In the second installment of Extras, The Office co-creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant again prove dexterous with comic pathos; the punch lines are at once can't-breathe funny and freighted with resonant emotion.
Season two begins with what seems like a win: long-suffering background player Andy Millman (Gervais) has sold a sitcom to the BBC, and now stands on set as its creator and star. In true Extras fashion, however, the victory doesn't last long; though the network picked up his smart, workplace comedy, they soon turned it into a crass, wig-and-catchphrase nightmare. Determined to be famous for the right reasons, Andy threatens to quit, then self-loathingly decides to play along when he remembers the indignities of his old job. Meanwhile, his best friend, Maggie (Ashley Jensen) is still very familiar with life as a piece of human scenery, fighting daily for an ounce of screen time, all the while fending off hilariously inappropriate advances from Daniel Radcliffe and Orlando Bloom. She remains loyal to Millman even as his increasing fame sours his attitude; she stands by him as he (accidentally) offends the public by mocking a child with Down syndrome, and as he endures being labeled a fat sell-out by none other than David Bowie. While a BAFTA nomination for the sitcom arrives just in time to lift everyone's spirits, the ceremony nonetheless ends in catastrophe thanks to - who else? - Millman's agent, Darren Lam (Stephen Merchant), and a malfunctioning talking doll. The season rounds out as Andy's exhausting need for legitimacy drives a wedge between him and his friends, and leaves him to make a decision about his priorities.
~ Carly Wray, Rovi