Life’s Too Short – TV Review


Main cast of Life's Too Short, Image credit British Broad Casting Company (BBC)

I don’t know how to feel about Life’s Too Short.
On one hand, it’s potentially offensive, pretty unoriginal when you get past the thing making it offensive, and uninteresting. But it’s also quite funny. Basically it proves that Ricky Gervais is still definitely Ricky Gervais.
A reality show crew follow actor Warwick Davis around and chronicle his life, placing the emphasis on him being a dwarf. So there are a lot of jokes about him being short, all on the line between irony and Victorian freak show humour. Aside from that, this is basically a more extreme and less developed Extras. We have an unsympathetic protagonist who is desperately looking for fame and suffers constant jokes about his unconventional appearance. This time he’s completely unlikeable and has no character arc, starting and ending as a failed celebrity with little self-awareness. We have a dumb blonde woman who offers support but is too stupid to be nice about it. Here, instead of warm hearted Maggie she’s Warwick’s assistant, far more stupid and far less caring. We have the socially awkward situations the protagonist is responsible for because of his own moral failings and which he makes worse through his inability to see beyond his own needs. Extras had actors cameoing as themselves; here half the characters are playing themselves, including Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. And the writing is exactly the same as everything Gervais has ever made; lots of depressing, stiff naturalism through repetition and exaggeration.
Ironically, it suffers sometimes from not being like Extras enough. Unlike the earlier show here there’s no emotional heart. Nothing and nobody to root for. There’s nothing that you want to happen.
Now I know it’s unfair to look at anything by comparing it to something else, but Life’s Too Short makes it impossible to do anything else. This is Extras. This is Ricky Gervais rehashing the same idea, and with only a shrewd superficial difference to hide it. Extras was great why would anyone watch this when they could re-watch that?

Life’s Too Short is available online from the BBC at


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  • Harry Parkhill

    I think you’ve totally missed the point of Life’s to Short! You say that all the characters are playing themselves here, that is so wrong! They’re playing VERY exaggerated versions of themselves, which makes it so funny! The fact that Warwick is such an immoral person makes the show even more funny yet somehow we pity him because he’s surrounded by people who are so stupid that it just makes his situation far far worse. Personally I think this is far better than Extras or The Office mainly because it is Warwick’s show not Ricky and Steven’s and he is a far better lead character than either!

    • Katie Cunningham

      Sorry, I didn’t mean that they were playing themselves, but the exaggeration is the same thing that they do in Extras, sorry, I’m only adding this here so that nobody reads this and thinks that I thought that, I’m not trying to be confrontational, sorry!