'The Office' duo underwhelm with yet another celebrity-related mockumentary
When Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's showbiz satire "Extras" was coming to the end of its second and final season on HBO, Gervais told me
that he felt he and Merchant had, between that show and the original "The Office," done as much as they could with the notion of people who will do anything to be famous.
"We're never going to do anything to do with media again," he told me, explaining that they were probably going to be done with it after "The Office," until they realized their newfound celebrity gave them a chance to do one more story on a higher level featuring cameos from their new pals. "It seemed right. We were fresh to it and we thought we had a fresh approach to it. We never would have done it if we couldn't find a new angle. There's no point in telling someone something twice. It's worth exploring the same themes -- relationships, wasting your life -- all of those things are worth because they're fundamental. It's not like humans have moved on, you know, 'We're going to give up relationships.' But we've pretty much, that's our Picasso blue period -- that's our fame period."
As it turned out, Gervais and Merchant weren't quite done with their fame period, after all. That second season of "Extras" was followed by a Christmas special that repeated some of the satiric points they had made on in the regular episodes, albeit at greater length and with more of a dramatic bent. And now the two have created "Life's Too Short," yet another mockumentary about a man — little person actor Warwick Davis (the lead Ewok in "Return of the Jedi" and Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films, among other roles), playing a debased version of himself — willing to suffer endless humiliation to hang onto his incredibly modest level of celebrity. (The first season already aired in the UK, and it debuts Sunday night at 10:30 on HBO.)