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Ricky Gervais Show Review: "Munchies" (2.13)

April 16, 2011  |  5:06pm
<Em>Ricky Gervais Show</em> Review: "Munchies" (2.13)

In many ways, these reviews have been as much ruminations about Karl Pilkington as they are about The Ricky Gervais Show. That’s only natural, since much of the show is about exploring his strange, nearly alien psychology. For the second season finale, we’re finally down to one of the biggest questions that underlies any discussion with Karl: what exactly would make the man happy?

In the first segment this is approached with a postulate related to the old brain in a vat idea. At least, it begins that way, but this is really more of a question about what Karl would change about the universe if he could do anything. The answer, it turns out, is maybe he’d give his girlfriend Suzanne a day off. Maybe. Also, he thinks that there’s a sort of weird metaphorical problem hole/ball/gene that everyone has, which I can’t even approach explaining. In all, it’s a great segment.

So Karl would do nothing to make himself happier, but what exactly does he do for enjoyment now? Apparently he just kind of sits around and occasionally eats munchies. He also has a load of issues ordering in restaurants for some reason. His enjoyment, it seems, is completely impossible for anyone else to understand. Was he always this way? Well, yes, when he was little his biggest wish wasn’t to fly or to be an astronaut or anything else. It was to be renamed “Brett”... which his parents were even fine about, but he was too lazy to maintain.

It’s an extremely focused, consistently funny episode but the last segment tops everything else that’s come before. While Karl claims to be content (despite possibly having serious esteem and depression problems), one thing we never, ever get to do is hear him laugh. A lot of why he’s always been such an odd individual is that whatever the circumstances, he’ll maintain his stoic silence. For the season’s big finale we finally get to hear Karl laugh.

In all, this season was an improvement on the first. Not that every episode was perfect, but its shift to using later podcasts had made for more thematically coherent episodes. The animation also took a real step up between the two and has only gotten better as the season’s gone on. It’s grown from something to keep your eyes interested into something frequently as entertaining as the audio. This all bodes well for next season, which I couldn’t be happier to hear has already been ordered.

Stray observations:
•“Sometimes I think things don’t happen for the best.”
•Wonderful animation when Karl bungie jumps.
•”You’ve got a problem hole in your head.”
•“He’s got a problem hole in his head, it’s called his mouth.”
•Most repeated line of the episode:“Shut up, Ricky, let him speak.”
•There’s sheer hatred in Karl’s voice when he says, ”I’ll just get in the tank.”
•What Karl wanted more than anything as a kid: “That me name was Brett.”
•Ricky’s name for pants: “genital coverings.”
•What made Karl look at a man’s penis? “Because I got bored.”

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