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Can Ricky Gervais and the 'Extras' finale really pull off big Emmy upsets?

August 24, 2008 |  9:42 am

Ricky Gervais is the king of upsets at Hollywood awards. Remember: Last year the "Extras" star staged that shockeroo in the Emmy race for best comedy actor over Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") and Steve Carell ("The Office"). Previously, there were those two jaw-droppers he pulled off at the Golden Globes in 2004 when the British version of "The Office" and he won best comedy series and actor. Listen to our podcast with Gervais — CLICK HERE — as he recalls the shock of all three victories.


In addition to his awards history, Ricky Gervais and his "Extras" finale pose serious threats in the current Emmy derby because the wrap-up TV movie is a powerful film with a wallop of an ending. This is Ricky Gervais' salvo at the same TV biz that employs Emmy voters, and it articulates the angst and rage they no doubt feel deeply about the industry too.

During the early days of the "Extras" TV series, Ricky Gervais starred as just that — a lowly extra, desperate to be famous. Now, in the finale, he's a successful TV star with a goofy lowbrow sitcom that requires him to wear a curly wig and silly red glasses and act like a happy-go-lucky moron. Fame has gone to his head, and he now wants serious, respectful showbiz work, so he quits the TV show, fires his agent, trades up for a fancy agency guy and waits for glory.

Of course, it doesn't come. His fortunes and spirits sink lower and lower until he's so desperate for work that he accepts a humiliating role on British TV's "Celebrity Big Brother."

That's where Ricky Gervais scores his big money scene that could trigger new award upsets. At one point during the reality TV show, he suddenly cracks and fumes a rant to his fellow contestants: "What are we doing? Selling ourselves, selling everything! … 'Oh, I'm pregnant. We must televise the birth. Quick, see if Ryan Seacrest can present it! Maybe it can make E! channel's "100 Greatest Cesareans."' I'm just sick of these celebrities living their lives out in the open all the time. Why would you do that? It's like these pop stars choose the perfect moment to go into rehab. They call their publicist before they call a taxi. Then they come out and do their second autobiography. This one is called 'Love Me or I'll Kill Myself.' Oh, go kill yourself then! And the papers lap it up. And they follow us round and that makes people think we're important and that makes us think we're important. If they stopped taking pictures of us, people wouldn't take to the streets going, 'Oh, quick! I need a picture of Cameron Diaz with a pimple!' They wouldn't care. They'd go on with something else. They'd get on with their lives. You open the paper and you see a picture of Lindsay Lohan getting out of a car and the headline is 'Cover Up, Lindsay! We Can See Your Knickers!' Well, of course you can see her knickers. Your photographer is lying in the road pointing his camera up her dress to see her knickers. You're literally the gutter press. And ... you, the makers of this show as well! You can't wash your hands of this . . . . "


PHOTOS BELOW: Gervais on the TV sitcom; Gervais in dual gender roles on the show — male and in drag; he removes his wig to announce to the TV studio audience that he quits; Gervais ends up doing reality TV, appearing as a participant in "Celebrity Big Brother" in the U.K. TO SEE ALL FOUR PIX, CLICK HERE!



. . . You can't say, 'Oh, it's exploitation, but it's what the public wants.' No! The Victorian freak show never went away. Now it's called 'Big Brother' or 'American Idol' . . . . And ... you for watching this at home. Shame on you. And shame on me because I'm the worst of all. Because I say, 'I'm an entertainer because it's in my blood!' Yeah, it's my blood because a real job's too hard. I would've loved to have been a doctor. Too hard to put the work in. I wanted to be a war hero. Too scared. So I go, 'It's what I do,' and I have someone bullocked if my cappuccino's cold or if they look at me the wrong way. Do you know what a friend of mine said? I'll never be happy because I'll never be famous enough."