ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Ricky Gervais's Netflix Series "Derek" May Just Change the Way We View Growing Old

Updated on September 11, 2014

I’m at that crossroad in life where I have one foot in my youth and one foot in my old age. I can look back and relive my recent successes, and I can look ahead to a time when others will have to care for me. I am a vibrant, youthful 60 year-old who feels grateful for this wisdom. As a recent retiree from a 36-year teaching career, I still have so much to do; however, I recognize the limitations of the time I have in which to do it. I am also at that age when caring for elderly parents is a reality. The pain of losing a parent is palpable. I can no longer ignore the need to research what is out there for my loved ones who will soon need round-the-clock care. My view of elder care, in general, has not been a positive one. I’ve always been afraid of ending up in a place where my old body and mind are neglected. And yet, one little British television show has come along to challenge my beliefs about growing old. Everyone should see this series because words simply aren’t enough. Hopefully, the following observations will compel you to watch.

Even in Our Advanced Years, We Still Have So Much to Teach. Bravo, Ricky, for giving us a fully-fledged autistic character who serves to underscore the beauty of our elderly. In one memorable scene, Derek, brilliantly played by Ricky Gervais, is sitting with one of the women he helps in this small, private care facility. She is napping and he is holding her hand. He tells the unseen documentary interviewer (the fourth wall is broken much like in the series “The Office”) that she is his favorite because she makes him feel special. Derek tells us that during their daily card games, she always tells him that being handsome and clever is not as important as being kind. Derek innocently says, “I am not handsome or clever, but I am kind.”

Our Lives Will Always Have Meaning. In one scene, after Derek’s festive 50-year-old birthday party given by the hilarious and kooky staff, the elderly residents are asleep in their comfy, living room chairs. They are simply too tired to walk back to their rooms after a lively day and night of music, dance, food and alcohol. When the camera pans the residents, a dream sequence appears over their heads. We see who these viable people were in their youth and how their lives touched others. I had to wipe away tears to see the screen clearly.

The Youth Will Gain a Kinder Perspective by Being Around the Elderly. Community service for potential young felons is a built-in feature of this rural care home (somewhere in the outskirts of London). Ricky Gervais writes some very poignant scenes that revolve around the hardened youths and the soft, sweet residents. The message here is that the elderly have the time and the patience to listen to others. By the time we humans live into our 80’s, there isn’t much left to judge or criticize because we have done and seen it all. The unfolding of how the bitter youngsters come to understand themselves by caring for others who love quietly and unconditionally is truly masterful.

There Are Kind Caretakers. Hannah, played by the extraordinary Kerry Godliman, is the quintessential combination of all things good in a care facility staff member. As a young, single woman with no children, Hannah dedicates her life to managing this care home. She loves each resident as if he and she are her own grandparents. Her tolerance for Derek’s disabilities is magnanimous. Hannah sees the inherent good in everybody and becomes everyone’s darling (even meeting her adorable boyfriend through his grandmother in the home). One of my favorite Hannah moments is when she head butts a cheeky young twit for making fun of Derek in a pub. When Hannah can no longer listen to one more cruel word, she quietly walks up to the mean girl and head butts her to the ground. Calmly, Hannah leads Derek out the door with her as he laughingly marvels at her spunk.

Our Golden Years Don’t Have to Be Sad and Depressing. Even though many of the elderly people in this series are probably retired actors, I’m sure there are a few who were plucked out of convalescent homes specifically for this show. The reality of living into our advanced years comes alive on the screen in up close and personal camera takes. It is fun and uplifting to see how the residents react to the antics of the outrageous staff members (the actors are utterly delicious in these roles). The chemistry just works. You can see how joyful the elderly actors are by being a part of this madcap series. It helps me to imagine that I might truly be as social and eccentric as I am now when I have to be cared for in my elder years. And, if my final living space is as nutty and loving as the place presented in this delightful show, then maybe death won’t be so scary after all.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • JEscallierKato profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeaninne Escallier Kato 

      4 years ago from Rocklin, CA

      Mary, I just retired so this show really hit home for me. You will love it; so sweet, so funny, so endearing! Thank you for your support!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      This sounds like the kind of show I would really like! Thanks! I have Netflix, so I just made a note to watch this one.

      I am also in my Golden Years, having to take early retirement (not my choice).

      Voted this UP, etc. and shared.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)