Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Idiot Abroad: Season One

Ricky Gervais sends his guileless, grumpy friend out into the world to see the Seven Wonders and films the hilarious results in this television travel program. Affable, artless bloke Karl Pilkington is sent by Ricky Gervais to exotic locals such as the Great Pyramid, Machu Pichu, and the Great Wall Of China, knowing full well Pilkington will hate ever minute of it. Pilkington's emotional range varies from unaffected to exasperated while riding camels, eating wasp larva, and suffering insomnia in lousy, noisy hotels. The series is well-filmed in HD, and there are plenty of fine shots of the various World Wonders, the hapless indigenous people Pilkington encounters, and the swarm of ants climbing over Pilkington's shorts as they dry on a branch in the Amazon jungle. While the landscapes are often lovely, the endlessly quotable Pilkington is the true star of the show, as he dryly muses on how the Great Wall of China is the 'All-Right Wall Of China' and compares it to the M6, or how he suggests the Egyptian Museum is the same as his Aunt Nora's house because 'there's too many ornaments'. I found myself laughing uncontrollably as Pilkington eats Pizza Hut at the Great Pyramid and seeks treatment for his travel-induced diarrhea from a guinea pig near Machu Pichu. An Idiot Abroad is a funny, insightful, warts-and-all look at the world around us from a traveler who'd just rather not go.

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