Ricky Gervais Show: “Art” (2.12)

TV Reviews Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais Show: “Art” (2.12)

The driving force of The Ricky Gervais Show has always been Karl’s stupidity. It’s why you tune in and why Ricky and Stephen have made so many episodes. And while that may sound kind of mean-spirited, Karl’s agreed to be there for this and has Ricky/Stephen’s ventures for him as his only form of income. Basically, if you don’t find him funny, then you’re not watching the show.

But that stupidity is reliant largely upon Karl’s answers to topics that we all agree upon. Whether it’s science or religion or monkeys, he has ideas about the world that are obviously just plain incorrect. They’re frequently interesting but in any case they’re interesting because they’re a uniquely Karl-held belief. It’s something you generally won’t be able to hear from your friends unless your friends are as … interesting … as Karl is—that’s why he’s on television.

The problem with “Art” is that this kind of breaks down here because the topic itself is naturally so subjective. Karl’s beliefs in the subject are a tad anachronistic, perhaps, but no more so than for instance my brother’s. His observations on the subject feel out of touch, which is intermittently funny, but not as radically wrong as usual. Ultimately, there’s no reason to give his thoughts on the subject less credence than Ricky or Stephen’s, who don’t come off nearly as well here as they normally do.

This makes the first half of the episode kind of a wash. I’m happy with how thematically focused “Art” is, moreso than any other episode the show’s done. But it’s just not that entertaining until something more unique comes up, which luckily enough happens soon enough. So Karl on art in general and statues isn’t so great, and Karl on films is only a bit more interesting. But the ball really gets rolling when Ricky mentions outsider art, something obviously much more related to Karl, and eventually to Karl’s art itself.

The end of the episode takes on Karl’s annoying whistling, and it’s a much richer field than everything we’ve explored previously because it’s finally specific to Karl. That he thinks his truly crappy whistling is entertaining is great fun, so the episode ends strongly. Even the group’s comments about outsider art preceding this are pretty entertaining, such that we have a very weak first half of the episode, despite its focus, and one of the better endings in a long time.

As a whole the episode was a little disappointing,especially for an episode that ties together this well. But art’s just one of those things where most anything you can say about the subject sounds equally ridiculous. I look forward to more episodes derived from the Ricky Gervais Guide To series of podcasts in the future… speaking of which, there will in fact be a future for the show. For once one of Ricky’s TV shows is going longer than two seasons, probably because I don’t think Ricky and Stephen have much to do with it after recording the initial podcast. A third season’s been officially announced and new podcasts to make up the fourth should begin production soon.

Stray observations:
•”It’s like living in a Salvador Dali picture.”
•”If the flat’s a mess, it’s a mess twice.”
•Karl on statues: “They’re clever.” Why? “Because they always look the same.”
•Ricky with the weird 80s hair is wonderful.
•“If you want to use a serious point, then don’t use animals”
•Ricky’s fondness for the Muppet’s Christmas Carol is great
A Muppet Schindler’s List
Schindler’s List in Space
•Karl on Sophie’s Choice: “Well which one did she pick?”
•”Whenever I watch a film with Suzanne, I always ask, ‘what was going on there?’” – He sounds SO annoying to watch a movie with.
•”I’m all for films with a good storyline.” – Karl takes a controversial stance.
•”Whenever anyone asks, it’s always the same: Elephant Man. It’s cause Mission Impossible II.” Flawless logic once again.
•”How do you express yourself?” Karl: “Whistle.”
•”I’m in my own space now. I’m going to annoy them.”

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