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Extras: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s take on celebrity is still irreverent, clever fun

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As cringe-inducing as The Office, Extras lampoons Hollywood with great cheer while paying mournful tribute to failed dreams

When we first met Ricky Gervais in the early noughties, he played the cringe-inducing but highly recognisable boss from hell in The Office. David Brent was smarmy and desperate for approval, a dreamer with outsized ideas about his own potential. The Office was difficult to watch because it magnified the minutiae of ordinary life. It was darkly comical but also extremely relatable. It also felt like a cautionary tale: we’ve all had horrible jobs, forced to engage with strangers, but they were temporary. The Office suggested that dreams are nice, but most people will stay stuck in order to stay safe.

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