Netflix Pix - An Idiot Abroad

from Nick Suss

March 7, 2014, 11:12 a.m.

There are a lot of great things to watch on Netflix. And as many of you know, I watch a lot of Netflix on the weekends. (Not on school days, that would ruin me.) So there are a lot of things I have seen or seen multiple times that I could easily talk to you about. So yeah. I bet when you heard I was doing Netflix Pix you thought I’d be talking about Cheers or The League or the Dick Van Dyke Show. Or maybe you thought I would talk about an awesome movie like Airplane! No. That’s not me today. I’m going to go with something a little less refined.

English TV shows to me are like movies. I can watch one episode and never need to watch a second. I watched the entire British Office in two sittings and haven’t touched it since. I just never felt the need to go back. I watched the first season of Fawlty Towers over winter break and just forgot to go back and watch the second season. These shows are some of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen (both of Netflix, by the way) but I never feel a need to rewatch or finish them.

But then An Idiot Abroad came to Netflix.

For some reason, the Science Channel ran reruns of An Idiot Abroad after SNL on Saturday nights last year. And when it was 2:30 in the morning and I was just looking for something to watch while winding down in the dorms, An Idiot Abroad was perfect. But many of you don’t know yet of the brilliance that is this show. So here’s a quick synopsis.

Karl Pilkington is not a smart man in the conventional sense. I only say conventional because Karl Pilkington might actually be the smartest man alive. If you have ever watched the Ricky Gervais Show podcast or the television show Derek (another show I watched one episode of and never returned to), you are undoubtedly aware of the power of Pilkington. But An Idiot Abroad is a completely different monster. (In that clip, skip to the 19:45 minute mark. Seriously. It’s all funny, but skip to that point. It gets hilarious.)

One of the things I learned watching the Ricky Gervais Show is that Karl Pilkington is so much better without context. Without anyone else to refute his ridiculous claims, Karl actually makes sense. Another thing I learned is that Karl Pilkington hates to travel. He absolutely abhors movement. If he could stay in one place for the rest of his life, I think he would be content. Which is why this show is absolutely brilliant. The gist of the show is that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant make Karl travel around the world and react to random things they throw at him from their comfy home back in England. That’s it. No script. No intentional comedy. Just funny reactions.

If you watch the first episode, Karl is so blissfully unaware of how wrong some of his opinions that they actually seem to be correct. For example, the guys send Karl to see the Great Wall of China in the show’s first episode. It appeared that Karl didn’t know the difference between the words “rebuild” and “renovate.” As a result, it seemed to appear that Karl genuinely believed that the Great Wall was built in the 1980s. Now, with no one to explain to Karl why he was wrong, I actually started to root for the fact that he was right. Because that’s how much of a lovable buffoon Karl Pilkington is. He is so funny that no review I can write can do his show justice. So I’m going to stop trying. Just watch it.

It’s on Netflix.

Don’t worry. Tyler will likely be back to his column next week. Binge-watch all of An Idiot Abroad. Just trust me.


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