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"Ooh, look at me today, I'm entertaining whilst saving lives aren't I brilliant?": David Brent is Back

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | February 28, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | February 28, 2013 |

Britain is this crazy place. They’ve tea and crumpets (so they say at least, I remain unconvinced that crumpets are not entirely fictional), and those red-uniformed guards with hats bigger than the pope’s. And they’ve got universal health care and nationalized television of much higher quality than Americans have been led to believe is possible without a competitive market of several dozen networks of reality shows. This might just be selection bias, after all, we only pay attention to the good stuff out of Britain, and not the flocks of abysmal stuff that doesn’t have the wings to make it across the Atlantic.

And they also have random days of the year when new television episodes are broadcast even between seasons. That’s why we get these odd “1 year later” two hour episodes of “Downton Abbey” tacked onto the end of seasons. I mean series. Strange place. And then “Doctor Who” always a nice extra long episode between seasons series with some famous guest star we end up either adoring or loathing. I’ve at least come to terms with the idea that Christmas is special and therefore we get extra British television.

But now David Brent is coming back to us with a special on March 15 for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, which has the slogan “Who says famine has to be depressing?” So I assume it’s a charity that has to do with hunger relief, which makes sense because of the well known Rudolph syndrome that affects those in the final stages of starvation. Google it? YOU GOOGLE IT. I just want to talk about David Brent.

There’s a trailer up over on YouTube, but they’ve disabled embedding on account of being fasco-anarcho-communist twatwaffles. You can see it here.

The gist of the special is that David Brent has entered the music management business and hilarity ensues through his terrible management and constant attempts to push his own songs and dances upon clients. I really really want to like this, because David Brent was a fantastic character. Yet I am falling profoundly short of optimism on this pitched storyline. Brent’s appeal was in the fact that his delusions of grandeur were so at odds with the fact that he was a nobody in a completely deadend job in a dying industry. Taking him out of that and actually letting him be in the music business destroys the dichotomy that makes the character sympathetic. David Brent is only comically tragic when he is ultimately a failure. Allowing him into the field of his dreams is likely to just shift him to being an obnoxious buffoon by validating his delusions.

(source: AV Club)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.