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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LIFE'S TOO SHORT Too Short

Article first published as LIFE'S TOO SHORT Too Short on TheTVKing.

At the end of season one of HBO's Life's Too Short, Warwick Davis (himself) is in a bad place, near bankrupt and divorced, having run away the girl he's into, and his professional career is sputtering. So it's nice to see an immediate bounce back from everyone's favorite dwarf in the finale special, which aired this week, with Warwick's business doing OK, the actor having reconnected with Amy (Kiruna Stamell), and a big opportunity being presented.

It karma is to be believed, Warwick is earning his success. He is finally being nice to others and putting his clients' interests first, and in turn, he is finding good things. It's a lot easier to root for this version of Warwick than the one we saw for the first seven episodes, and so there's a positivity here that is lacking previously. It's uplifting.

But this is a comedy, which milks suffering and sorrow for laughter. As such, it isn't long before Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (themselves) are warning Warwick that his dream of Willow 2 is a lie, and he is being taken advantage of by Val Kilmer (himself). Warwick works really hard, but he just fails, and that's the way it is.

There is something both depressing and poignant when Warwick decides to dissolve his agency and meets with his clients to deliver the news. Life is hard, something most people have to face. While a famous actor is usually considered immune from such struggles, Life's Too Short shows us that is not always how it is in a very relatable story. Warwick must face the truth, and through him, we do, too.

Does this mean that Life's Too Short concludes in a bad place? Sort of. The series is over now and we will never see Warwick make it back to the top. Yet, that is sort of the message conveyed here, that he will likely never be back on top. However, that doesn't mean he should quit trying, because life is all about the journey, not the ending. It's this insight that makes this special so much better than the original batch of episodes.

Besides series creators Merchant and Gervais and star Warwick, the rest of the cast from the show returns. Cheryl (Rosamund Harris) continues to play the clueless assistant, Steve Brody is the clueless accountant, and Bryan  Medici (Colin Hoult) is the clueless psychic adviser. Sue (Josephine Enright), Warwick's ex-wife also appears, but instead of being the same, as the others are, we see the side of her that worked in a marriage with Warwick, and what their relationship must have been like in the good times. They may never reconcile romantically, but they can continue on as friends.

There is also a really good subplot involving Les Dennis, Shaun Williamson, and Keith Chegwin (themselves). These are three men whose show biz careers are completely dead, until Warwick has an idea to resurrect them. The traveling act they put on is brilliant and hilarious. Yet, when they taste fame again, they are willing to cast Warwick aside to better help themselves. It's another lesson for Warwick, presented in such a way that it's hard to be mad at the men for making this decision.

Life's Too Short is more than just a funny show. It's a complex portrait of a man and an industry, of human nature and of complicated relationships. Everyone seeks their place and those who can help them achieve their dreams. Sometimes, you can do right by others, and sometimes you can't if you want to break the cycle of failure. There isn't right or wrong or good or bad in these situations. There is just life. And you can control your attitude towards it.

I wish the show wouldn't end so soon.

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