I’ve been excited for this autumn to see what new television programs would fill the void of many great series that came to an end last season. One program I was especially excited about was a documentary orchestrated by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant called “An Idiot Abroad”. They send their friend Karl Pilkington on a culture-immersed tour of the Seven Wonders of the World. Sounds like a typical documentary but with Ricky and Stephen involved you know there must be a hilarious twist.
We all know that person so comfortable in their own bubble, resistant to anything foreign or unfamiliar and generally unwilling to try new things. Its the guy who refuses to check out that new Thai restaurant with you, or the girl who would rather go to Vegas for the umpteenth time rather than venture somewhere like Costa Rica or Italy. Karl Pilkington is one of those guys.
Ricky and Stephen realized how brilliant it would be to force Karl out of his comfort zone and immerse him deep in cultures outside of comfy Britain. Karl is the guy who probably orders chips and gravy from his local Chinese take away and this documentary has Karl welcomed to dine with a Chinese family where toad is the only thing on the menu for lunch. The great thing about Karl is that when he gets uncomfortable and frustrated, he is brilliantly hilarious. Karl vents to the camera thoroughly confused, dumbfounded and aggravated and often has me in stitches.
The first two shows had Karl first visiting China where he saw most of the Great Wall of China and also experienced Chinese public toilets, weird and wonderful Chinese cuisine and having his fortune told. Then he travelled to India where he saw first hand the squalid conditions many Indian people live in, takes an 8 hour bus ride to the largest religious festival in the world and visits the Taj Mahal.
The next instalment of An Idiot Abroad is this Thursday on Sky 1 where he travels to Jordan. If you get a chance to check it out, it is a must see!