Ricky Gervais created an “An Idiot Abroad“Â by sending his friend Karl to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Karl is – if not actually an idiot – certainlty one of those hometown guys who’d be perfectly happy to never leave his local bar.Â I wasn’t sure how it would pan out. Sometimes Ricky Gervais is very funny, but sometimes he’s much too much. But it’s great: The show isn’t mean about him or the places he goes, and that must have been a hard balance to strike.
Here’s the thing: If you don’t see the point of travel, you’ll identify with him completely. But if youÂ love travel, you’ll identify with him completely too.
There are always those moments on a trip where things suddenly feel very, very foreign.Â Watching a movie in Flemish; surrounded by wolf spiders in the night in Belize; trying to get an Ace bandage from a Viennese chemist; reading street signs in Czech; looking at a plate with no idea what’s on it.
You sneak a peek to see how other people are reacting, but you’re completely off balance, and you have a searing realization that you’re very, very far away from home.Â This is a collection of those moments, and it manages to be interesting and endearing and very funny all at once. (DVR it Saturdays at 10 on theÂ Science Channel.)
For a decade or so, I lived for those moments. Seeking them out, dipping into the rush of them, reveling in getting on top of them and having another proof of my independence and self-reliance.Â Then I put myself in some situations that were less interestingly novel and more downright unsafe. After that, the thrill soured. That does make me a little sad – oh dear, have I got boring? – but it’s certainly safer, and even better, it’s opened up new doors. As Dorothy Gale figured out, you don’t always need to go halfway around the world.
In any case, as both an adventurer and not, I’m enjoying “An Idiot Abroad”, and I suspect you might too.
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