“Hello and welcome to Robert’s Web, the Channel Four programme with a surprising approach to the disabled. COMPASSION.” – Robert’s Web, Channel Four, 2011.
So, Ricky Gervais’ new ‘comedy drama’ Derek just aired. We know it was a comedy drama because there was thoughtful piano music playing beneath most of the scenes.
Much of the pre-publicity was about whether Gervais was playing the lead character as disabled or not. Ricky Gervais himself swore that he wasn’t because that would be wrong, and he would never do that kind of thing.
But this was to be different. It was going to be sensitive, and the main character was just a bit socially clumsy with a heart of gold.
So, was it good? For our money, nowhere near as terrible as Life’s Too Short, but any high points of the programme were instantly outdone by Gervais portrayal of the title character. It’s all very well putting the seeds of a sensitive heartwarming comedy in place, but to have most of the action centred around a character played as a live-action cartoon – lower jaw jutted out, shuffling around with an arched back in the manner of someone unconvincingly pretending to do just that – undid any good there might have been. If Derek had been played by a more convincing actor, our reaction could easily have been along the lines of “a watchable pilot, once the kinks are ironed out and the script given an extra draft it could become a lovely little gem of a show”.
As it was, well, meh. But hey, as his work for Channel Four goes, it was slightly better than Being Ricky Gervais.
ANYWAY, that’s not why we’re here. How have his Twitter army of fans taken to this sensitive comedy drama that definitely isn’t about mocking those with disabilities? Well…
Wonder why he only retweeted the sensitive mentions for the show, not the ones we’ve found?