais and Merchant are punchy in many moments, especially in the way they make Davis out to be a bit of a bastard, the celebrity appearances are all fun to watch, and the dialogue and slapstick style visual jokes work well too, I will admit it is not as funny and original as previous works the makers have done, but it is a comedy series worth seeing. Very good!
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Old humour. New angle. Poor presentation.
Borked19 December 2011
Well firstly let me say that perhaps my appreciation of The Office (UK) and Extras has led me to expect something great from Gervais and Merchant, so I may be slightly biased.

Life's Too Short is plain and simple a working comedy formula applied to a slightly different cast. And it does not work.

Actually I can't be bothered continuing. Gervais and Merchant are just milking their successful previous efforts and by adding a 'dwarf' they thought it would somehow be different. It's not. It's a very poor effort.

Not worth watching if you're a fan of Ricky Gervais's work. It detracts from his previous success.
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Warwick Davis as a diluted David Brent-style egomaniac
Leofwine_draca4 January 2012
I love THE OFFICE and am ambivalent towards EXTRAS, so how would I feel about LIFE'S TOO SHORT, Ricky Gervais's latest mockumentary charting the trials and tribulations of dwarf actor Warwick Davis? Having just watched all seven episodes, I'm sorry to say that this is more like EXTRAS than THE OFFICE. It's a predictable series in which the voice, mannerisms and style of David Brent have been ported over entirely to Davis, so that he's in essence a mini-Brent. I love Davis and can't fault his acting, but there's a seen-it-all-before feel to much of the material.

The highlight of each episode is the celebrity cameo, with appearances from both Liam Neeson and Johnny Depp early on really setting the standard. Otherwise, the comedy is fairly nasty and unpleasant, with unlikeable characters interacting with other unlikeable characters and nobody to root for. It's all a bit cynical, and it says something when the best bits are the tiny cameos given to the likes of Shaun Williamson, Keith Chegwin and Les Dennis.

Follow-up: LIFE'S TOO SHORT has concluded with a one-off, hour-long 2013 special which finalises the story. Bizarrely, Davis has an entirely different character now; bored with his previous unpleasant character, he's a reformed guy. Once you get over that, the special is much better than the TV show, wisely focusing on supporting characters (Val Kilmer, Keith Chegwin, Les Dennis & Shaun Williamson) who really zing and supply plenty of genuinely funny comic material. It's a shame that the rest of the show wasn't of the same calibre...
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Barely coherent comedy from a hugely overrated personality
Kalifire24 November 2011
For month prior to this being broadcast, Gervais was busy congratulating himself about this on his marketing reel, sorry, blog. We were told this was the funniest thing he'd done, so expectations were high; this was the man who co-created The Office, after all.

As it turns out, pre-declaring his own brilliance was a misjudgment, because this isn't very good. No, worse than that, this is terrible. It's not that it's offensive (though it tries to be), and it's not that it's badly acted (though nobody is going to win any BAFTAs for this), it's just badly written.

The entire premise is that a documentary crew is filming Warwick Davis, quite inexplicably. That tenuous premise is then stretched beyond breaking point to allow a series of interactions between celebrities and Gervais, and put Davis in a sequence of set-pieces that essentially invite the audience to laugh at a dwarf in compromising situations. There's literally no more to it than that.

Life's Too Short gets the odd chuckle, but by episode three, where we plum the depths of try-hard television by engineering awkward situations for the sake of it, at the expense of any laughter whatsoever, it's clear this has become a car-crash event for the writers. Fortunately for them, they have an army of sycophants who'd rather tell each other that a wheel-bound child being called gay and being unable to get up stairs is HILARIOUS rather than use their discernment to consider that it's not remotely funny; rather just an attempt to raise eyebrows in a distinctly witless fashion.

For the discerning comedy fan who wants to believe that Gervais and Merchant are as good as we all hoped they'd be ten years ago, avoid this like the plague.
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