'Derek' Series 1, Episode 4 (UK Airdate: 20 Feb '13) // Words: Saam Das
I'm starting to think that Ricky Gervais has adopted a sneakily brilliant formula for his episodes - open in the dodgiest manner possible, introduce a despicable character, give said character their just desserts, and finish by basking in heartfelt triumph. This week's episode began with a dreadful autograph selling scene, followed up by wrestling. Thankfully, things soon improved. Especially when 'Steal My Sunshine' came on.
As Dougie (Karl Pilkington) noted we got "just more bullshit from Kev" - David Earls' character continues to be one of the worst TV characters of all time. Albeit managed to be the centre of one surprisingly hilarious joke about having the "worsest penis in the whole world". He also happens to be the worsest penis in the world.
The episode saw the old folk at the care home have a chance to go on a proper trip, visiting the beach with Dougie, Derek (Ricky Gervais) and Kev. Unfortunately for manager Hannah (Kerry Godliman), she had to stay behind to look after some of the other residents. Which brought her into contact with a rather unpleasant old schoolmate.
Gervais again succumbed to his love of a montage, which can piss right off, quite frankly. Elsewhere, the aforementioned schoolmate started talking about polo, which can piss even further off. I'm starting to suspect that Gervais based her condescending, uppity character on Samantha Brick. Regardless, she proved that qualifications aren't everything and fairly reflected that the business world is often full of genuinely selfish, awful people.
By contrast, the care industry is typically full of heroes. Even the returning Vicky (Holli Dempsey), a shoplifter who completed her community service at the home previously, offers more than these business types - improving the lives of others rather than worrying about profit maximisation.
Sadly, the world doesn't reward the Hannahs, Dougies and Dereks in the way they deserve but programmes like 'Derek' go some way to celebrating the dedication and care of these amazing people. And then there's Kev.
Watch 'Derek' on 4oD for a limited time. The series airs every Wednesday at 10pm on Channel 4.