Hello Ladies, the complete series and Movie arrives on DVD this week. Here’s our review of the set!
The DVD set of Hello Ladies: The Complete Series and the Movie contains 3 discs (two for the series, and one for the movie.
Hello Ladies was Stephen Merchant’s first high-profile project after his celebrated creative collaborations with Ricky Gervais. Seeing Merchant on his own allowed fans to get a feel for his more abrasive, take-no-prisoners approach to comedy. His protagonist Stuart is not a nice man; he’s a Nice Man ™, and Merchant makes sure we understand that distinction. Every move that Stuart makes is calculated to gain something, usually in the form of favor from women. Making such a character the star of his own series was a brave move, for Stuart is not often kind to his friends, his assistant, or even to the women he dates. Nevertheless, there is an iota of hope for Stuart, and that is that occasionally, against all his natural instincts, he does the right thing. Sometimes, he DOES come through for his friends. It also helps that Merchant surrounds Stuart with people who are far worse than he: agents, producers, Hollywood insiders who treat people far worse than Stuart ever would.
Over the course of the first season, we see Stuart pursue his twin dreams of achieving popularity and attaining the girl of his dreams (in the form of a gorgeous model). His friends are- like Stuart- outsiders. Wade (Nate Torrance) has just been left by his wife, and he is having difficulty accepting his new situation. Jessica (Christine Woods) is a beautiful actress, but considered over-the-hill by the industry. As the season (and the film) continue, we understand that these three are bound together by their inability to accept the reality of their lives, by their pursuit of dreams beyond their reach. It is in many ways a dark and pessimistic perspective on life that few other series would even attempt to put onscreen. The lies these three tell themselves trap them within a cycle of perpetual unhappiness (and hilarious public embarrassments). In the end, however, Hello Ladies is not nihilistic. Stuart, Wade and Jessica have to come to terms with who they are and with the kind of life that will truly make them happy.
Extras include deleted scenes from the series and the movie, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the set, including interviews with the cast. Here’s an example:
If you haven’t checked out this short-lived series, the set is a good way to get all of the episodes, as well as the film. The extras are not numerous, so viewers might prefer a digital download from Amazon, iTunes, or HBOGo, instead. I definitely recommend the series. Due to his outsider status in Hollywood, both as a foreigner and as a non-actor, Stuart’s journey is full of biting and insightful observations into our culture and on the very nature of emptiness and loneliness. It is not a rosy comedy, but it is a funny one. Grab it for cheap on Amazon.