Analysis, Film & Television Opinion

Life’s Too Short, Revisited (with spoilers)

Spoilers up to S1E6 of Life’s Too Short.
As the show features Warwick Davis playing a fictionalised version of himself, I’ve referred to the character in inverted commas. So, the actor Warwick Davis plays the character ‘Warwick Davis’.
I discuss the use of Davis’ size, and it’s relevance to the plot, but I’m not totally sure what the correct term is, and what’s generally seen as slightly offensive. I’ve used the terms ‘dwarf’ and ‘short person’ – if either of these cause offence, I apologise.

Life’s Too Short aired in the UK in December, and I wrote a review, based on the first two episodes.
After the series finished, I had some thoughts based on the series as a whole that… well, that I didn’t up at the time, based either on being nice or lazy. Take your pick of those two. Having seen adverts for the American airing of the series currently taking place, I’ve decided it could be worth putting finally putting those thoughts down in writing.
You know – for journalistic integrity. Or something like that.

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Review: The Cafe, episodes 1 & 2

Sky One’s new sitcom The Cafe comes from the pens of Ralf Little and Michelle Terry – the former made his name playing dopy younger brother Antony on The Royle Family, and starring in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps; the latter experienced mainly in stage work, including spells with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The pair are mentored by Craig Cash, best known for playing Caroline Aherne’s boyfriend Dave on The Royle Family – which I hadn’t realised he also co-wrote with Aherne – and Early Doors, which he co-wrote and appeared in.

The Royle Family and Early Doors share a downbeat, realist tone. There’s a sense that runs through both shows of understated realism, that everything that’s seen really could happen.
Along with The Office and Smoking Room, these are probably the best Brit sitcoms of  that type in the last decade. (Possibly including Peep Show as well, the doubt being about style rather than quality.)
So, in short, the creators should know what they’re doing with this style of comedy – the phrase ‘from the makers of’ is often used to promote a new programme or film, given that The Cafe aims for the same style as it’s predecessors, here it’s pretty much as accurate as it can be.

Ralf Little and Michelle Terry

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Review: Life’s Too Short episodes 1 & 2

A note – as the show features a lot of actors playing a fictionalised version of themselves, I’ve referred to the characters in inverted commas. So, the actor Warwick Davis plays the character ‘Warwick Davis’, Ricky Gervais plays ‘Ricky Gervais’, Liam Neeson plays ‘Liam Neeson’, and so on.

A bit of background – in the weeks leading up to the show’s beginning, Ricky Gervais has gotten himself involved in a stupid bit of controversy. He’s returned to Twitter, and gotten involved in an incredibly annoying argument over the word ‘mong’. He’s been arguing that the word has lost it’s social stigma (an insulting word for a retarded person), and that it’s now only a word for idiot. He’s been refusing to back down or accept that, with language being an elastic concept that develops and changes over time, it could have a meaning for some people beyond what he understands it to have.
It’s been a very stupid argument that I’ve deliberately avoided hearing too much about. The two options are that Gervais is extremely overconfident of his opinion, or that he’s been deliberately causing a controversy to promote his new show. Pulling a Trump, in other words.
Also, the concept (Warwick Davis plays ‘Warwick Davis’ in a mockumentary about life as a dwarf actor) sounds a little like a spoof to me, closer to the show-within-a-show When the Whistle Blows in Extras. So, I wasn’t optimistic going in.

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