Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Extras, Second Season


EPISODE ONE: Orlando Bloom. He’s obsessed with being the sexiest man in England, or on Earth. He keeps magazines with polls putting him in first place, and will show them to anyone. He is particularly angry when Johnny Depp places on these lists. “On Pirates of the Caribbean? I was the one who got to kiss Kiera Knightly. She wanted no part of him with his ‘Oh, look at me, I’ve got scissors for hands!’ Willy Wonka? Willy Wanker!”

Andy’s sitcom has degenerated into everything he hates about stupid sitcoms—silly wigs and catch phrases—but it’s a hit with “thick people,” and so he does everything they tell him to do. His catch phrase: “Are you having a laugh? Is he having a laugh?” You have to hear Gervais say it to get it.

EPISODE TWO: David Bowie. He appears only at the end, when Andy is depressed about how badly the critics have reviewed his new sitcom, which is nothing like what he wanted it to be. Bowie extemporizes a song about the fat little failure and his stupid show. Very cruel. Quite a sad and biting episode.

EPISODE THREE: Daniel Radcliffe. He’s still a juvenile (17) in the worst sense of the word. He hits on every woman on the set. He says he’s had intercourse, but you know he’s lying, since he obviously hasn’t a clue. He’s got a condom in his pocket which he pulls out to show off (“You’ve unrolled it, haven’t you?” Andy observes.) He stretches it like a rubber band and it flies off … to land on the head of Dame Diana Rigg!

EPISODE FOUR: Chris Martin. I am the world’s worst about modern rock. I know practically nothing about it except the names of some of the bands. Martin is apparently the lead vocalist of Coldplay, which I’ve heard of, but never heard. Here he is making a public interest announcement with Andy, all about safe drinking water in the Third World, and all he cares about it getting in a plug for his band. Later, he joins the cast of Andy’s terrible sitcom, just one more element in the destruction of Andy’s vision of an intelligent show.

EPISODE FIVE: Sir Ian McKellen. Andy lands a part in a play being produced by gay Sir Ian, who painstakingly explains what acting is all about in terms that would be too simple for a kindergartner. Then he finds out he’s supposed to be playing a gay character, and at the last minute he’s expected to kiss his co-star … all this while four of his homophobic mates from school are in the audience. Also present is a real face from the past: Germaine Greer! I’d almost forgotten about her. Frankly, I never liked her.

EPISODE SIX: Robert De Niro. Andy has finally had enough with his staggeringly incompetent agent. (Who us played brilliantly by Stephen Merchant, who also co-wrote this series and “The Office.” He’s 6’7” and built like a flamingo.) But the agent has one more trick up his sleeve: a meeting with De Niro. Andy doesn’t believe it, but says it’s a win-win for him: “If he’s there I get a meeting with De Niro. If he’s not, you’re fired.” Meanwhile he has been emotionally blackmailed by the mother of all guilt-trippers, a woman whose son is sick and dying and wants a visit from Andy.