An Idiot Abroad
The other day I was reading in Wired that the British channel Sky1 had produced a TV show about travel with Ricky Gervais. That sounded too awesome to be true!
- Soundtrack of the report
- Walk Idiot Walk
- The Hives
First thing I did when I came back home is to turn on Bittorrent and download the whole season 1. Yes, I did illegally download it, I admit that because I simply had no choice if I wanted to watch it. See, I live in France where I can’t get Sky1 and there’s no paying (or free) possibility to watch it online. And there’s no stopping me to watch a show about travel with Ricky Gervais.
Anyways, the TV show is called An Idiot Abroad and isn’t technically “with” Ricky Gervais. It is produced by Ricky Gervais and he does appear in the show (and you can hear frequently is fantastic laugh) but the show is about the travels of a Manchester bloke called Karl Pilkington. Honestly, after having watched most of the episodes I can say that the show probably wouldn’t be funnier if it followed Ricky Gervais around the world.
If you don’t live in England, you might wonder who the hell is Karl Pilkington? According to his Wikipedia page —even if I lived in London for 2 years I had no idea who he was— he used to be a producer on the radio show of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on Xfm.
“I don’t know the politically correct term for him. Moron, I think. He is a round, empty-headed, chimp-like moron. Buffoon. Idiot. And he’s a friend.” says Ricky Gervais about him. And now you understand why they sent him around the world see the 7 Wonders of the world. He’s definitely a fascinating character and I have yet to decide whether he’s naturally like this or if it’s an act. If he’s acting please give him an Academy Award, I’ve never seen such amazing performance!
The show follows Karl in different part of the world where he’s experiencing the local culture and traditions. You can understand straight away that he doesn’t like to leave his comfort zone and has a very particular outlook on the world. But I wouldn’t say he’s stupid and I’ve been amazed by his very pragmatic thoughts all along the show. And believe me, he talks a lot. He never stops telling everything that goes through his mind about what surrounds him and what he does. He looks constantly worried and never smiles which emphasizes the situations that seem tragic for him but hilarious for us.
The way he puts things is very down to earth and might show a very close mind but I think he’s actually sometimes very true. For instance in the episode 2 with the Babas in India, he keeps saying “why would you do that, I don’t understand?” while a Baba would tie his penis around a walking stick and start do weird stretching stuff with it. I guess the traveler Intelligentsia would probably be ecstatic about the power of the mind, yoga, will, blablabla… Call me a moron but just like Karl, I don’t see the point of torturing yourself like that. I don’t judge them and I’m happy for them to have life their way but don’t tell me to be amazed, sorry I just don’t get it. Sometimes I am an idiot abroad too.
Great new season 2 is on its way!
Spoiler alert: I’ve put below some of my favorite quotes from the first 3 shows so I don’t ruin the whole season for you. Don’t read further if you prefer to leave everything a surprise.
– When asked in front of the Taj Mahal —one of the most impressive building in the world— “you got any feelings coming up?”, he answers “stomach is bad”.
– About beauty products seen in a shop in India: “Cow shit soap?! It’s not needed. So not necessary in life!”
– After the locals in Petra told him they can get mail delivered to their caves: “I can’t believe that cause sometime I order stuff and it doesn’t turn up. And I’ve got postcode. That amazes me more than the Wonder. That you can get post delivered. I can’t believe that…”
– Standing in a cave in front of the The Treasury at Petra: “See, point proven. You better be living in the hole looking at the palace than living in the palace looking at the hole aren’t you?”