Of all the things Ricky Gervais enjoys doing — acting, directing, writing, taking pictures of himself in the bathtub – annoying his friend Karl Pilkington has got to take top billing. The first two seasons of An Idiot Abroad were based solely on this idea: sending Karl out into a world that he wants nothing to do with (left to his own desires, he would never have even left Manchester for London).
While most people would salivate at the opportunity to go to the places Ricky sent Karl (though maybe not in the style he went in), Karl has never had any interest in the Seven Wonders or traveling “anywhere you have to get a vaccination to visit.” His unique perspective though, and very real displeasure at some of the things he was asked to do, resonated both emotionally and with humor for viewers. It’s what Ricky discovered over ten years ago on their London radio show when Karl was just an unknown producer, and has continued to successfully bring to audiences in different mediums (books, podcasts, TV shows). But has the joke run its course? Hit the jump for my take on how this third season of the travel series panned out, with its new addition of Warwick Davis.
An Idiot Abroad is a BBC travel series dedicated to the seven wonders of the world and the culture that surrounds them. It isn’t a new idea. Dozens of shows have tackled the exact same subject using a combination of stunning photography and a charismatic, informative host which can create a rich, in-depth look at some truly remarkable feats of architecture and ingenuity. But Idiot Abroad offers something that none of those other documentary series has: a host who has no curiosity or interest in the subjects he is sent to cover. Karl Pilkington is the host (or presenter) of Idiot Abroad and is either an Andy Kaufman-esque performance artist or, more likely, a man with unbelievably simple tastes. Either way, his interactions and observations make this travel series extremely entertaining. Hit the jump for our review of An Idiot Abroad on DVD.
The trailer for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s newest television show is now online. An Idiot Abroad sends “Global Idiot” Karl Pilkington on a quest to visit the Seven Wonders of the World. It looks to be quite amusing and should appeal to fans of The Ricky Gervais Show and of Gervais’ podcasts, both of which feature Pilkington’s odd musings about the world. An Idiot Abroad is scheduled to premiere this month on Sky1.
The trailer and an official description of the series can be found after the jump.
Despite lackluster ratings, HBO has ordered a second season of The Ricky Gervais Show. Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming, told the BBC that it was renewing the show because it has “sparked a loyal and enthusiastic following that is growing steadily.”
The show adds animation to old audio from Gervais’ record-breaking podcasts. Also appearing with Gervais are Stephen Merchant, Gervais’ longtime collaborator (The Office, Extras), and Karl Pilkington, whose nonsensical musings have caused Gervais to dub him “a global village idiot”.
Gervais and Merchant’s first film collaboration, Cemetery Junction, will be released in the UK on April 14th.
A few days ago, I attended the press conference for Ricky Gervais’ new film “The Invention of Lying” at the Toronto Film Festival. While you usually have to wait for the stars to arrive, Ricky showed up a few minutes early and when I went to put my recorder down, I managed to ask him a number of questions about his next project with Stephen Merchant called “Cemetery Junction”. If you’re a fan of “Extras” or the British version of “The Office”, Ricky and Stephen Merchant created the shows together and “Cemetery Junction” is the first film they’ve written and directed together.
Anyway, he told me while filming only recently finished, they’ve already done a friends and family screening and it turned out quite well. He also called the movie his “Saturday Night Fever”. For more on the project and his new HBO animated series “The Ricky Gervais Show”, it’s after the jump:
There’s a reason that “The Ricky Gervais Show” is the most popular comedy podcast on the Internet: it’s hilarious. The popularity of Gervais and Merchant probably didn’t hurt in getting in noticed, but their endless jabs at co-host Karl Pilkington, who really is the star of the show. If you’ve never heard the program, all you need to know is that Pilkington is like all of Gervais’ dumbest characters combined. I secretly suspect that some traits of those characters were based of Pilkington.
Now Variety is reporting that HBO is picking up the series and turning it into 13 half-hour animated episodes set to debut in early 2010. I can definitely see their conversations lending themselves to animated romps as Pilkington describes bizarre situations and truths that never happened. Also, as Gervais makes sure to point out in every episode, Pilkington has a “a head like a fucking orange,” so that should be fun for the animators.
This will be Gervais’ third re-teaming with HBO after the network rebroadcast his BBC series “Extras” and aired his comedy special, “Ricky Gervais: Out of England”. While I anxiously await this series, I’m even more excited for Gervais’ upcoming film, “The Invention of Lying” (formerly known as “This Side of the Truth”) which is slated to come out this fall.