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TALKBACK: The Ricky Gervais Show

Ricky Gervais

The Ricky Gervais Show, produced by Wild Brain LA, premieres tonight on HBO. If you’ve seen it, share your thoughts on the show. For those without cable, the complete first episode can be viewed on the HBO website (not available in all countries).

  • Sunday

    I feel like I’m watching slightly more dynamic Flintstones characters in a Family Guy episode, but thankfully deep-fried in that appealing Gervais secret sauce. Rather pleasant and infinitely more enjoyable than an audio-only track. (Consider other animated “versions” of podcast and radio productions, such as “Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No”, or Chris Ware’s animation for NPR’s “This American Life”)

  • Isaac

    The character design is very cute, and it works with the limited animation, in the times something actually happens. There is far too much rambling and very few jokes. A very sparsely-populated 20 minutes, I’d say.

  • I enjoyed it since the source material is still funny, but watching the animated version feels unnecessary if you’ve already heard the podcast. It seems like this’ll work best to draw in people unfamiliar with the podcast.

  • Personally, I feel the visuals do nothing but detract from the audio, adding nothing in the process. Seems pretty pointless to me. Not the fault of the animators or designers, I feel. These podcasts are what they are and what they aren’t is a cartoon.

  • Wow, that’s the most Flash-y Hanna-Barbera-esque animation ever. Any background(s) on the animator(s)? I’d love to know their reasoning behind designing in that style.

    Something about Ricky’s face is bothering me though. Merchant and Pilkington’s likenesses are excellent, but Gervais looks nothing like him. In reality, he has wide, squinty eyes on a round face. This cartoon makes him look more like a beady-eyed Fred Flintstone/Barney Rubble lovechild.

    I love everything Gervais/Merchant do, and have listened to most of their podcasts over the years. Gervais’ laugh is infectious (watch the pranks he pulls on the behind-the-scenes stuff on the “Extras” DVDs) and he waxes philosophical with great comedic form. I guess this is a neat idea and I would probably watch ’em all, except I don’t have HBO.

  • MJ

    This is fun! Whatre you people talking about!

  • Chuck Jones used to call Saturday Morning animation, “illustrated radio.” I guess it had to come to this; it IS illustrated radio. Nothing happens, but you have to run your tv subtitles to know what they’re saying. Even that doesn’t matter.

  • squirrel

    Trevour: You just KNOW Gervais requested his character look like Fred Flintstone. :D

    …I’m not kidding! He REALLY DID! :O

  • Oliver

    Am I and Terence Davis the only 2 people in England who can’t stand Ricky Gervais?

  • Rufus

    Yeah, the Hanna Barbera ripped-off style doesn’t salvage this tall pile of moist garbage from stinking up the place.
    It’s funny in spots, but mostly it’s just bland. Bland bland bland.

  • I love the Gervais podcasts.
    One of the great things about them is you can put them on and work away and be entertained and delighted.
    Adding animation to this is a pointless and cynical exercise.

  • Peter

    I was previously unfamiliar with this podcast, I laughed all the way through it. It does seem like an odd thing to animate but they do make the most of the material. It should be called the Karl Pinkington Show, though, haha.

  • J. Eric Mason

    I stopped watching about 8 minutes in. It was like a powerpoint presentation of a funny podcast I might have heard a year ago, with animated transitions. What the hell. The original content wasn’t designed for it; I was pining for Squigglevision. Pining. For Squigglevision. Perhaps a later episode will have Benjamin Katz and he can comment on how smooth and Hanna-Barbaresque he feels.

  • M Tucker hits it right on the head – its better off heard than seen.

  • I enjoyed it. There were parts here and there that became painfully slow and between the rambling and lack of visual gags almost made it unbearable. However, I was happy to see things pick back up and spiral off into madness aural and animated. All I can hope for is to give birth at my funeral procession now.

    I only wish they found something to do to keep the show interesting when the dialog slowed.

  • Robiscus

    I’m curious to hear what Amid thought of it.

  • anon

    Wow. Having worked on the show, I was a little bummed when execs literally had animation either removed or tamped down, degrading the animation of the show quite a bit. So I expected some hatin’ on the animation here on the brew (and being done in Flash it was already at a deficit). But I really didn’t think the designs were bad at all. I respect a lot of the names the post on the brew, kinda sad to see this level of scorn.

  • AlphaTom

    I like Gervais and the podcast, but don’t really see the point in having it animated. Besides half the fun for me is watching the actual people. They are already cartoonish without needing them to be actual cartoons.

  • Justin

    The animation aspect does seem unnecessary, however it was still very funny and entertaining. I’d watch this over South Park any day.

  • Makinita

    I liked it yeah it was a bit slow at time but entertaining and I liked the Hanna Barberish type of design that they have

  • I “watched” this while working… so I was actually listening and not so much watching. It was funny, but yes, the animation may not have added a great deal other than allowing it to be on TV. Incidentally, the work I was doing was literally “illustrating radio”… as all my films have been up to now…

  • It’s a fun little show! I love listening to those guys and I feel like the visuals give you a funny peek into what they and others are thinking about Carl’s ramblings. I’ll be checking out the rest.

  • Rio

    I was entertained. I’d like to point out that I’ve never listened to any of Ricky’s podcasts before. I think it’s a great idea to re-purpose podcast for tv. There’s a whole audience out there who never listen to podcast.

  • I thought it was pretty cool. But, the mouth animation on the main characters is a bit distracting..pulling wide and squished poses so quickly when nothing else is barely moving.

    Can’t wait for the next episode.

  • brad

    wow, people really seem to hate this. I guess anything done in Flash is gonna be hated here. many of you seem to be arguing against this show being animation- don’t we want more animated shows not less? Isn’t this show at least taking some design chances? Isn’t it a better adult animation show than the Fox shows?

