Life's Too Short
|Life's Too Short|
[t-b] Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais
|Running time||30 mins|
|Creator(s)||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant|
|Writer(s)||Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant|
|Starring||Warwick Davis, Rosamund Hanson, Steve Brody, Matt Holness.|
|Original runs||10 November 2011 (UK), 19 February 2012 (US) – 30 March 2013 (UK), 5 July 2013 (US)|
|No. of episodes||8|
Life's Too Short was a sitcom starring Warwick Davis which aired on BBC2 (in the UK) and HBO (in the US). Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant wrote and directed the show, just as they did with their previous BBC sitcoms The Office and Extras.
Warwick starred as himself in the observational comedy based on his real life trials and tribulations being an actor with dwarfism. The show is similar in style to that of Larry David's HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, and also Gervais and Merchant's previous work (The Office and Extras). When speaking of Warwick in an interview Ricky Gervais stated that "pound for pound he is one of the funniest men I know". This project differed from Gervais & Merchant's previous projects in that it focused purely on comedy rather than the mix of comedy and drama.
Although the show was not renewed for a second series, the show wrapped up with an hour long special. The special aired on BBC 2 on March 30, 2013 and July 5, 2013 in the US.
The idea first arose after Warwick Davis appeared as a guest star in the second series of Extras. He told numerous stories to both Gervais and Merchant about the trouble being a midget in the acting world.
A quote from an interview with Gervais: "I'd been thinking about doing something with a midget since seeing The Wizard of Oz again a few years ago. Then we met Warwick during Extras. The real Warwick tells us these great stories. They're comedy gold."
Gervais also added that the series was the last in a trilogy of single-camera comedies: "It's the third in our trilogy of TV sitcoms... another naturalist observational comedy, dealing with everyday problems, human foibles and social faux pas ... but with a dwarf."
A non-broadcast pilot for Life's Too Short was shot in July 2010 and was overseen by Extras producer Charlie Hanson. Gervais confirmed via his blog that they would probably shoot six episodes for the first season. In April 2010, Gervais announced that the first production meeting had been held and it was "very exciting". Warwick Davis confirmed on his official website that the show would air on BBC2.
Filming for the six episode series began at the end of May 2011, going on for eight weeks. It ended on the 22nd July 2011, and the filming featured numerous updates on Ricky's Blog that included many pictures of Warwick in precarious positions.
- Warwick Davis - Himself
- Rosamund Hanson - Cheryl Wilkins
- Ricky Gervais - Himself
- Stephen Merchant - Himself
- Steve Brody - Eric Biddle
The following actors/actresses have appeared as guest stars.
- Liam Neeson
- Johnny Depp
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Shaun Williamson
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor
- Steve Carell
- Les Dennis
- Keith Chegwin
- Ewen Macintosh
- Cat Deeley
- Val Kilmer
|Episode One||Series 1||10th November 2011||Amazon||1|
|Warwick introduces us to his life, hires a new assistant and Liam Neeson bothers Ricky and Steve about comedy.|
|Episode Two||Series 1||17th November 2011||Amazon||2|
|Warwick is asked to make an appearance at a Star Wars themed wedding. Johnny Depp is in town researching his next role and finally gives Ricky a piece of his mind.|
|Episode Three||Series 1||24th November 2011||Amazon||3|
|Warwick's acting clients accuse him of taking all the best roles for himself. When a chance to act opposite Helena Bonham Carter arises, Warwick must decide what to do.|
|Episode Four||Series 1||1st December 2011||Amazon||4|
|Warwick has trouble whilst moving into a new flat, attends a messy divorce settlement and runs for chairman of the Society of People of Small Stature.|
|Episode Five||Series 1||8th December 2011||Amazon||5|
|Warwick's attempts to find a suitable religion as well as a romantic partner. Both searches are fraught with problems.|
|Episode Six||Series 1||15th December 2011||Amazon||6|
|Warwick throws a flat-warming party for himself and hires Cat Deeley to appear in order to "show off" to his ex-wife. Things get strange when he claims Cat is his girl-friend.|
|Episode Seven||Series 1||20th December 2011||Amazon||7|
|Wishing to improve his celebrity status, Warwick attends a charity event hosted by Sting. Not knowing Warwick's recent financial troubles, Sting pressures him to give more than he can afford.|
Life's Too Short received mostly negative reviews in the UK.
The Daily Mail concluded that "Ricky Gervais is too short on ideas."  The Mirror summed it up: "Life IS too short – to watch Gervais wasting his talent making dull retreads of his former glories like this."  The Metro took it a step further saying, "Even when you’re comedy royalty like Gervais and Merchant, there comes a point when you need to realise that the game is over." 
Not all reviews were negative. The Metro said that the first episode, "...sees Ricky Gervais successfully pulling off his usual self-parodies." The Independent said of Davis, "...in Warwick Davis, ... they’ve found the perfect vehicle for taking the rise out of egotistical self-delusion."  On the Box opined, "...unlike in Extras, there isn’t really a fresh concept on offer" but "[d]espite the fact that the writers haven’t pushed themselves, Life’s Too Short is still a joy to behold in some respects..." 
Much of the press analyzed whether the treatment of dwarves was offensive. The Mirror complained that "[Gervais] puts in jokes at the dwarf’s expense ... but then hid behind the argument that he was exposing the way that some OTHER PEOPLE laugh at them. " Writing for CultureNorthernIreland, Fionola Meredith stated, "I expect Gervais and Merchant tell themselves that they're lampooning the stereotypes, but the irony is so heavy-handed it looks more like the original dumb prejudice."  The Guardian concluded that "[t]he problem with this new series is not that it's offensive; it's that it's just not very funny ."
In the US, critical reaction was mixed but generally positive. Review aggregator MetaCritic gave the show a score of 63 out of 100 based on 18 reviews.  This includes The Hollywood Reporter which calls the show "another vein of gold for Gervais and Merchant"  and cites Davis' timing as "impeccable".  The Denver Post called the show "oddly engaging",  while TV Guide hailed it as "painfully hilarious". 
Although The Los Angeles Times allowed that it was "at times, extremely funny..." and that the celebrity cameos were "comedic gold, suitable for framing", it nonetheless concluded that "they are not enough to carry a show."  The Washington Post called the show "mostly tepid", explaining that "almost everything about Life’s Too Short somehow echoes pieces of all of Gervais’s previous TV work, which makes this show seem particularly limp."  The Huffington Post went further saying, "There is awkwardness and idiocy on display... but almost none of it is funny, much of it is off-putting and all of it is pointless."