Tuesday, February 21, 2012

REVIEW: Life's too Short

HBO - Sundays 10:30/9:30c

From the minds of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras), "Life's too Short" is a mockumentary following renowned dwarf Warwick Davis in his day-to-day life in England.  It also uses the same device of Extras, with particular celebrities playing deranged versions of themselves to hilarious consequences.

At times it feels like Warwick Davis should be called Warwick Brent, since he embodies so much of the awkwardness and mannerisms of Gervais' original creation, David Brent.  He even has the same "everyone loves me and I'm entertaining" that David Brent perfected.

1.  Does it entertain me?
Yes it does.  The awkward moments are tough, and Warwick's life and those around him is difficult to watch, but people's reactions to him and his reactions to other people are always fun.  It's done in a tasteful manner, focusing on Warwick's past successes (Willow, Return of the Jedi), so that dwarves are never really ridiculed or belittled.

The scenes with the weekly celebrity are effective as well, and they appear to have a lot of fun poking fun at themselves.  Warwick's life is a tough place, with an accountant who can't add and a wife who kicked him out and changed his locks.

The fun of the show is going to be seeing the way the world works from the eyes of Warwick Davis.  Ricky and Steve are effective in this, and they have a very good handle on human emotions.  This is what made Extras and The Office so popular; it was never about pure entertainment.  They take their craft seriously, and it's nice to see a show tackle this every now and then.

2.  Is it realistic?
I can believe everything that happens to Warwick, from the people who befriend him to those who treat him like rubbish.

You will feel bad for him, and you will think he deserves what he gets.  The documentary style lends to this, and it works to get his perspective on everything.

3.  Are immoral actions defended?
Unless claiming you are the head of the Dwarves for Hire agency is immoral, then no it's not.

There is one divorce depicted, but the marriage isn't looked upon poorly.

4.  Are traditional family values upheld?
No swearing, no sex, no adultery in the pilot episode.  So in other words, the complete opposite of "Eastbound and Down."
"Life's too Short" encompasses all the things that make a Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant show worth watching.  It's funny, it's touching, it's poignant, and it will keep you interested yet uncomfortable.  And like other Ricky and Steve collaborations, it will probably last 2 seasons and a movie.

Grade: B


  1. This is something I could get interested in. Thanks.

  2. It has its typical awkward moments, but it's a smart humor and one that involves some emotional investment, both of which are very refreshing in the comedy universe.