An Idiot Abroad
If you've missed the latest collaboration between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this is the perfect chance to get on board. Ricky (recently confirmed to return to host the Golden Globes) and Stephen send their sad sack friend Karl Pilkington out to see the world and make fun of him mercilessly as he whines and complains his way around some of the most incredible locales on our planet.
It sounds mean, and it is. But you'll only feel sorry for poor Karl -- who'd be happier at home in his flat with a cup of tea -- for a few minutes. then you'll be laughing too hard to care. This week, Karl takes the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train into China. Fans may remember Karl's feelings about the Great Wall from last season. He was, shall we say, unimpressed.
There is something inherently hilarious about watching Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant torture their dim-witted friend Karl Pilkington. The running mockery started on Gervais's podcasts, which were eventually animated and turned into HBO's 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' and then gloriously continued with 'An Idiot Abroad.'
The premise of the show is simple and delightful. Gervais and Merchant send Pilkington, the polar opposite of someone you might call a worldly man, on a series of adventures to distant, exotic lands. In Season 1, which scored record-high ratings for the Science Channel, Karl traveled to the 7 Wonders of the World, struggling with the food, local language and customs every step of the way.
In the trailer for 'An Idiot Abroad 2: The Bucket List', we see Karl looking at a list of 100 Things To Do Before You Die, lamenting that he has to tackle any of them. "If I was on my deathbed, there's no way I'd want to be climbing Kilimanjaro," he says.
"It's not things to do a few minutes before you die, it's things to do in your life," retorts Gervais, chuckling.
Check out the trailer after the jump.
According to Deadline, the Oprah Winfrey–fronted network has ordered six new episodes each of 'Ask Oprah's All Stars,' 'Enough Already! With Peter Walsh' and 'In the Bedroom With Dr. Laura Berman.' Viewers can also look forward to eight new episodes of 'Oprah Presents: Master Class.'
Joining OWN's lineup is 'Confronting ...,' 'I Owe You My Life,' 'Louie Spence Dance Project,' 'My Mom and Me,' 'Sweetie Pies' and 'Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal.'
The new unscripted shows run the gambit from dramatic to cute.
'Confronting ...' follows the mediation process between a victim and offender, and 'I Owe You My Life' tells the stories of everyday heroes. Look for campy dance antics on 'Louie Spence Dance Project' and an examination of mother-daughter relationships in 'My Mom and Me.' Former Ike Turner backup singer Robbie Montgomery and her soul food restaurant are the subject of 'Sweetie Pies,' a reality dramedy. Over on the other side of the spectrum is 'Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal,' which will tell the story of couples who have survived infidelities.
In other TV news ...
• Science Channel has given 'An Idiot Abroad' a season 2. Look for Karl Pilkington to tackle a bucket list during his world travels in season 2. [TV Guide]
• 'Big Love' star Jeanne Tripplehorn and Patricia Clarkson have joined Lifetime's 'Project Five.' The anthology series about breast cancer has celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore on board to direct. Tripplehorn will play an oncologist and appear in all five short films. [Deadline]
Apparently, Gervais had some difficulty (uh-huh) selling the proposed title 'Karl Pilkington's Seven Wonders,' and came up with a title that everyone agreed upon. "I want to run it by you," Gervais said." 'An Idiot Abroad'."
Pilkington did a slow burn, telling Gervais that wasn't what they had talked about.
"Yeah, but they were saying, you know, 'Who's Karl Pilkington.' "
'Well, who's the idiot abroad?' Pilkington inquired.
Karl, come on.
Thing is, they forget (yeah, right) to give him any advance notice of said schooling. Steve explains over voicemail, "There'll be a team of people who'll just jump out at you at some point when you least expect it."
The message is too late: Karl's already been kidnapped. They tackle him, cover his face and drag him into the back of an SUV, shouting and hitting him the entire time. He has no idea of the set-up, and the poor guy thinks he's actually being kidnapped. Let's hope Karl's "friends" are making such exploitation monetarily worth his while.
Thus it was a near genius idea when they approached British network Sky 1 to film a travel show with Pilkington at the center. Actually, it was Gervais and Merchant's idea. Pilkington, a proud homebody with no interest in the world outside his town, had to be talked into it.
Thus, 'An Idiot Abroad' (Sat., 10PM on Science) was born.
When I asked Stephen Merchant if he helped his friend and writing partner Ricky Gervais with some of the scathing jokes he said on the Golden Globes awardcast last week, he acknolwedged that he did, but "I'm not going to take any credit for anything, because I want to work in Hollywood again," he said with a nervous laugh.
Seriously, though, Merchant wonders why there's been so much hubub about Gervais' jokes. "If you can't make jokes about movie stars, I don't know who you can make jokes about," he told me yesterday. "It just seems like they are a perfectly legitimate, fun target, because they have won. They've won the lottery of life. They're the best looking, they're the richest, they're the most privileged. And generally speaking, in my experience, they can laugh at themselves."
Merchant and Gervais have a lot going on at the moment. In addition to their individual projects, they've got two projects on the air that revolve around their friend and podcast partner Karl Pilkington. There's the second season of HBO's 'The Ricky Gervais Show,' which started last week, which contains clips from the trio's famous podcasts rendered as cartoons.
Then there is 'An Idiot Abroad,' debuting Saturday at 10PM ET/PT on the Science Channel. In the documentary series, Pilkington is sent to exotic locations to see how a simple man from England with "interesting" observations deals with different cultures.
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