When I first saw the previews for this show on the Science Channel (yes, I do occasionally watch the Science Channel...though not always by choice), I was a bit taken aback. I mean, isn't that kind of a mean-spirited title for a TV/reality show? And then I wondered, who is the poor idiot they suckered into being called The Idiot Abroad. It intrigued me. And I love being intrigued. So the Hubs and I knew we had to watch.
The premise of this show was hatched by funny man and actor, Ricky Gervais, and his friend Stephen Merchant. Ricky calls it "the most expensive practical joke I've ever done." Ricky and Stephen send their "uncultured" friend, Karl Pilkington to visit the 7 Wonders of the World. The goal being to open his eyes to different cultures, and to subject him to a bit of cross-cultural humiliation at the same time, it would seem.
During the first episode we saw, Karl was in the middle of walking the Great Wall of China. We didn't get to watch the whole episode, but what we did see was so funny to watch. There is something about Karl. He is really hilarious and just compelling to watch, and he has an incredibly honest and unique way of looking at things. Which is, no doubt, the reason they chose him to be the virtual village idiot. He's not stupid though, just very grounded and without an ability to put on airs. For me, that makes him very likable.
Last night's episode was seriously hilarious as Karl traveled to India to visit the Taj Mahal, and lots of other things along the way. Karl's reaction to the news he was going to see this wonder, that was built for a man's dead wife, standing through time as a testament to the power of love?
"Guilty. He obviously did something bad when she was alive."
He says this so matter-of-factly. It's so Karl, and so completely funny.
The Hubs and I were laughing out loud, in fact, as Karl watched a naked Indian wrap his penis around a stick and then tuck the stick up between his legs and under his butt cheeks. And yes, I'm freaking serious. If I'd had a beverage in my mouth as we watched it, the entire living room would have been wearing it at that moment. The Indian man calls it Yoga. Yet Karl simply turns to his interpreter and says, "I've never heard of that sort of Yoga." Priceless.
Then there's another Indian man Karl approaches, whose sitting outside completely naked, save for a pair of sunglasses, and whom he describes as looking like Jim Morrison. Karl finds it amusing that this man is wearing sunglasses.
"He was concerned about his eyes in the sun, but wasn't worried about, you know, sunburning his ass cheeks."
This is what I call truly must-see-TV. Though, honestly, I was thankful for the blacked-out-man-bits, where necessary...let's face it, some things are not-so-must-see-0n-TV. Here's a YouTube video I found with some highlights. Seriously. Take a peek.
We only saw part of one episode and were hooked from that point. We're definitely going to keep watching. Who knows what other experiences Karl might be in for as he travels the world in what can only be considered part science experiment, part social/cultural experiment,and part practical joke. We just know we wanna be there to see it. We're rooting for you, Karl!