It’s been a while since my last post. I’d blame it on laziness except that I’ve actually had a lot going on lately. Between moving to Chicago, starting school, and attempting to have a social life I really haven’t even thought about my silly little blog. Before I get into Derek I’ll give you guys a little update on my life.
Everything feels like it has come together too perfectly since I got here. Well, besides the actual move in process which was basically a circus act. But, first and foremost, I LOVE my roommate. She is the yin to my yang and we function perfectly together. Oh and today is our one month anniversary of living together! I’ve also made a lot of friends from school. I pretty much immediately bonded with a group of girls and it feels like we do everything together. A few of them are television majors as well which is absolutely perfect.
Also, I feel like I am surrounded by greatness when I am at school. Pretty much the same group of 14 people are in all of my classes and each and every one of them amazes me. Many of them took the time to look at my blog and talk to me about it– I just think that is so cool. I can’t wait to work with them on projects this semester and hopefully in the future as well.
My neighborhood is the bomb. There has been a different festival here every weekend since I moved in. Plus a weekly farmers market, awesome coffee shops and really lively bars. It’s the perfect 20-something neighborhood.
Okay now on to Derek,
So far a Netflix original series hasn’t done me wrong (unless you count season 4 if Arrested Development) so it only seemed right to give their newest addition a try. I will admit, I’m not usually a Ricky Gervais fan. It’s nothing in particular about him, I just don’t think he’s funny and sometimes he gets too preachy atheist for me.
Now I’m not sure exactly what the situation with Derek is in this show. They hint on him being autistic but never really diagnose him with any problem. To avoid sounding ignorant or offensive we’ll just say that Derek is different. Oddly, the thing that makes him really stand out is just how he is completely selfless. Every action he makes is an act of kindness.
I will mention that a comedy about a mentally challenged man is not something I would generally be okay with; But Gervais portrays Derek very tastefully.
The series is based around Derek’s life working at a small nursing home. It’s an interesting concept because you have this guy who is a little off but never fails to be pleasant and cheerful, and he’s working in an environment that most of us find at least a little bit depressing.
Every episode has this perfect contrast of funny enough to laugh out loud but real enough to make you cry. I found this to be very inspiring, as it is the kind of balance I try to achieve in my own writing. It is reminiscent of Gervais’ other work, The Office, with the idea of showing beauty within ordinary things. The two main characters, Derek and his coworker Hannah (played by Kerry Godliman), are both purely sympathetic characters. Their whole lives revolve around caring for the residents of the nursing home. And, as Kerry points out, caring for the residents doesn’t just mean giving them room and board… It means actually caring about them, sometimes maybe too much. Throughout the series we see Derek and Kerry touch the lives of many people, not just the elderly. There is a quote in the show that I absolutely love and it went something like, “you make a living from what you earn, you make a life from what you give” (I probably butchered it but you get then gist). Kerry then says that Derek earns nothing and gives everything. In the bigger picture, Derek becomes this symbol of absolute kindness. Personally, this forced me to look in the mirror and compare myself to Derek. As he would say, kindness is more important than being clever or good looking.
There are so many great quotable lines in this show, I may rewatch it just to write them all down. I think there are a lot of great universal messages in Derek. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry… You’ll probably watch the whole series in one sitting (only seven episodes). But you will surely come out if it with a new perspective. Maybe it’ll even encourage a few people to volunteer at a nursing home now and then.
Simply beautiful. Thank you Ricky Gervais.