Hello Ladies was Stephen Merchant’s big chance to step out of the shadow of his co-writer Ricky Gervais and show that he is the funny one in the duo. It was always going to be a hard sell however as Merchant has never been the leading man but he got his big chance here, so how did it go?
Well, not very well to be quite honest. I think it says everything that Hello Ladies only got one season on HBO of all places, a channel known for giving shows a chance to grow into something. Quite honestly Hello Ladies wasn’t very good, it never got past being mediocre, it was supposed to be a comedy where I laughed a lot and I barely smirked. I did feel it was getting better as it went along but when you compare it to some of Merchant’s other work it really was very poor.
It isn’t so much that I didn’t like the characters because I liked Stuart and Jessica, it’s more that I generally didn’t like the premise of the show, it flat out didn’t make sense. Why is Stuart renting out a part of his house to some struggling actress? Surely if he can afford that house he doesn’t need rent money and clearly nothing is going to happen there. The other thing the show tended to do was make Stuart seem like a loser but too often he looked like a prick rather than a loser and I don’t think that was the intention and it hurt the show, I’m meant to sympathise with the lead not pity him. Too often I thought to myself this really doesn’t make sense and although comedies are often unrealistic it doesn’t help when that isn’t actually their intention.
I find it hard to not look past the reality that Stephen Merchant isn’t really a leading man, he’s more of the goofy sidekick. He was perfect in Extras as Andy’s weird agent and who doesn’t love him as the Oggmonster? The problem is that I don’t think he can carry a show on his own. He’s like ketchup, great as a compliment to meals but you wouldn’t eat it on its own, unless your one of those weirdo people. Stephen Merchant is ketchup.
The flop of Hello Ladies makes me wonder if Gervais is actually the talent in the group, before I remind myself that Gervais’ solo project Derek was also pretty bad, which leads me to think that they really are at their best when they are in a pair, before I remember that Life’s Too Short was also pretty dreadful… Essentially what I’m saying is that since Extras they really haven’t made a good show between them. Is it that expectations have been set too high? Is it that they had two good ideas between them and that’s it? Who really knows, but i’d like to see them put something good out which didn’t totally rely on the genius of Karl Pilkington.
Generally I would say that Hello Ladies was fairly poor, granted it was a while ago since I watched it but it didn’t make much of an impression on me and I do recall being very disappointed with what was produced. I know that they gave the show a movie to finish the series off, which to be honest is more than the show really deserved and almost certainly was because Stephen Merchant was the writer.
Anyway what did you think of Hello Ladies? Are you waiting for Gervais and Merchant to finally re-produce the magic as well or am I talking shit? Leave a comment and allow the interweb to know and don’t forget that you can find all the latest updates by joining the Facebook and Twitter pages because why the fuck not?