Derek is a British television comedy-drama written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais
. The pilot was produced by Derek Productions Ltd. for Channel 4 and aired on 12 April 2012.
On 9 May 2012, Channel 4 announced that it had commissioned a full series, which began airing on 30 January 2013. On 4 March 2013 (two days before the final episode of the first series was aired), it was announced that Derek had been re-commissioned for a second series.
The series became available for streaming on Netflix on 12 September 2013.
Gervais plays 49-year-old Derek Noakes, a care worker in a home for the elderly who has worked there for three years. He likes watching reality television shows and game shows and is interested in celebrities, fame, YouTube
, and above all, talking about animals. He is kind, helpful, and selfless, with good intentions. He is vulnerable because of his childlike naivety and lack of intelligence. He is ridiculed and ostracised, as well as being marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness, unattractiveness, and lack of inhibitions. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Many media sources describe him as autistic, although Gervais himself has always stated that Derek is not mentally disabled.
Contains the following tropes:
- Adorkable: Derek and Hannah.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Derek himself, who is stated not to be autistic but is certainly far below average intelligence.
- Amusing Injuries
- Asexual: Dougie, going as far as saying he'd cut off his genitals without a second thought!
- Author Appeal: Ricky Gervais has very clearly inserted a scene where Derek squeezes Dougie's head between his python-thighs for his own enjoyment. One of Ricky's favourite past-times is squeezing Karl Pilkington's head (which is shaped like a fucking orange).
- Dougie also has a number of moments where his rants sound suspiciously similar to Karl's own perspectives.
- At one point, Gervais addresses through Derek the idea that religious people have a monopoly on niceness. Derek observes that both religious and non-religious people are capable of niceness and nastiness and believes that the way people treat each other is more important than their religious beliefs.
- Gervais, known for being an atheist and actively speaking out against the existence of a God, subverts this with Derek himself, who is only uncertain that Heaven exists, but hopes that his Dad has gone to Heaven if it does.
- Aside Glance: Dougie, with some frequency.
- Both Sides Have a Point: Toyed with during the 2014 Christmas Special regarding Kev. When Kev nearly causes a fire in the home due to shambling around drunkenly while Vicky tries to cook as part of a demonstration for her latest course, Hannah is entirely in the right to demand he get out for good, but is essentially made to see Derek's perspective by comparing Kev to the residents of the home. While Derek is partly in the wrong because Kev is a lecherous, drunken liability, Hannah eventually comes around and gives Kev a strong "The Reason You Suck" Speech which makes it plain what his problems are and why he's going to get better. So both Derek and Hannah are painted as being in the right - Derek arguably being more emotional and Hannah being more logical about how many chances he has left.
- British Brevity
- Chew Out Fake Out: When Vicky threatens to shove Hannah's old schoolmate's head down the bog (toilet), Hannah quickly pulls her aside and says "don't you EVER shove her head down the bog without getting me to help you".
- Comically Missing the Point: Derek, who explains everything.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Derek.
- Cringe Comedy
- The Cynic: Dougie, who's resigned himself to his life.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tom and Dougie.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Derek misunderstands things a lot of the time, but he is devoid of malice and pretension and makes salient and succinct (if naive) points at other times about the benefits of kindness and being grateful for what you have. In the season 1 finale, Dougie says he'd rather be Derek than himself.
- Hidden Depths: Dougie is, at first glance, a jerk who doesn't care. Actually, he cares very deeply about Derek, Hannah and the residents.
- Insane Troll Logic: Series 2 brings us Geoff, who offers up a ridiculous stream of nonsense involving 'Humanzees' and their existence, and declares that there are goats with arms, which they use to 'milk themselves'.
- It Amused Me: Kev's motivation for just about everything he does, and what he does is usually horrible.
- Jerkass: Kev and Dougie. Special points go to the utterly despicable daughter of Lizzie, who doesn't care about her mother, assumes the carers are thieves and tosses aside her mother's precious memories just so she can add a wedding ring to her collection of gaudy jewelry.
- Whereas he initially just seemed like a complete moron, Geoff hits new lows in Series Two as he actively bullies and abuses the residents of the care home. He steals money, leaves them entirely alone, verbally abuses the residents and threatens to physically abuse and humiliate one of the older men who has had his hair grow back, by revealing it to be a wig for laughs. It takes one of the residents standing up to him and staring him down to expose him as a complete coward.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dougie.
- And later Kev. In the first series, he poignantly reflects on how he's glad to have Derek in a candid confession to the interview crew. In the second series, he actually drops the disgusting attitude to solemnly pat Tom on the shoulder after Hannah loses her baby.
- Kev has now seriously embraced this trope. In Episode 5 of Series 2, he makes a sculpture of Derek's favourite dog, Ivan, after Hannah and Derek attend Ivan being put to sleep due to having cancer.
- Mama Bear: Hannah to Derek and the residents.
- Mood Whiplash: Invoked constantly, since it's a Gervais piece and expected, alongside the standard things to make you cringe. The second series invokes this early and hard with silliness ranging from Kev's usual antics and the attempts to catch a hideously large spider, to the sadly deceased Lizzie's song playing for Derek at one point and over the credits, plus the sudden mood change when Hannah is reading Derek's list of things he'd like; There are things he wishes for including pills to make him smart and pills to stop people being afraid of dying, and then at the very bottom of the list, he wishes that Hannah could have whatever she wanted to make her stop feeling unhappy.
- Mr. Exposition: Derek, since he's the focus and it's a mockumentry.
- Naked People Are Funny: After falling in the pond outside and fearing hypothermia, Derek sheds his wet clothes in a panic and runs nude through the common room to the bewilderment of everyone there.
- Nice Guy: Derek is this entirely. He's selfless, sincere and sweet to everyone.
- Papa Bear: Despite his attitude, Dougie is extremely protective of the residents and Derek.
- Surprisingly, Derek becomes one when Geoff violently pushes Kev into an end table, causing it to break. Derek pins Geoff up against the wall with a single-handed choke hold lifting him off the ground, and only lets it go when he's assured Kev is okay. Derek then immediately breaks the hold and apologizes to Geoff for the outburst and goes right back into his general demeanor.
- Pet the Dog: After Joan dies, Dougie repairs the painting she'd asked him to fix and he'd earlier dismissed as 'shit'.
- Pornstache: Kev.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dougie gives a short but awesome one to Lizzie's horrible daughter.
- Before that, he also delivers one to the department worker desperately looking to save money by closing the Rest Home down, revealing just how much work Hannah puts in and how the department worker focuses just on money. The department worker leaves wordlessly after this - Dougie earns a round of applause from the residents at the home.
- Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe example - Once Dougie leaves early in series 2, Geoff assumes his responsibilities, but is thoroughly disliked by the staff and residents until late into the last episode.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Towards the end of the Season 2 opener, Dougie decides to quit his job.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Derek works at the home, but is seldom seen doing anything that could be construed as work.
- Wham Line: "He's dead," in the final episode of series two. It had been quite well foreshadowed thanks to the ill health of Derek's dad being shown on screen, but it still hits hard. It can be viewed as a real crowning moment of heartwarming, as Derek is naturally upset, but happy that his dad died content and happy with family next to him.
- A World Half Full: A minor one, due to the show's Slice of Life nature, but this is the general outlook of most everyone on the show. The employees at the home might be not get the best looking, or most charming individuals. They might not be rich, or have the most job security. But hey, in the end, they have each other, and they're all kind, honest people, and that's enough.