Every episode of HBO’s The Ricky Gervais Show is hilarious. I have yet to see a half hour where I didn’t laugh out loud at least a few times. However, this week’s outing struck me as particularly good for a number of elements. Time to discuss.
First, Karl Pilkington somehow dances around a delicate subject without really being insulting. Stephen Merchant mentions that Karl should meet Warwick Davis, and Karl goes on a little tangent about short people. But while I kept expecting him to say something completely awkward, which he almost does when admitting how odd he would feel around ‘Warren’ at first, Karl is simply admitting what would be anyone’s first impression. His naivete is what allows Karl to get away with it, while most people can’t. That, and Karl follows up his remarks by justifying why he would much rather be really short than really tall.
Karl also makes me feel sorry for slugs. Who but him would complain about the natural favoritism humans give to furry animals over others? While Karl does not sway me into changing my personal feelings on the slimy creatures, he does raise an interesting truism that, while obvious, is rarely mentioned. My best guess is that because mankind used to be more furry, we still have quite a bit of hair, we identify with small, furry creates as we would our own young. Karl doesn’t offer this explanation, but complains about the treatment of slugs. Although, he also thinks slugs are insects, so I can’t give him too much credit.
Also worth noting is Karl’s poem, where he begins by mentioning a Chinese guy, then later corrects himself that the man is Japanese. Ricky calls him on it, pointing out that most people would just go back and fix the mistake. Not Karl. That’s not how he works. He probably didn’t even consider doing such a thing. Which is his charm.
My favorite part, though, is that Stephen actually tells a story about something that has happened to him. Generally, Stephen is the quiet one of the group, commenting, but not offering his own experiences. He is an excellent moderator, but rarely strays into full-blown character. That changes, as Stephen tells of his embarrassing experience outside of a night club. A bouncer recognizes him, but will not let him in.
Which made me realize something. While the main draw of this series is Karl’s, um, unique perspective on things, Stephen is the glue that holds it all together. Ricky is often aggressively on the offensive, probing Karl to discover what makes him tick, and calling him on anything he believes less than honest. Stephen sometimes does that, too, but mostly he reserves judgment. He is comparatively quiet with his opinions, though he does talk plenty, and seems like a genuinely nice guy. I have always respect Merchant, but I think that last night, I became a fan.
Watch The Ricky Gervais Show Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.