Derek is not a comedy

Warning: Spoilers for the TV show “Derek”

Last night I watched the last episode of the Netflix Originals series Derek. In my opinion, this show has been completely misrepresented. It’s not a comedy. That’s not to say that it’s bad. It’s a pretty good drama. However, it was marketed as a comedy, so I went in expecting it to be funny.

To take the last episode as an example, Derek meets his estranged father, who is an alcoholic and left when Derek was a baby. From what his father says, he doesn’t have long to live. At the same time, we see that one of the residents of the nursing home has alzheimers and can’t remember her husband, who still visits every day. Anyone who laughed at that would have to be psychopathic, in my opinion. How does heartbreak on two fronts qualify as a comedy?

It was all well acted, well directed and well written. A particular standout was Karl Pilkington, who’s not a trained actor but he was very good in the show. I enjoyed the show, but I kept waiting for it to be funny.

To rewind a little, when The Office was becoming popular, I tried watching an episode and just thought, “Well, this is just like my office. It’s more depressing than funny.” However, after a few episodes, the humour really hit you with that show. So I was waiting for a similar effect with this.

Ricky Gervais can write and direct heartfelt stuff. He’s good at it. Tim and Daisy at the end of The Office with the paints is a great example. So why sell this as a comedy when he’s so good at drama? I’m guessing less people would have watched it, but is that such a bad thing? If it’s sold honestly, won’t it attract the right people more than selling it as funny?

Overall, I wanted to give this a 4 out of 5. The constant waiting for laughs, however, dragged it down to a 3 out of 5. I’ll watch the next season, but I’ll have completely different expectations.


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