'Life's Too Short,' 'Downton Abbey' season finale this week - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

'Life's Too Short,' 'Downton Abbey' season finale this week

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Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 6:00 am

While working together on the comedy series "Extras," Warwick Davis shared with Ricky Gervais the trials of life when you're only 3-foot-6.

Davis uses a mop handle to reach high shelves at the grocery store. Strangers will touch him for luck as if he were a leprechaun. When he opens the door to his vehicle, he tends to fall out.

Gervais was amused by such odd tales. "They're comedy gold," Gervais told reporters once.

And those stories are now being used for the half-hour comedy "Life's Too Short" (10:30 p.m. EST Sunday, HBO), a faux reality show that follows Davis through daily life -- an out-of-work actor, a man in the middle of a divorce and a little person trapped in awkward social situations.

"Short" is the brainchild of Gervais and writing partner Stephen Merchant, who were behind the British version of "The Office" and "Extras." Gervais and Merchant also appear as versions of themselves.

"They've managed to kind of get inside of the head of a little person so well and so believably that I was thinking that's a scenario that should have happened by now, and I'm sure some of them will come back to haunt me," Davis says.

"It was always fun to sort of play out those scenarios, again, that had happened to me in reality and with Ricky and Stephen's added spin on those, which was so fantastic.

"And it's what made them so funny. You know, what starts as an amusing anecdote becomes hilarious once they get their hands on it and put it in the series."

"Short" also has its share of big guest stars, playing variations of themselves. Liam Neeson is showcased in an episode in which he needs Davis, Gervais and Merchant to help him break into comedy roles.

Johnny Depp uses Davis as a case study when doing research for a new movie role. He studies Davis' every move and humiliates him.

"I love the slapstick element to it," Davis says of the series. "I don't think we always see enough of that in comedy, so it was really fun to have that opportunity. And my life is quite physical anyway.

"When you are 3-foot-6, you kind of have to climb stuff now and again and find yourself in quite precarious positions just to manage in what is quite a big world.

"And so it's something to play all of that out as well."

Other highlights for the week of Feb. 19-25 (all times EST; listings subject to change; check local listings):

SUNDAY

-- "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox). Move over, "NCIS." Your paltry 200th-episode landmark is nothing compared to this animated comics' milestone: the 500th episode, in which Homer and his clan are booted out of Springfield.

-- "My Grandmother's Ravioli" (8 p.m., Cooking Channel). Comic Mo Rocca learns how to cook from this country's experts -- grandmothers and grandfathers -- in this new one-hour special.

-- "Downton Abbey" (9 p.m., PBS). It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the country manor as this two-hour episode brings the second season of the lush British period drama to a close.

-- "The Celebrity Apprentice" (9 p.m., NBC). Donald Trump and his hair are back for a new season of feuding celebrities who claim they are doing this show to raise money for charity -- and not to raise their sinking profiles. Clay Aiken, Lou Ferrigno, Penn Jillette and Lisa Lampanelli are among the participants.

-- "Big Rich Texas" (9 p.m., The Style Network). A new mother-daughter trio join the cast of this reality series, and that doesn't sit well with the other outspoken ladies.

-- "Khloe & Lamar" (10 p.m., E!). Khloe is the voice of reason, believe it or not, as her husband and brother-in-law clash over family priorities when the second season of this reality series kicks off.

-- "Eastbound & Down" (10 p.m., HBO). Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is back for a third season, and he's trying to revive his baseball career by playing for the team in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MONDAY

-- "Bethenny Ever After" (9 p.m., Bravo). At the start of season three, Bethenny learns that her "celebrity" comes with a price.

-- "Clinton" (9 p.m. Monday, 8 p.m. Tuesday, PBS). The "American Experience" history series looks at former President Bill Clinton.

WEDNESDAY

-- "Nature: Ocean Giants" (8 p.m., PBS). This special probes whales and dolphins in all their grandeur: sex, violence and emotions.

THURSDAY

-- "American Idol" (8 p.m., Fox). The semifinalists are named, taking us one step closer to the end. Hopefully.

FRIDAY

-- "Dance Academy" (9:30 p.m., TeenNick). This new drama series follows "a group of ordinary teenagers," as the cable channel calls them, as they step up to the challenges in the world of dance.

SATURDAY

-- "Gretl" (9 p.m., Syfy). Shannen Doherty plays a grownup Gretl who comes across a witch-hunting Hansel in this movie.

-- "2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards" (10 p.m., IFC). The best of independent movies is honored during this ceremony, considered the alternative to the Academy Awards. Seth Rogen is the host.

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