As creators of the original THE OFFICE, they created one of the greatest television comedies ever. With just two short seasons (and a fantastic Christmas special to end the series), both Gervais and Merchant went from relatively unknowns to multi-millionaires. Since THE OFFICE, they have gone off to create other shows such as EXTRAS, released a successful line of podcasts and travel shows featuring their round-headed friend, Karl Pilkington, and both have some movies under their belts (GHOST TOWN, CEMETARY JUNCTION, HALL PASS, to name a few). Because of all of this success, their projects together face a sort of scrutiny which may not be entirely fair: is it as good as THE OFFICE? In the case of LIFE’S TOO SHORT, their new BBC comedy which began its run on HBO this past Sunday, the answer is no- but there’s hope.
LIFE’S TOO SHORT shares some of the characteristics of THE OFFICE: it’s shot as a documentary and it’s lead character, Warwick Davis (who is playing himself), will remind you a lot of David Brent, THE OFFICE’s lead character in that he has a good heart but his self-centeredness and lack of social skills hinders his emotional growth. And this is one of the first show’s pitfalls: it’s reminds you of THE OFFICE. It doesn’t help that two scenes revolve around Warwick visiting Gervais and Merchant at their office. Did they include themselves to help sell the show? I don’t know but it does come across as self-serving to an extent. Another scene which didn’t necessarily help even though it was the funniest of the entire pilot show was Liam Neilson’s appearance at Gervais and Merchant’s office. The funny stuff should be saved- for the most part- for the star of the show, not a guest star.
It’s only the first show so I’ll give it another shot. But I kind of expected more considering who’s behind it.