Saturday 14 April 2012

DEREK - Pilot Episode Review

It's magnificent!

And I always think Ricky Gervais is magnificent, but I forget every time. There's a huge anti-Gervais bandwagon that is so strong and dominant that you can't help but be influenced by it, your mind gets turned.

But then you look at the work, and you get blown away. 'The Office' was a masterpiece. 'Extras' was great fun, and 'Cemetery Junction' was subtle and wonderful.

The problem with 'The Office' was that it was TOO successful. Filmmakers couldn't have any scenes set in offices for the next ten years, because everyone would say "You're ripping off that Gervais show!". What I love about "Derek", is that it's kind of similar to "The Office". You can feel it's the same writer/director (not forgetting he co-created 'The Office' with Stephen Merchant).

When Gervais ridicules people at awards shows and can't shut his mouth in the media -- you think that's all he is; this outspoken egotistical comedian.

But he has a bit of genius about him. And most of that reputation is media nonsense.

"Derek" is beautiful. His character is fascinating, complex, hilarious, and more than a bit sad. I don't have a clue who Kerry Godliman is, but she absolutely broke my heart in this pilot. So subtle, so honest, so real. And the scenes with the 'gay' guy were incredibly heartfelt and romantic. Reminded me so much of Tim & Dawn in 'The Office', especially those scenes at the Christmas Party, you remember those? So REAL. Ricky Gervais has a way of filling your heart up full; yet we always seem to doubt him, why?

They're saying this show could end his career? They could be right, but only because he may have trouble topping it. It's 'The Office' but with ten more years experience. And they say it takes ten years to become an expert. But he was already one when he made his first show. Now, he's approaching mastery.

Not everyone was sold by the first episode of 'Derek', but that's fine! Ricky Gervais is like Woody Allen and Larry David; a hilarious guy who is after expertise, after doing things from the heart. What matters to him is that he NAILS it. He'll always have an audience. And not because he's a celebrity, but because he's an artist. I'm in it for the long haul, wherever he goes. I'm looking forward to seeing where 'Derek' takes us.

Care to share?


  1. Great post, I loved Derek. I think some people are missing the point, Derek isn't some disabled person that we should feel sorry for, he's better than us! I think he's a great character, well done Gervais :)

  2. Great review. I fully agree with the points you make within it regarding Gervais as an artist. I love this particular piece of work, because he has chosen to use the most vulnerable members of our society and make us think about this, just that little bit more than we perhaps do. The scene with the mean girls in the pub was so sadly realistic and the reaction of Hannah - genius and hilarious - more please!

  3. You have said everything in your blog that I feel more eloquently than I could. Good Stuff.

  4. Gervais is a genius. Enjoyed everything he's done back to the xfm days. Me and my wife have listened to a podcast every night for the last 6 years. They are perfect.

  5. Listening to all the xfm shows many times over and the same with the podcasts. I knew this kind of character was in Gervais.

    Derek was a great show, and the crap being spouted that Ricky is making fun of disabled people is so frustrating to see. If anything he is celebrating people that usually are laughed at and mocked. Great stuff made me laugh and cry.

  6. Spot on review. Love everything Gervais does, but found Derek to be absolutely incredible, it broke my heart...

    The scene when Joan dies and he lifts her hand to his head when he's saying goodbye had tears streaming down my face, it was one of the most beautifully subtle scenes I've ever seen on screen. To create that atmosphere and not make it a contrived and cliched gesture takes someone who truly understands human interaction and motivation.

    His Hannah character, played by Kerry Godliman, is outstanding as well, and shows that Gervais is a real observer of how people truly are compared to how they chose to present themselves.

    I enjoyed it so much the first time round on Channel 4 that I waited for it to start on Channel 4 +1 and watched it all over again!

    The man's a genius, pure and simple. I'd almost pay to have Channel 4 commission a full series.

    P.s. Karl was a champ too!

    1. Couldn't agree more!!! Always loved Ricky Gervais and totally disregard all the bile spouted about him. He can have me in fits of laughter and floods of tears. I cried during and after watching Derek - it moved me tremendously. I also love that he has given us the joy that is Karl Pilkington.

  7. Could not agree more with this review and all of the comments.
    People are offended by the fact Derek is a disabled character but the fact is, these people exist in our society and are so under-rated. I think it is fantastic that Gervais is using this form to bring such fantastic individuals into our on screen viewing! Well done!!

  8. I've wanted to check this out. We don't have it in the States yet, though. Was curious about the whole "disabled" thing -- I can't say much because I haven't seen it, but I'm curious what the difference is between Sean Penn playing one in "I Am Sam" and this one. Because it's intentionally comedic? One look at the trailer of Penn's movie and it comes off as a severe error in judgement by all accounts.