Chad White, Tired Of Twitter, Too Bored Too
It’s hard coming off of a pretty good first season and returning with the same charm and candor. Ricky Gervais’ Derek struggled with keeping its identity throughout the second season.
The season begins a year after the events of the first. Derek’s father becomes a resident of the nursing home but he is still the same old womanizer that left Derek all those years ago. We are reintroduced to all of the characters in a whirlwind of excitement as the group tries to kill a spider during the cold open. Hannah and Tom are still together; Vicky still works at the home with fears of turning in to Hannah; Kev is the same drunken loser; and Dougie is still Dougie.
But what every show that comes back for a second season does is introduce brand new characters. However, there are only two that really stand out. The first is Tom’s grandmother who is pretty open minded as she spouts whatever she is thinking. The second is Geoff, a down on his luck asshole who can’t keep a job and thinks he’s God’s gift to the world. He is meant to replace Dougie who quits the home in the first episode. Karl Pilkington quit the show early on because of his nervousness to act. It’s a shame really. Dougie was the best character of the first season having been way more interesting than everyone else.
This season differs from the first with its attempt at implementing season long arcs. Hannah and Tom are trying to have a baby so, naturally, the entire nursing home is in on it. Every resident has advice to give them and there is often long, drawn out conversations about sperm. It’s awkward and hilarious. But there are other awkward moments like Kev’s constant bragging about him having sex with his overweight girlfriend. Speaking of Kev, we finally get some characterization of the man only to have it all taken away all in one episode. If you want me to like a character, just make him likeable. For a large part of this series, Kev is a sack of crap that leeches off of his friends. Another arc is Derek signing up for a dating site. And Twitter. Fucking Twitter. Both are about as funny as you’d think. I know Ricky Gervais thinks he’s a God on Twitter (ironic, no?) but he uses it as a very terrible crutch this season.
The instances that Derek and crew find themselves in are meant to be funny but end up soulless copies of Gervais’ The Office. I know it’s also not fair to compare both of these shows but Derek comes off as a dull copy of his more successful show. Another flaw I found this season is with the actual direction of the show. It’s unclear why this documentary crew is still there and how many cameras they have. Sometimes, the show is shot with a two camera set up but then there are suddenly 4 other angles that are captured with stationary non-documentary cameras. This is not hard to miss. At points, it’s jarring. How am I supposed to get into this show when I can’t believe what I’m seeing? That’s just bad direction.
Should you watch Derek season 2?
If you’ve already seen the first season, or series if you’re a Brit, then check it out. It’s only six episodes long but so much of it is boring. Prepare yourself for a drab setting with several one dimensional characters. Without many changes from last season, Derek falls into a bland territory that often tries to differentiate itself. It attempts to take you to new places but, ultimately, it falters with predictable stories, an over dependence on relevancy, and unoriginal storytelling.