Alex Casey wheels out a holiday favourite in the celeb-studded feature-length finale of Extras.
Christmas is a time for traditions and rituals, for dredging up old articles about Love Actually and fighting with strangers online about whether the movie is good or bad. Although Hugh Grant dancing to ‘Jump’ is indisputably good, I would like to share another one of my favourite Christmas traditions with you: watching the Extras Christmas Special and sobbing uncontrollably.
The sweeping 85 minute finale of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s excellent and oft-overlooked follow-up to The Office, this Christmas special delicately balances all the humour, pathos and celebrity cameos that make Extras such a perfect show. The concluding chapter to Andy Millman’s fruitless pursuit of fame and fortune, it also has all the crucial moral elements need for a solid piece of Christmas entertainment. There are messages about friendship, generosity and authenticity, all without there being one Christmas ghost in sight.
Let me count the ways it’s the ideal Christmas special.
Some great last minute gift ideas
These hideous Ray Stokes dolls were selling like cow dung, so much so that Andy is forced to sign some by a desperate department store manager. Although they were made in sweatshops, Andy’s agent Darren reminds us that the kids putting the dolls together were probably “avin’ a laff” so, there’s that.
Also, here’s a terrible secret Santa that will get you and everyone else in your office put into jail:
A wild Karl Pilkington cameo
A little round-headed Christmas miracle.
Stephen Merchant’s naked torso
Truly the bad Santa of our times.
Not really festive per se, but you’d be a bloody Grinch not to acknowledge that Gerv and Merch sure know how to put a soundtrack together. Be it Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’ or ‘Tragedy’ sung by Lisa from Steps acapella, there’s a little ditty for everyone this Christmas.
SO much ‘When the Whistle Blows’
It’s the fake sitcom inside the show that’s so chronically unfunny it somehow comes full circle into being the funniest series ever made. As a wise man once said, “I don’t get it.”
Christmas conversation starters
Maggie’s “would you rather” questions provide some great G-rated conversation starters if you need them over the dinner table this Christmas. Would you rather be a flying fish or a penguin? Or celebrate Christmas every day or never again? Makes. You. Think.
George Michael eating a kebab
The wisdom of Barry
“Fame is a mask that eats away at the face” says Barry, before returning to picking dog shit out of his shoe.
A humbling Christmas message
Faced with the abyss of humanity known as Celebrity Big Brother UK, Andy is forced to re-evaluate his priorities and realise what is most important to him. Which is what Christmas is really about, right? Delivering his heartfelt plea for forgiveness to his best friend through the television set, you’d be a goddamn monster not to shed a small tear.
Click here to watch the Extras Christmas Special on Lightbox this holiday season
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