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File:Coxy-ricky-gervais-extras-bbc-hbo 8556.jpg

Cringe Comedy Britcom by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starring Gervais as an out-of-work actor scraping by as an extra in the British film industry, with Ashley Jensen as his socially inept friend and fellow extra, and Merchant as his spectacularly incompetent agent. In the second season the story evolved as Gervais' character became the star of a popular but critically-reviled sitcom.

Packed a massive array of celebrity guests into its twelve episodes, and in fact the (officially untitled) episodes have often been referred to by names such as "Kate Winslet" or "Ben Stiller". Perhaps more impressively, the show has been extremely successful in getting actors to play versions of themselves who are incredibly conceited, or vicious, or vain, or stupid, or otherwise horrible human beings.

Concluded with a Christmas Episode, which gave it an identical run to The Office.

Tropes used in Extras include:
  • Adam Westing: Pretty much the sole purpose for any high profile guest star.
  • Adult Child: Bunny's daughter.
  • Author Tract: In the Christmas Episode. Andy Millman's breakdown on Big Brother and subsequent tirade against the empty pursuit of fame is expressing - nearly word for word - Gervais's own views on the subject as evidenced by many interviews.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • When a child extra in a war film trips up and ruins the shot by laughing, Ben Stiller snaps him out of it by asking how he would feel if he shot his mother in the face right in front of him. He even demonstrates with a prop gun.
    • Maggie in the Christmas Episode, who quits being an extra, moves into a horrible one-room flat, hovers near poverty and ends up bursting into tears in a Carphone Warehouse.
  • Break the Haughty: Andy being publically humiliated into admitting that he actually doesn't have the leverage to cancel "his" sitcom as a protest against Executive Meddling.
  • British Brevity: Just twelve episodes plus a Christmas special.
  • Camp Gay: Damon, the staff writer/producer for When the Whistle Blows. His campness irritates Andy so much that he mocks him behind his back, leading to an embarrassing confrontation. Also "Bunny" Bunton, the closeted theater director.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: One episode has Andy walk in on his agent masturbating to a pen with a naked woman's picture on it. His agent's secretary then comes in and takes the pen from him... and is also masturbating to it when Andy leaves.
  • Caustic Critic: Poor sitcom of Andy.
  • Celebrity Star: The show runs on this. Spoofed when Chris Martin gets an illogical guest spot on Andy's show. "What are you doing here, in a factory in Wigan? It's mental."
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Greg Lindley-Jones, Andy's Jerkass colleague. In the Christmas Episode, he rubs salt in Andy's wounds by achieving both of the things Andy wants and is bluntly informed he can never hope to have simultaneously: popular fame and a reputation as a serious and talented artist.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Daniel Radcliffe, of all people.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Warwick Davis gets violent when Andy makes a pass at his wife.
  • Cringe Comedy:
    • David Bowie's "serenade" to Andy.
    • Andy has a stab at theatre respectability by appearing in a play directed by Sir Ian McKellen, only to blow it big time when he can't kiss his male co-star in front of his manly school buddies.
    • The scene where Maggie tries to hide her beloved childhood golliwog doll from the black guy she's invited back to her flat has a shot at the title...
    • The scene where Andy tells Maggie to ask for his autograph in front of his attractive neighbor is almost unwatchable.
    • Les Dennis' incredibly pathetic appearance is exquisitely painful to watch.
    • Andy trying to pass himself off as a Catholic in front a room full of'em while knowing almost nothing about the religion.
    • Every episode has at least one sequence that makes you want to curl up and die, most notably Andy's attempts to worm his way out of visiting a terminally ill child at the hospital.
    • Robert Lindsay cringing himself with his narcissism in front of the same ill child.
    • Maggie confusing Samuel L. Jackson as Laurence Fishburne is hard to watch...
  • The Cynic: Andy.
  • The Danza: Parodied. Keith Chegwin's character in his guest appearance on When the Whistle Blows is renamed when he has trouble responding to Alfie, the character's original name.
  • Dirty Old Man: Patrick Stewart. He shows Andy a screenplay he's written, which is entirely an excuse to ogle naked women.
  • Dumb Blonde:
    • Maggie, who is constantly slow on the uptake and extremely socially inept.
    • Also Darren Lamb, who is utterly incompetent as an agent, but just smart enough for Carphone Warehouse.
    • Keith Chegwin definitely qualifies in his portrayal of himself on When the Whistle Blows. When he has trouble responding to cues for his character, Alfie, Andy decides that it would be best to change the characters name to Keith. Hilarity continues.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: As clueless as Maggie is, she's the one who allows Bunny's daughter to see how unhappy she is as well as the person to finally point out to Andy that he'll never be able to achieve enough to satisfy himself.
  • Executive Meddling: In-series; Andy's smart satirical show gets mutated by producers for mass appeal into a brainless Catch Phrase-driven piece of dreck. Andy's original concept is suspiciously similar to The Office, so When the Whistle Blows is a parody of what could have happened if it had been taken in the opposite direction.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Andy is definitely an asshole, but he is significantly less of an ass than those around him think he is. And he has occasionally shown himself to be caring, creative, and even tender (at least to Maggie)
  • Kafka Komedy
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Daniel Radcliffe clearly runs on this trope in his episode, given his desperation to get laid. He does claim to have had sex, although it's somewhat doubtful. Averted with Andy, who lost his virginity at 28 to a woman who looked like Ronnie Corbett.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Pretty much every celebrity is a lot nicer than the bastard versions of themselves they play here.
  • Method Acting: Deliciously parodied. Ian McKellen's acting method is to pretend to be like the person he is portraying, and imagine how that character would act in that situation.

