Since I was a kid I’ve been watching shows written and starred by the great Ricky Gervais. The first Ricky Gervais movie I saw was called “The Invention of Lying.” Somehow as a 12 year old kid, I could hear the comedic genius underlying this work and knew I had to see it.
The movie imagined a world in which the action of lying was something that had to be discovered. In fact, the concept of lying was virtually inconceivable in this world. The first person to conceive of this thought was the main character Mark whose life felt meaningless and dull, and who’s traits seemed unspectacular in every way (he was an underdog). The overarching moral taught by the movie was that achieving one’s life peaks means less when they become possible through illegitimate means. In other words, making one’s dreams happen using morally apprehensive methods takes some of the joy out of the achievement.
Following the work “The Invention of Lying”, most of Gervais’ other works use the same underyling structure. There is a character who has seemingly been brought down by life (whether they’re damaged, in pain, or they’re expecting pain), but they somehow find ways to appeciate the subtle joys in life in the end. Gervais explores not only the nature of human suffering with these works, but goes the extra mile in an effort to discover the human condition. To discover what is it that makes us tick. Why is it that we wake up everyday? Why is it that we don’t kill ourselves everyday? Why do we continue to live life even though everything sucks?
Everyone you love will either lie to you, leave you, or betray you at some point and even with this knowledge we live. We all know that we were born just to die, but even then, we live on. “What’s the fucking point?” is the question we should be asking after all this. We shouldn’t enjoy life if it’s most likely just going to end horribly should we? Honestly i don’t have the answer to any of these questions. And Ricky Gervais? He doesn’t have concrete answers either, but he does propose potential solutions through his medium of storytelling, and his style of capturing realistic and relatable human profiles of all walks of life.