Originally going to be called “Karl Pilkingtons Seven Wonders”, the documentary (I use that term loosely) follows Karl into some of the most bizarre and hilarious situations with fantastic characters and fabulous quotes that although shock you with there shallow view, ring very true to the viewer who is shown a very “unattractive” view of things as Karl has to slum it around the world. Throughout the series Karl is constantly being wound up by repeated calls from Gervais and Merchant who offer “encouragement” and “treats” for Karl. Merchant likes to mention how he’s well traveled and that Karl is being very shallow but I’m willing to bet a few quid on Merchant not traveling in the accommodation or situations he put Pilkington in.To say the show was a success and the format worked is somewhat of an understatement. Taking a cue from Michael Palin and Alan Wicker traveling the world and giving the viewer an inside look at places they may never visit, Karl is ‘dropped’ into the locations to enlighten us all. Where things are different to Mr Palin and Mr Wicker is that Karl just doesn’t like traveling and sees Wales as a foreign country and holidays there frequently. His take on the wonders is both funny but also in some cases, probably true.
Starting his trip in China, Karl shows us the Great Wall of China and brilliantly compares it with the M6. During his trip he gets to see the weird and the wonderful that China has to offer including the fact that they tend to eat anything that moves. Scorpions on a stick we’re a particular favourite of Karl’s and the look of horror on his face was superb TV. Moving onto India for his 2nd leg he was to take in the Taj Mahal via religious festivals and naked yoga. When moving onto Jordan in week 3, Karl was treated to lamb’s eyeballs and testicles which went down very well with the Pickled Onion Monster Munch he brought on each trip along with his toilet rolls (don’t we all do that?). Moving onto Mexico in week 4, the highlight was a local firework festival where the locals quite literally run around setting off thousands of fireworks in the streets and the look of fear on Karl’s face as he tried to avoid them was a sheer delight for the viewer but not so much for Karl. He finally gets to see the Chichen Itza by the end of the program but he’s disappointed that he can’t buy any Mexican jumping beans in Mexico. Week 5 sees Karl visiting the Great Pyramids in Egypt where Karl is stood in disappointment looking at the pyramids while rubbish is blowing around his head (“You don’t see that in the brochure”, Karl points out). There’s an upside to Egypt though, Karl’s food problems are gone as he finds a KFC. The penultimate episode sees Karl arrive in Brazil to see Christ the Redeemer but the show is remembered most for the Brazilian characters on show and the Rio carnival. The series finishes in Peru to see the Inca site known as Machu Picchu. Finally, a fairly irrelevant 8th episode of Karl coming home that doesn’t really add anything to an otherwise superb series.
I’d highly recommend purchasing the DVD or Blu Ray disc which is released on November 15th, even if you’ve already seen the series. For anyone that doesn’t have Sky and buys the show, they are in for a treat.I don’t want to give too much away in this review as you really should watch the show, even if you’ve already seen it. It’s a hugely enjoyable adventure that take the viewer on a hilarious trip around the world with one of the most amiable characters you could possibly meet. Karl Pilkington is indeed an idiot, shallow minded and old fasioned (I’m being polite) people you could meet, but he’s also an extremely easy person to warm to and bearing in mind the conditions the man had to live in on his trip, it’s a miracle he isn’t mentally scared for life.