Derek – Mockumentary with a heart.
Now I know that pretty much every single one of you (bar the hardcore Gervais fans) will have probably turned your noses at the sight of Ricky impersonating a mentally handicapped person. And undoubtedly many have jumped on the band wagon of reactionary outcry, rushing to the ‘twittersphere’ or comments section to slam his concept. But how many of you even gave it a chance? How many left their convictions at the door and actually watched the pilot? It vexes me something awful to see people go with their pre-conceptions against something that could very well become a new favourite. So I try to keep an open mind with things like this, even when the odds are stacked unfairly.
I gave ‘Derek’ the benefit of the doubt, and I was not disappointed. If anything I was touched by the story it told, a very real and down to earth portrayal of life in a retirement home. It was from a rather different point of view which if anything made for a tricky piece to digest, especially for our nation obsessed with political correctness, but after getting used to the characters I realised this was not a callous mocking of the disabled, nor a disrespectful stunt for publicity. If anything this was a salute to people like Derek and a touching reminder to the rest of us that we are humans, whether we are old and fragile, or handicapped and laughed at.
Yes the first section seems a little off, I thought it was cheap playing on the disabled gag, but it developed, and I realised the actors were playing serious roles. It was only a pilot episode, but I was impressed; I would definitely recommend watching it if you haven’t already.
My verdict overall – uncertain at first, but quick to warm your heart.