If you have heard or seen The Ricky Gervais Show you have already met Karl Pilkington… if you have not, give yourself a real treat and watch An Idiot Abroad. Now showing on Science Channel here in the US, it has already run its full 8 episodes in the UK on Sky 1 and is now finishing here as well with only one more new episode left to air… but I’m certain they will be rebroadcasting this series for some time as well as releasing DVDs soon enough.
What is the show about, you ask? It’s about what happens when you have two puppet masters (Gervais and Stephen Merchant) sending the most provincial and socially inept person imaginable off to visit the New Seven Wonders of the World. Karl walks into each new cultural situation with naivete, lack of curiosity and zero desire to adapt. He does not appreciate art… history… natural beauty. Very little can permeate his tiny little world view… even with the world at his disposal. And the results are pure comic gold.
Gervais and Merchant set up all the arrangements and let Karl know his itinerary on a need to know basis… as in, you need to know immediately before you need to do it. And of course, the pair do not make it easy on Karl. They set him up in the worst accommodations you can think of and send him off on treks no other tourist would consider. And at the same time, they give Karl the opportunity of a lifetime and access to situations most of us could not get… and all he does is complain. Nowhere else will you hear someone refer to the Pyramids at Giza as, “a lot of shit… a building site…” Watch some of the Egyptian clips below…
He visits China (The Great Wall), India (Taj Mahal), Jordan (Petra… but great scenes in Israel as well), Mexico (Chichen Itza), Egypt (not one of the new wonders… but sending him to the Colosseum in Rome seemed too kind), Brazil (Christ the Redeemer) and finally Peru (Machu Picchu)… and in each new land he finds many wonderful and amazing ways to both embarrass himself and insult everything about the foreign culture he is in the midst of. And Gervais and Merchant keep putting him in worse and worse situations.
Here are some of the better clips from the China episode…
In last night’s penultimate episode in Peru, Karl vehemently refuses to do another season… he’s had it, he’s seen it all, he’s done. But I’ve also read that there are talks for a second season… The Bucket List. I for one will be happily anticipating what Ricky and Stephen can come up with for all new ways of watching Karl struggle with being a member of humanity. Check it out on Science Channel… see more clips at YouTube… if you are in the UK, get the DVDs… and get one hell of a great laugh at an idiot’s expense.
Happy for once that the idiot tourist isn’t American,
Cornelius J. Blahg