Writer: Ricky Gervais
Director: Ricky Gervais
Last week on Derek: Episode 1.03 Review
For the past few weeks Ricky Gervais's Derek has shuffled along lethargically, offering viewers little in the way of either comedy or drama, despite being billed as both. Unfortunately, episode four continues this trend.
Opening with Derek (Gervais), Kev (David Earl) and Dougie (Karl Pilkington) attempting to sell a selection of autographs in order to raise money to help fund the ailing Broad Hill Retirement Home (a plot line which will undoubtedly resolve itself in the final episode by virtue of some big, heartwarming donation or something), we are yet again treated to more Kev, who remains a puerile, one-dimensional counter-reaction to the otherwise saccharine cast.
As was the case with last week's episode, we see a lot of Kev this week. We see him in his heavily stained Y-fronts frolicking about on a beach. We see him writing "COCK" on a crab's back in permanent marker. We see him revealing a cyst on his penis to a disgusted Derek. None of it is funny, and it's a wonder how this kind of character was deemed worthy of featuring in a show crafted by the same man who brought us The Office's Gareth.
The gang are divided this week: Derek, Kev and Dougie take a few of the residents on a day trip to the beach, while Hannah (Kerry Godliman) is left to introduce a new resident into the care home and deal with her snooty daughter, Rebecca, whom Hannah used to go to school with.
Rebecca's talk of how everyone around her wants to have sex with her, and how her being an intelligent, strong woman leads to people being intimidated by her, sets episode four up for the same ending as featured in almost every episode of Derek thus far: in episode one Dougie told the care home's ignorant boss to "piss off"; in episode three Dougie told a deceased resident's careless and greedy daughter to "piss off"; in episode four, Rebecca's elderly mother pretty much says words to those effect, leading to Rebecca storming out of the care home and yet another moral victory for Hannah and the rest of the care home's workers
It's clear that Gervais intended for Derek to be an uplifing underdog story, but an underdog story doesn't really work if said underdogs are continuously the victors of each of their conflicts. Derek would have greatly benefited from an antagonist, such as the lingering presence of the care home's management from episode one, but as it stands there is nothing driving the characters from one episode to the next.
Derek's blandness can be summarised in one scene: a montage sequence, no less, which features clips of a reasonably sunny British beach and old people sitting down, all soundtracked by the musical equivalent of the colour beige, Coldplay.
Derek: for fans of Coldplay.
Paul Tamburro is the UK Editor of CraveOnline. Follow him on Twitter @PaulTamburro.