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Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2015
A great show -- it challenges well-intentioned but offensively shallow portraits of differently abled people by taking the absolute opposite route: The protagonist is not a two-dimensional character designed to hit the audience over the head with an obvious moral point; he is a complete human being—deeply flawed and full of contradictions. His disability is not the defining trait to his personality (even if it may be his defining career obstacle)
Warwick Davis, of Ewok and Willow fame, stars as a narcissistic, oblivious version of himself in a mock-documentary around his life. Brought to you by the team of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, who also appear in the series as put-upon versions of themselves, there's quite a bit of great comedy, hilarious characters, and awkward moments like in the Office. My personal favorite is Warwick's numbskull secretary.
This is more like "The Office" than any of Ricky Gervais's other television productions, so if you loved "The Office" (original UK version), you'll love this one. If you haven't seen the original yet, then what are you waiting for?
It had a some funny plot devices. The delivery seemed a bit rushed and formulaic. I saw all the good clips already and was hoping for some more but there wasn't much more. Funniest parts are Liam Neeson's appearance and the washing machine sequence which truly did have me cracking up even though I had seen it before. The Sting charity function is pretty funny. Some other bits of the show seemed like re-warmed things from the BBC Office like the whole condom at the supermarket bit and the dating service stuff.
I think this is very funny. The main character is quite vain so if you get that, it is even funnier. You never know who will show up in an episode. And yes, there are some characters who are just jerks.
I know I'm rating a one-off series, but Amazon asked me to rate this, so here I go. Definitely a Ricky Gervais style of show. If you like his sense of humor you'll enjoy this. However, I can see why this didn't last as there are only so many 'short' jokes you can do before it gets a bit tiresome, to the point of cringe worthy. Still have to give 4 stars for creativity and acting.
Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2013
Like all of Ricky Gervais' television series and podcast work this is a series of genius and like them displays a level of inventiveness compassion and daring that is marvelous on a level unmatched by anyone else of whom I am aware. Before the first episode is half done, Warrick Davis is a rounded character whose dwarfism is transcended into that of the very human comic Everyman schlemiel, a figure as universal as--well David Brent and the character Gervais played in the masterpiece Extras. The only shortcoming of this series is that it is only a half dozen episodes long. Really, Gervais is one of the very very few comics whose television and movie work one personally takes one's existential hat off to in admiration that borders on envy for such gifts.
When you recognize the producer and writer, then you'll recognize the "spin-off" vibe. I think they do a superb job of pointing out social-awkwardness and they subtle ways each of us frustrate our quest for happiness and satisfaction. Each episode may yield one well-deserved laugh, but the writing and direction are strong enough to warrant passively tuning in to the next episode for a slow-motion social train wreck.
My one criticism is that Mr. Davis encounters a number of people who seem to have contempt for him because he's a dwarf, or at least are remarkably insensitive, but he never encounters anyone who is uncomfortable with him and tries to conceal it.