An Idiot Abroad



Uncomfortable cultural encounters show how NOT to behave.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show focuses on one man's inability to understand the cultural differences of others, and his narrow-minded comments are played for laughs. On the other hand, the fact that the series routinely mocks his narrow viewpoint actually supports and encourages diversity.

Positive role models

As the central figure of the series traveling the world to experience amazing cultures, Karl Pilkington behaves ignorantly in almost every situation.


Some painful scenarios -- fire massage, genital twisting, kung fu feats -- but nothing actually violent.


Some blurred non-sexual nudity.


Use of gateway language such as "damn" and "hell," as well as British slang such as "bloody," and "shat" -- occasional stronger words bleeped out.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedic travel series follows a sheltered, narrow-minded man in a journey around the world to capture his discomfort and ignorance for the sake of humor. Although his viewpoint is played strictly for laughter, kids may pick up on his perspective as a viable way to view the remarkable diversity and beauty present across the globe. For older kids able to understand the humor, the series presents a clever travelogue of some amazing locations with a healthy dose of laughter.

What's the story?

Seven years ago, actor/producers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant met a radio engineer named Karl Pilkington. Thus began a series of podcasts, books, and television series focused entirely around Pilkington's unique, closed-minded, frequently amusing view of the world. On AN IDIOT ABROAD, Merchant and Gervais send Pilkington to visit the seven wonders of the world with a camera crew in tow to capture his every inappropriate reaction.

Is it any good?


The past decade or so of reality television has given us some truly strange figures. Karl Pilkington may be the strangest. Stubbornly certain of his own narrow viewpoint, he speaks without thinking and delivers with such conviction that it becomes difficult to take him at all seriously.

To be fair, taking Karl Pilkington seriously is not the intent of An Idiot Abroad. Rather, show hosts and producers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant fully encourage the viewer to laugh at Pilkington by placing him in situations where they know his innate instinct for distrust and closed-mindedness will kick in. At first, you may feel uncomfortable at how merciless Gervais and Merchant can be in probing and prodding Pilkington. But Pilkington remains unblinking; whatever his views, however outlandish or unfounded, he has a quiet certainty that almost dares you to keep a straight face. It makes for supremely watchable television.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the show deals with stereotypes. Is it easy to laugh at someone who is unwilling to open his mind to other cultures beyond his own stereotypes?

  • Would you ever want to travel around the world and visit all of its most amazing locations? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of An Idiot Abroad was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byMini-Muppertal February 10, 2015

Fine for anyone age 14 or older.

Ridiculously funny. This is seriously one of the absolutely best things I have ever watched.
Teen, 14 years old Written bytidal9334 October 12, 2014

It's pretty good

I loved the first season, liked the second season, but didn't think much of the third season.
Teen, 16 years old Written byJerryTheKarktato April 7, 2012

Awful Review

Scouring for a 'positive message' amongst Karl Pilkington's comedy masterpiece, An Idiot Abroad, would be like leafing through a copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf in an attempt to source a xenophillic (is this a recognised term?) message. Pointless. I applaud the idea, Mr Springer, that children can sit down with their children and watch An Idiot Abroad, taking time out to discuss key issues such as stereotyping (bear in mind, however, that Karl Pilkington does not utter a single stereotype throughout the show). Perhaps these children could do this after they've been playing table tennis with cats on mars. Karl Pilkington is not meant to be taken seriously. This is a comedy. I don't want to respond ad homeum, but I think this dire review is deserved of such a response. If you truly believe, Mr Springer, the drivel you have spouted in this review; then you are more unintelligent, more naive and quite frankly more of a twonk than Karl Pilkington.


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