Saturday, 4 February 2012

TV Preview: An Idiot Abroad Series 2

Stephen Merchant, Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais in An Idiot Abroad
Following on from the success of the first series, An Idiot Abroad returns to Australian screens this weekend with series two: The Bucket List.

Starring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant (stars of the Office and Extras) and round-headed buffon (Ricky's words, not mine) Karl Pilkington, this second series follows the same winning formula from season one with Ricky and Steve sending their dim-witted co-star Karl around the world in search of broadening the mind and enlightenment, this time to complete an extensive 'bucket-list'. From swimming with dolphins to travelling across Route 66, the second series of An Idiot Abroad promises to be as hilarious and entertaining as the first in which Karl went in search of the seven wonders of the world.

For me, Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington are all comic-geniuses and witnessing the hilarity on screen would also suggest a great rapport amongst the trio when the cameras stop rolling. Originally meeting by happenstance whilst Karl worked as a producer at radio station XFM, Gervais and Merchant have embraced the unusual persona of Pilkington. Initially just a behind-the-scenes personality, the bald-headed Manc twat (again, Gervais' words not mine) had quickly become an integral part of the radio show. His deadpan delivery and the ever present ribbing he received from Gervais and Merchant made Pilkington a big hit with the listeners.

Throughout the show's brief airtime, Karl became something of a cult comic icon. Pilkington charmed audiences with his hopeless, ridiculous and often terrible quizzes such as "Rockbusters" and "Songs of Phrase" as well as his unique and warped outlook on the world around him. When the radio show wrapped up in 2004, the three continued their success by adopting the emerging trend of podcasting. Throughout 2006, the Ricky Gervais show (as the podcast was called) was ranked the number-one podcast in the world, clearly demonstrating a demand amongst the public for the trio's hilarious antics.

Ricky Gervais has often joked that one of his sole objectives in life has been to make his long-time friend into something of a reluctant celebrity, and so when the oppurtunity arose for the three to produce a show for British satellite network Sky, An Idiot Abroad was born. Shipping their 'typical middle Englander' all over the globe to see the seven wonders of the world (from the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the ancient city of Petra) the resultant show was comedy gold.

Completely bamboozled and befuddled by other cultures Karl's odd sense of humour sprouted numerous one-liners that had audiences in stitches. For example this blogger's personal highlights include Karl comparing the Great Pyramids of Giza to "a game of Jenga that got out of hand" or stating that the Great Wall of China should actually be called the "alright Wall of China". The increasingly out-of-place Karl hated almost every minute of making the show much to the delight of both Gervais and audiences the world over.

Entirely deserving on the popularity and success that it has attained, An Idiot Abroad is a lot more accessible than some of Gervais and Merchant's other works. While the Office and Extras often make you want to crawl into a ball and cry with the awkwardness, witnessing Karl's attempts at running from a dangerous Mexican firework festival or 'relaxing' on a nudist beach in Rio de Janeiro is priceless. Also, the introductory segments back in London where Ricky and Steve try to convince Karl of his journeying's worth is completely bonkers and often strays off topic almost instantaneously (leading to hilarious results).

Hopefully this series will easily recapture the hilarity of it's predecessor as well as up the stakes. Saturday's season première will see Karl embark on a  trip to New Zealand to bungee jump and to the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Other highlights that the series will bring us vary from whale watching in Alaska and meeting a gorilla in Uganda. Bring on the laughs!

 If your not then it's never too late to get onboard thanks to Karl's almost universal likeability. If your already acquainted with Ricky, Steve and Karl then watching (and loving) the upcoming second series of An Idiot Abroad will be an absolute no-brainer.


  1. Have to start watching this again, hilarious stuff!

    1. Yeah it is! I missed the latest episode though...have to find it on catch-up Tv...



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