Saturday, 22 December 2007

So Much For An Update A Day (Blame Xbox 360 SWOS)

We've seen the Christmas special of Extras already! Much like about 60% of people with the internet, so it's hardly worth crowing about, but it is quite interesting to see an HBO broadcast of the show. Splendidly, it seems like it'll be largely the same as the BBC showing, with all colloquialisms intact. Although it seems there are a few references lazily crowbarred in for the stateside audience. Such as this bit near the start, when there's a throwback to an earlier episode's "idiots like catchphrases and will buy T-shirts with them on" shot.

Because, of course, Sigourney Weaver has done some advertisements for American satellite TV provider DirecTV. Except!

(a) Quite obviously, hardly anyone in the UK is likely to even know that. Least of all, people who the Andy Millman character is dismissing as lazy, thick catchphrase adoring chumps. We only do because we've just typed Signourney Weaver DirecTV into YouTube (well, and because we'd guessed from the T-shirt when we first saw it). So they might as well have used anyone, from any advert, ever.

(b) In the advert in question (and here it is), Weaver - in the guise of Ripley - doesn't even say "DirecTV" once, that's left to the voiceover artiste.

(c) It's DirecTV, not Direct TV. Duuh. All of which goes towards one of the most piss-poor jokes seen on our screens this year. But then, we don't allow The Friday Night Project on our screens.

Similarly, there's a reference to CBS Evening News co-anchor Katie Couric later on, too. With her name used as a byword for journalistic integrity. Which also doesn't quite work because just after she was selected to replace Dan Rather in 2006, many US media commentators were up in arms because, as long-time co-host of The Today Show, she'd hitherto been seen as essentially the US TV equivalent to Judy Finnegan. We really suspect Ricky Gervais had only written those jokes to try and get a giggle out of his mate Jon Stewart.

Also, there's a bit where Doctor Who is dismissed as still being a cavalcade of shaky sets, hammy acting, bad costumes and insultingly poor plotlines. But we're guessing there are going to be plenty of other people on the internet prepared to get over-precious enough about that on our behalf.

Luckily, the remainder of the show is really rather good. It's certainly on a par with the better episodes of the first series of Extras, and much better than the disappointing second series. Without giving too much away, it's generally the same as the last episode of series two, only any good. And mercifully, there's only one small part where they rely on the Maggie character being unrealistically dim when Andy is trying to impress a 'somebody' - a marked improvement on series two, where it happened about every four minutes. Hurrah.

Now, we're going to put the title of the programme and when it's on at the bottom of this post in bold type, because that makes us feel slightly like a proper telly previewer. Except Jim Shelley probably doesn't write his pieces in a drunken fug wearing just his pants, with Wotsit crumbs slowly accumulating in his chest hair.

Extras: Christmas Special is on BBC One, 9pm, Thursday 27th December. And all over the internet like a rash.

2 .:

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