“An Idiot Abroad”

Ricky Gervais has a new TV show. Unsurprisingly at this point, it involves showing off how much of an idiot his mate Karl Pilkington is and getting us all to laugh at him making daft comments. Ricky and Stephen Merchant (tall, lanky sidekick) have already written and produced a radio show, a book and a TV show about the unfortunate mancunian, all revolving around Karl displaying his extra-ordinary dopey and moronic general knowledge.

This TV show (Sky 1, starts on 23rd September 9pm) came about after Karl described the seven wonders of the world as “a bit shit”. Ricky and Stephen were so outraged (or so struck by a sudden idea for making money at the expense of a monkey) that they decided to send Karl on a trip so see said wonders, broadening his mind and hopefully getting some funny ‘thick’ comments off him along the way.

I will probably watch the show: I may even laugh. But I do have two questions that I will be asking myself. The first is: does Karl know how thick he is, and if he does (and how could he not with two TV shows now made about that very subject), does that not prove the superficial, attention- seeking nature of the programme? And the second is: how many times can a person make a vaguely ill- informed comment about a monument, national treasure or philosophy before the deja- vu kicks in and we all turn off our TVs?

There are three pages for the show on facebook, with a combined fan number of 3,250. That seems tiny compared with the amount of facebook users, but I would expect the numbers to rise after the show airs. A search for ‘Karl Pilkington’ came up with 4 fan pages, the top one with 52,865 members, and the others with significantly fewer. The majority of these sites have quotes, users’ favourite episodes, pictures and a general enthusiasm for the show and the man, but a few contain derogeratory comments such as “I won’t be watching it, rubbish” and “Ricky Gervais trying to be funny as usual”.

I’m sure both my questions will be answered by watching the show; I am sure that I will watch it, and probably enjoy it; and I’m sure that its fans will outnumber by critics. However, I do have to express my doubt about the intelligence of simply laughing at someone repeatedly for being ‘slow’.

And my favourite quote from the show?

“The alright wall of china. It foes on for miles, but so does the M6”

I can’t argue with that.


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