The Office and Extras are truly my favourite live-action TV comedies. So when Life’s Too Short came around I was very much anticipating the show, and in the end I found it to be silly, stupid, and forgettable. I did enjoy catching each episode, once I got used to what the show was, but in no way have I ever wanted to revisit the series. Nor can I even name my favourite recurring character. I pretty much disliked them all.
So coming off of Life’s Too Short, I realized that Steve and Ricky were capable of highs, but they were also very much capable of lows. Then came the announcement of Derek. Given the disappointment that was Life’s Too Short, and the fact that Derek was a solo Ricky project, my expectations were lowered and I hoped for the best but wasn’t expecting anything that matched Office or Extras. All I knew of Derek was the old short film, which was always a favourite of mine. Anyway, the pilot rolled around and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit! It wasn’t as good as Office or Extras, as I expected, and it had the typical issues that I’ve noticed in Ricky’s solo works (he goes to emotional extremes too often, and I really think it is Steve that has balanced him out in that regard).
Then came the announcement of the series, and I was split (like a tennis ball). On one hand, I enjoyed the pilot, but on the other hand I knew that the key to the pilot’s success was the juggling of all the elements, both comedy and drama, and keeping the characters well balanced. I thought Ricky did a great, but not perfect, job with this and feared that when it came to a series, maintaining of this balance episode to episode would be difficult for Ricky.
Having seen all six episodes, my assumptions were pretty much spot on. Some episodes were unbalanced, while others were a bit more even. The episodes that relied too much on raunchy, physical and visual gags were funny but not memorable. While episodes that relied too much on drama and emotion stuck with me a bit more, but made me cringe at times. In the end, however, I can say that overall I enjoyed the series. Probably my favourite solo Ricky effort outside of stand-up, and it is a series that I can see myself re-watching. Despite characters telling me how much I should love Derek (the character), I did like him. Kev was hit or miss for me. Some episodes I could handle him, and he even made me laugh at times, while other episodes I just couldn’t believe he was getting away with the shit he says. Hannah was a good character, very much reminding me of Dawn but with a bit more chutzpah. Saving the best for last, Douglas was the real star of the show. Some of my favourite moments, and lines, came from Karl as Douglas. Douglas is the number one reason why I’m excited for a second series, but he isn’t the only reason.
As mentioned, Derek had the potential to be a lot more than it was, but that isn’t to say that what it was was bad. If a second series means more of the same, then I’ll follow it and enjoy it for what it is. However, I think I’ll definitely be hoping that the second series tries harder to reach the show’s full potential.
Just thank fuck it wasn’t another Life’s Too Short.
FROGGY ENJOYED IT! RIBBIT RIBBIT!