So Life’s Too Short has been steadily losing viewers, according to a report on Guardian online today. No surprise there. I think the series has been steadily getting worse; I would not have imagined that the first episode would be the best of the first 3 episodes.
So what is the problem with Life’s Too Short? I know there have been complaints from short people that it makes a mockery of them, and I think there is a slight element to that. It’s not really challenging perceptions of short people very well. “Warwick Davis” is obnoxious and not a likeable character, but he’s also very thick. Nobody would mug to the camera the way he does in the series. Nobody would hire such a stupid secretary. Anyone can build a better website than the one he has.
Channel 4 recently aired a series ‘Seven Dwarves’ which followed seven dwarf actors who lived in a house together, I think over pantomime season. I didn’t see any episodes but saw some of the trailers and adverts for it and I think we could all guess the storyline. Seven dwarves come together to challenge the general perception of short people – they go through bad times, they have relationship issues, they have successes and good times the same as others; they’re not really that different from you or I. I’m sure it was heartwarming and funny. Life’s Too Short is neither at the moment. The Office and Extras had some lovely touches, and some lovely relationships. Life’s Too Short has none of that.
The main problem so far is the use of the famous cameos I think. Liam Neeson, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter have not been very good at playing themselves. Although it is funny in principle for famous people to send themselves up by playing obnoxious versions of themselves, we, the viewers, all know that they are not playing to their true characters and it’s all a bit fake and not very funny. We’ve seen Johnny Depp on numerous chat shows, we know that he would not mimic a dwarf so absurdly. We know Helena Bonham Carter wouldn’t need to act against a bin to avoid looking at the face of Warwick Davis. We even know that if Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant found Warwick Davis so annoying then they wouldn’t let him visit them in their office all the time. Surely they have secretaries, if “Warwick Davis” has one?
Maybe the next few episodes will improve, but this show is never going to be great. The viewers know that by now and thats why they’re falling away. Life’s Too Short is not event TV. Thursday nights are no longer comedy nights on the BBC.