The Ricky Gervais Show might be the laziest television program ever made. That I can make this claim in a world where Dane Cook’s Vicious Circle once existed is a little amazing. But really what else can you say? The show consists of Gervais, Stephen Merchant and their producer, Karl Pilkington dishing about various varying topics, while the scenes are animated in good but hardly distinguished animation (although the similarity between cartoon Ricky and Fred Flintstone are too striking not to point out). This dishing of course, will sound familiar to anybody who loved the podcasts with the same title from 2005 – because these are in fact those podcasts.
The podcast, to the unindoctrinated, featured these free form ramblings on topics highlighted by Karl Pilkington’s musings and Ricky laughing at him. Indeed in the show’s premiere edition, when Karl opines that everything that needs to be invented HAS been invented, such evisceration is necessary. Stephen provides a useful utility infielder sort of approach goading Karl where necessary – as Ricky tends to be shrill, cackling and close to actually mean – although it is always jovial. This plays like a superior radio program – and their riffs about monkey news are legitimately great comedy. It is no wonder that Ricky has a significant career.
So the podcast is great – I recommend it. In the same vein, HBO’s show is worth recommending because the material is well written, the camraderie is there as is the chemistry. The show gets the podcast to a new audience, and for that it is valuable. However, the show does not build upon the podcast aside from a visualization – it is just a way for Ricky to make a buck. At least it’s funny.