Ricky Gervais has received a lot of flack lately in regards to his TV series. While The Office and Extras were largely (and deservingly so) acclaimed, recent adventures into television such as Life’s Too Short have been met with criticism for being too much of the same thing. So it was nice to see Gervais step out of his safe zone a bit with the flawed Derek. Now in its second season (the new season was released on Netflix last Friday) Ricky Gervais is still trying to find the right balance for Derek. An increase in immature sex and fart jokes is quite noticeable this season but so is the increase in emotion.
Derek picks up with Derek’s father (Tony Rohr) moving into the elderly home as Hannah (Kerry Godliman) tries to begin a family of her own. Just when everything is looking great at the elderly home though, life gets in the way of Derek (Ricky Gervais) and Hannah’s plans. Just like the first season, Ricky Gervais directs and writes all six of the season’s episodes.
The early parts of season two of Derek are such a pain to get through. Season one of Derek was hardly funny but it wasn’t trying to land many jokes either. This season is less funny despite Ricky Gervais and company actually trying in the comedy department. Suddenly there were a ton of immature jokes in the first few episodes that felt unlike anything Gervais has done before. It was a sad development that took me completely out of the show.
Surprisingly, though, season two of Derek was able to regain my attention. While the way in which it was done was highly manipulative, it is worthy to note that my attention was regained at all considering how badly the first half of the season was going. In fact, most of the drama in the back half of the season is quite manipulative, but it is quite forgivable considering how well Ricky Gervais sells it as an actor. Gervais is a master of switching from comedic acting to dramatic acting at a moment’s notice and this is another great example of this.
It is hard to tell if Gervais will ever find the right balance for Derek or even if there will be another season of the show, but what we have so far is a big mess that can be unwatchable at points and quite good at others.