The Moaning of Life (2013) is a comedy travel program hosted by Karl Pilkington. This is his first production without Ricky Gervais. It’s available for $2/episode (5 episodes total) on both Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. The Science Channel will also probably re-run it at some point. There is also a companion book.
The first rule of watching The Moaning of Life: Do not go in expecting An Idiot Abroad. I made this mistake and after a couple minutes, I thought, “This isn’t nearly as good as An Idiot Abroad because it hasn’t got Ricky Gervais poking Karl with a stick and forcing him into the jungle with wild gorillas.” However, you’ll discover that Karl Pilkington is just as funny when he isn’t in agony. This series, which digs into different ways people around the world approach marriage, happiness, money, children, and death, is more educational and impactful than An Idiot Abroad. You yourself might not have made a decision on all of these topics, and so the show becomes less of how Karl Pilkington will deal with tricky situations like bungee jumping and more of the everyman discovering the answers to the questions we are afraid to ask, like “Should I get married? Do I want kids?”
Karl Pilkington is a TV presenter and the author of several humorous books on life. He used to produce the Ricky Gervais Show on Xfm, and starred in the podcasts of the same name. He now presents travel shows like An Idiot Abroad and The Moaning of Life.
Pilkington has been with his girlfriend for twenty years, but neither of them are interested in marriage. In episode 1, he sets out to find out why people get married. From being assigned the role of peanut caterer at an Indian wedding of 2,000 people to Las Vegas’ drive-through weddings, Pilkington gets the whole spectrum and is allowed to design a young couple’s wedding that will knock your socks off…and then wash them.
I’ve got to make sure the groom’s hat’s on straight. That’s when you know an event’s overstaffed.
Episode 2, “Happiness,” is sort of a place to dump a lot of other adventures that could have fit elsewhere. Pilkington watches pain-fetishers hang from their fish-hooked shoulders and even gets a little plastic surgery done to his face. He has the most fun dancing around as a clown. In a moment almost exactly the same as the TV doc Jon Richardson Grows Up, he meets a man who’s willingly homeless, and they spend the rest of the day dumpster diving. In fact, this series is basically Jon Richardson Grows Up with a bigger budget, more episodes, a wider selection of cultures, and no real intent (Richardson investigated all these things (except death) to find out if he’s ready to get married).
If you had five photos of anuses, I could not point mine out.
In “Kids,” Pilkington knows he can’t handle having kids, not just because of some robotic life-like baby, but because he accidentally bought a full grown turtle, which stresses him out. Nevertheless, we go through with the other investigations of children which range from a trip to the sperm bank, which results Karl in having to take a battery out of the clock to put in the remote so he can watch Japanese porn, whilst his pants are around his ankles; to witnessing a natural birth. The hiring of dwarf actors to play toddlers was a little weird.
I’m surprised that I won the race to the egg. I’m not a good swimmer.
In “Vocation & Money,” Pilkington lives it up in a beautiful hotel, but he’s not wild about eating raw fish off beautiful women. He meets the man who inventing the floppy disk, and in a highlight of this so-so episode, he becomes a model for a day. This is his moment of enlightenment: If even Karl Pilkington can be a runway model, there’s nothing you can’t do if you want it enough.
That’s why I don’t like champagne. As soon as you open it, the cork flies off. Pringles, they say ‘once you pop, you can’t stop,’ but they still give you a lid.
In the best episode, “Death,” this show paints a beautiful picture of what death is like for non-Western cultures. Rather than a time of grieving (although he does meet a hired griever and gives an impressive breakdown of what he would be like if Suzanne died), the celebrations of life in Ghana are wonderful. He even picks out a coffin for himself. He helps out at a funeral, helps paint a coffin that will hang on the side of a mountain, and meets a town of people who live at the cemetery. Like episode 1, Karl then gets to create his own funeral tradition based on what he’s experienced.