Monday, January 31, 2011

Flaming Stumble: An Idiot Abroad

I'd like to introduce a new feature for the Nose. I shall call it The Flaming Stumble. It's for the odd program we stumble upon and may never watch again, but recognize that its inherent weirdness might appeal to someone out there in television land. Hence, it's worth a shout out, however brief.

As my inaugural Stumble post, I'd like to recognize An Idiot Abroad, a strange little reality/comedy/travel program now running on (of all places) the Science channel. I don't actually get the Science channel on my too expensive HD Comcast line-up. I found the Idiot accidentally while sniffing around On Demand.

An Idiot Abroad features round faced Brit comic Karl Pilkington, as he travels to exotic places around the world. He's xenophobic, politically incorrect, mystified and miserable wherever he goes. His clueless persona has developed a cult following in the UK, as well as on XFM, and Gervais himself has proclaimed the hapless chap "the funniest man alive in Great Britain today". I watched an episode where Mr. Pilkington was sent to China, where he marveled more at the street food (roasted toad and scorpions on a stick) than the Great Wall. His head is as round as a billiard ball, and it is sort of riveting to watch him trudge through alien lands. Ricky and Stephen call him on a satellite cell phone occasionally to offer advice or howl with glee at his exploits.

Ubiquitous comic Ricky Gervais hosts An Idiot abroad along with his friend (and Extras regular) Stephen Merchant. He calls the show "the most expensive practical joke ever". The Science channel has buried it on Saturday nights at 10pm, where only the lonely, the curious and seekers of human oddities will find and love its eccentric charm.


Lisa said...

As you can see from our masthead, The Flaming Nose has been supporting AIA full-bore! If you've ever listened to any of the Gervais-Merchant-Pilkington broadcasts or watched the animated version on HBO, you will really appreciate their unique symbiotic relationship. Karl's hang-dog Manchester visage and his dark, hilarious and absurd points-of-view are priceless. When Ricky talks about Karl it sometimes sounds a little too mean to me, but that's the charm and there's no doubt that this trio of funnymen are compatriots tried and true. The Science Channel doesn't seem to have the episodes on their website -- weird -- but good to see them On Demand. Truly, their radio shows together (I found a bunch for my little IPod)are insanely great. Glad you put this post up before I did! An Idiot Abroad had been a sensation in Britain for a while and though I don't think The Science Channel is particularly the place for it, better there than nowhere!

Jane said...

Jeez, how long has that masthead been up there? I get an "F" for awareness, don't I? It must have at least had a subliminal effect on my consciousness, since I did have a vague sense that you had put it on the Flaming Nose radar screen, but thought it was for a post. Juggling way too many balls and spinning way too many plates at the same time for heaven's sake! Well at least there's a mention for these funny guys. It is a bit mean and sometimes I feel like shaking him because what I wouldn't give to travel like that if only I had the $$$ or time. Must be nice to complain your way through the Great Wall of China. If Karl hates his job...I'll take it!