Worth a Watch: "Derek" with Ricky Gervais
Now playing on Netflix, Derek a recent series involving Ricky Gervais, the comic genius behind the original The Office and many other shows, films, podcasts ... Missing here is his usual trademark shrieking and infectious laugh as this character, a nursing home aide, does a shuffle, pointing at the silly video, affectionate but nearly chocking bear hold, jutting jaw to reveal yellowed teeth and parts away his oily hair with a know-it-all look.
The aim here is to elevate the simple people, the kind people, however "ugly" and awkward they may seem, and also to restore dignity to the aged in nursing homes and to those who care for them. The sidekicks in this series are brilliant, including Dougie, the caretaker and bus driver played by Karl Pilkington, who reprises his role from a series of Gervais-led podcasts, sifting through all the world's bs, focussing on the mundane, and bringing down all the high and mighty from their respective high horses.
I disagree with the premise of the critique in the Hollywood Reporter, which wonders why Gervais has carried out this project. Simply because he can and should. Unlike one of his Hollywood movies The Invention of Lying which I felt fell short of what he has to offer, probably because he had too little input in the final product, this has many of the Gervais touches of brilliantly crafted and acted out wincing humor.