    I know my following argument doesn’t fly around here, but shouldn’t we be happy that an animated show for a major cable network is being completely animated here in the US?

  • GF

    People say “illustrated radio” like it’s a bad thing.

  • While I’ve never listened to the podcast, I really love the animation/character design!

    This would be perfect on Adult Swim, but neither it, nor any other “cartoon-specialized network” (they know who they are) will ever seem to want to touch a show like this, let alone this type of animation. And I mean appealing animation & design. Networks either want kiddy-cuddly characters, symmetrical & unappealing, or adolescent and in-your-face. They cannot have any appeal whatsoever, and have to be as mundane as humanly possible.

    But this has been a very entertaining 20 minutes, nonetheless! I’d love to see more shows that take risks with this kind of style.

  • I failed to note in my last post that I did in fact enjoy it, despite my little design nitpicks. If it goes to DVD I’ll totally buy it.

  • Bob

    I enjoyed it quiet a bit. The character designs of the main characters is appealing and some of the backgrounds are beautiful. I do have the say some of the secondary characters are ugly as sin.
    Lets keep it real for a min. The people most vocal about the character designs and animation, I’ve been to your sites and its not pretty. So before you pick up a stone you should pick up a pencil and practice yourself.

  • siemasko

    I don’t understand why the people who like the Gervais podcast are frustrated by this show. It’s still the same funny audio.
    By animating and broadcasting on hbo it’s getting out to a much wider audience than might otherwise hear it. I watched it with my wife the other night and she probably never would have listened to the radio show. The simple animation is perfect for the show (anything fuller would be a waste) and its a lot more interesting than watching three guys sit around talking.

    And really, in the end, it means more people in the world will know who Karl Pilkington is.

  • 1. I’ve always loved Gervais’ work !
    2. I’ve got nothing against Flash as a tool.
    3. I think there’s endless possibilities with a “Real Audio” approach.

    That being said, the stuff in the studio with the 3 of them seems to just lay there. . . I could easily get by with 1/4 of what’s presented. A lot of the cut-away stuff is fun, but not enough to get me through the studio scenes. . . feels like a short idea filled out beyond its capacity.

    Oh well, I still think Ricky Gervais is incredibly funny !

  • NoTimeForThat

    Gervais = An obnoxious, irritating, overrated, dick.

    I cannot stand him. He has never been funny, will never be funny, and after seeing constant ads for this tripe, I happened to run across a few minutes of it.

    It was complete garbage beyond any hope of merit.

  • Bob,

    You wrote:

    Lets keep it real for a min. The people most vocal about the character designs and animation, I’ve been to your sites and its not pretty. So before you pick up a stone you should pick up a pencil and practice yourself.

    What is that supposed to mean?

    If it’s a personal attack against any one person here, comparing one’s own art style to something else they enjoy that’s better, I’d refrain from that. If I’m one of the accused in your statement, I’m all for constructive criticism (and am constantly trying to improve as an artist), but comparing one’s own art style, professional or amateur, to their own preferences in and appreciation of animation/design, good or bad, is a bit low. If people love the art style, despite their own being below-average (whether they improve or not), let them! Why take that away from them?

    If it were up to me, I’d have people be more inspired by something appealing like THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW over something unappealing like FAMILY GUY, and try to copy *that*. But that’s just me. Those who want to draw like FAMILY GUY can do so to their hearts’ content. But I’m personally trying to improve my own craft and raise my standards to those that still astonish me.

    Now, let’s get back to talking about THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW. :)

  • Chris

    I actually preferred what they did the first time they tried to animate this stuff about 5 years ago!

  • illustrated radio could be great… if you think of actual shows… like the day today…. mitchell and web…. the goons… round the horn….

  • I love it! Listened to it while working on The Cleveland Show and it made me laugh out loud in a dark quiet room.
    The animation is fun and designs great! Glad to see Ricky Gervais doing this with Wildbrain and HBO… here in CA…With fantastic talent.
    That makes me happy.
    What’s the problem??

  • david

    i like most of the designs, except the round head guy looks like a second-rate charlie brown as an adolescent.

    i wish it were fully animated and less chatty, but good for what it is. At least its not ugly like family guy. It’s a step in the right direction, that is at least it’s trying to bring back some appeal to character design in
    “these types” of writer-heavy shows.

  • Hey all,
    I’d like to start off by saying that I worked on the Ricky Gervais Show and I liked it a lot. I wasn’t familiar with the podcasts (believe it or not). So for me, I come from a different perspective, having been first introduced to the Gervais podcasts through the animated series. I can’t separate the two. Each episode gets funnier and funnier.

    Hopefully it will pull in a wide audience of people who haven’t heard the podcasts.

  • I’m interested to see more. This is a really difficult thing to pull off, and it works much better than I would have expected. Too bad I don’t have cable. Hopefully more will be available online after the original broadcasts.

  • Kev Castle

    Fantastic designs crafted around hilarious commentary. Gervais’ laughing fits are infectious, but just to sit and hear Carl Pilkington’s mad man ramblings then see them animated to life just makes it work even better. Poo on you who can’t get into British humor. You’re missing out on some good stuff.

  • Vincent

    I like Gervais and Merchant. But this for me laid flat, and came across as mean spirited. I’ll keep watching the hope it grows on me.

  • Daev

    Having seen the whole episode now, I find it way better than the short bits that leaked out earlier.

    It works well and the animation is great. Good job, lads.

  • Having the privilege to work on this show, I’m biest obviously :D
    But aside from that fact, its also good because it kept Animation Jobs here in the states! Love and support it for that if not anything else. I had a blast working on this show, from designs, to BG’s, to Animation all crew were awesome. Thanks for all support so far and keep watching! JOY!