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Extras and postmodernism

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  • 1. Extras...
    and postmodernism...
  • 2. Extras...
    Extras is a British sitcom about extras working on film sets and in theatre
    Created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, both of whom also star in it
    Extras charts the lives of Andy Millman, his friend Maggie Jacobs and Andy's substandard agent and part-time Carphone Warehouse employee Darren Lamb, as Millman rises to fame
    UK and US co-production – BBC and HBO. Would HBO have funded it without the ‘stars’?
  • 3. Extras...
    The series is filmed in a more traditional sitcom style than the mockumentary style used by Gervais and Merchant in their previous series The Office.
    Each episode has at least one guest star; a television or film celebrity, who play what Gervais and Merchant have referred to as "twisted" versions of themselves; an exaggerated or inverted parody of their famous public personas.
  • 4. Extras...
    Can be seen as postmodern in the way that it deconstructs itself – a situation comedy about an extra who becomes a sit-com writer and star. It deliberately confuses, for comic and satirical effect, the line between Gervais the writer and comedian and his on-screen character
    Creates the ultimate state of hyper-reality?
  • 5. Extras...
    It also seeks to comment on the postmodern media landscape of the 21stcentury - that of a celebrity obsessed culture
    Also that a ‘lowest common denominator’ / bad taste sitcom can be so popular. A “shitcom”
  • 6. Extras...
    Series 1 Episode 1 - ‘Ben Stiller’
    Andy and Maggie are playing extras in the film Ben Stiller is directing, which is based on the life of Goran, an Eastern European man whose wife and son were killed in the Balkans War. Andy attempts to get a speaking part by befriending Goran, who eventually gets Andy a spoken line. However, Andy gets in an argument with Stiller just before shooting his scene and is kicked off the set. Maggie, meanwhile, takes an interest in one of the crew but it goes wrong after Andy points out that her would-be beau has one leg shorter than the other. 
  • 7. Extras...
    Embarrassing sycophantic nature of Millman in bar scene. Doing anything to get ahead. Buying champagne for producer. Lying about his knowledge of films.
    Andy Millman essentially bribes (vouchers) Goran for a line. Lying by telling him he had agreed to it when crying over his dead wife.
  • 8. Extras...
    Draws attention to the vacuous and arrogant nature of celebrities and stars – scene in the bar – the producer will only talk to the ‘right’ people.
    Ben Stiller and his uncomfortable on-set outburst ...”who cares about your fucking dead wife!”
    Tales a ‘lowly’ extra (Maggie) to pull him up on his appalling behaviour – do celebs know how to act? Inflated sense of their own self?
  • 9. Extras...
    “Ben?” “Get off my set!” – this dramatised ‘version’ of Ben Stiller is in itself a media construct
    Highlights the levels of people trying to ’get ahead’ in the media. Stiller trying to make a ‘worthy’ film (does he really ‘care’?). Andy trying to get his line so he can get ahead in this cut-throat world.
  • 10. Extras...
    Series 2 – episode 2 – David Bowie
    "David Bowie" - September 21, 2006- The critical response for When the Whistle Blows is entirely negative but Andy gets encouragement from the public as he is recognised in the street and in his local pub - though he isn't eager to endlessly repeat his catchphrase from the show. Shaun Williamson takes Andy to a celebrity bar he used to frequent, where Andy is all too briefly treated as a VIP. While there, Andy tries to talk with David Bowie, who proceeds to make up a song ridiculing him, so Andy goes back to his local to seek recognition from the people he had previously disdained. 
  • 11. Extras...
    Opening sequence in agents office, critiquing his own show “the shitcom” – terrible reviews but massive ratings – links to postmodern element of no distinction between high and low art
    Uses his ‘fame’ to try and pick up a woman. Pathetic nature of Andy Millman (David Brent?) and a comment on the nature of celebrity (her face changes when she thinks he is famous) and our postmodern celebrity obsessed culture
  • 12. Extras...
    • Celebrity obsessed ‘stalkers’. Man in bar. “Do the catchphrase” Self reflection from Ricky Gervais? Has this happened to him? Do the Office dance?! State of hyper-reality – Millman going through same as Gervais?
  • Extras...
    “can’t stop mate, I’m going to the VIP area” – 1min later...“sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave”. Comment on fleeting nature on celebrity and of its various tiers
    Gervais is a massive Bowie fan (in real life)
    “little fat man who sold his dream...” – ultimate public humiliation
    Returns to the pub to get some attention from the ‘losers’ he has just dismissed...