  "If we were to draw a graph of my process, of my method, it would be something like this: Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian, action, wizard YOU SHALL NOT PASS!, cut. Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian.

  • The Millstone: Darren Lamb. And occasionally Andy himself.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service:
    • In one episode, Andy is able to use his newfound fame to get into the VIP area of a club, only to be thrown out when David Bowie and his entourage arrive. When he tries to get back in, the bouncer refuses because he's still never heard of him.
    • In the Christmas special, Andy's ability to get a reservation at the Ivy is used to indicate how his career is going at any given point.
  • No Title: To the episodes.
  • The Nudifier: Patrick Stewart wants to make a movie in which he plays a character with awesome psychic powers... that are used solely to cause women's clothes to fall off.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Shaun Williamson is called Barry by all of the characters except Andy.
  • Only Sane Man: Andy
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Happens in-show to Andy playing Ray when the futility of what he's doing saps his focus. Especially noticeable when Chris Martin cameos.
  • Pervert Dad: Bunny is repeatedly seen performing with his daughter in ways that make other characters cringe and look away. The fact that he's gay kinda averts this, though.
  • Pet the Dog: Greg is a grade-A asshole, but he didn't have to tell Maggie that she could apply for a supplementary performance fee (and in the same scene he makes Andy genuinely laugh).
  • Show Within a Show: Virtually every episode is based around the making of one, although Andy's sitcom When the Whistle Blows is the only one we actually get to see.
  • Smug Snake: Greg, who, though the show doesn't have any out-and-out villains, absolutely loves patronising Andy and making him jealous, and goes out of his way to embarrass him.
  • Special Guest: Once an Episode. As noted above, Chris Martin's appearance is specifically parodying this concept.
  • Straight Gay: The BBC producer of When the Whistle Blows, revealing himself as such after Andy insults the Camp Gay staff writer Damon.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Andy has his unlikeable side.
  • Waiting for a Break: Darren Lamb works at Carphone Warehouse on Saturdays as Maternity Leave cover, with the implication this is how he actually makes any money as he is a rather incompetent agent. Ironically usually it's agents who get people out of that situation, not in it themselves.