Ricky Gervais and writing partner Stephen Merchant struck gold with the original British version of The Office, and their latest sitcom, Life's Too Short, about a tyrannical dwarf who runs an entertainment agency, figures to be another hit, with cameos from the likes of Johnny Depp and Sting. But since Gervais' caustic monolog evisceration of his colleagues at the Golden Globes, accusations of insensitivity have colored perceptions of the self-admitted atheist.
So Gervais felt compelled to defend his upcoming BBC2 show (starring Warwick Davis of Willow and Harry Potter fame), and assure everyone that he's not making fun of dwarves. He told Britain's Absolute Radio Breakfast Show:
"This is nothing to do with his height. We're not getting jokes out of him being short all the time, we're getting jokes out of him being militant or ripping off other dwarves. He runs an agency, both in real life, and in this one. In this one it's called Dwarves for Hire and of course he's just ripping them off. He's getting all the best jobs for himself and he treats them like commodities and props. It's not the real Warwick Davis, he's not really like that. We've created a character here, a little Mussolini. And it's not all jokes about his height, it's much more about his character."
I like the idea of the exploitation table being turned, even if it is Davis' character exploiting fellow little people. Following a reality series like TLC's Little People, Big World, where individuals born with dwarfism were given rounded portraits and wrestled with such dilemmas as whether to dress up as elves, any show that departs from previous one-dimensional stereotyping of dwarves is a good thing. The only problem I have is that the lead role wasn't played by Peter Dinklage.