In pretty much every way “The Fly” was a a typical episode of The Ricky Gervais Show. That’s not a bad thing, especially since consistency is one of the show’s high marks. After an episode or two you pretty much know what to expect from the entire series, it’s just a matter of topics that changes. Karl Pilkington will always be just as dumb and Stephen and Ricky will always be there on the side to navigate viewers through his thoughts, and there’s little plot or real substance to get in the way of humor. It’s incredibly simple entertainment, but it can also be particularly enjoyable since it’s not burdened with anything besides (unintentionally) surreal humor.
The two primary strains for the show are animals and human bodies, simply because these are Karl’s obsessions. As such, his ideas about these topics are also his weirdest. Karl has a need to anthropomorphize every single animal under the sun and also believes that the human body can be adjusted every which way imaginable. A good 75+% of his stories involve one of these topics or the other, and “The Fly” was no exception.
Ricky begins the episode by encouraging Karl to talk more about animals by simply telling him some odd animal facts and seeing if Karl wants to run with them. Unsurprisingly, he takes the bait and kind of rambles off on a few of these subjects, for instance telling us how his mom once stroked a bee and how his family had a pet fly growing up. But despite Karl’s affection for, and seemingly insane empathy with animals down to the level of insects, he also some some sort of weird dislike for some. What’s he have against seals, for instance? Or jellyfish?
“The Fly” was a more fragmented episode than most, but eventually we also made our way to weird anatomical issues. Twins switching their limbs, cancer coming out of the mouth, and having your penis replaced with a finger all are given discussion, despite how insane all of these ideas fundamentally are. Best of all is a sort of explanation for his ideas, which is to say that he has no idea what it is doctors actually do. In his mind they just kind of hang around, waiting for someone to ask for random operations to be done to their body so that they can do weird experiments. Every doctor, to Karl, is Frankenstein.
That’s kind of it. The episode never really picked up too much momentum since we were cutting around the podcast so much, but it was still perfectly enjoyable for what it was. While perhaps not the most memorable of the cast’s discussions, it worked well enough and had a few pretty noteworthy moments, such as the seal discussion and one of his childhood friends living in a hole. Not every episode can be a masterpiece, and this is a pretty good baseline for any show.
•”I’ve never heard of any fish having cancer, so why are we focusing on that one?”
•I really love Karl as a seal. That’s just great direction.
•Speaking of which, a seal is “between a fish and a dog.”
•Someone really needs to explain to Karl when exactly dinosaurs lived compared with humans, and the way their time periods never overlapped. Maybe give him a card to constantly look at that has this information for when he ignores it again.
•”It can get you down, can’t it, being a twin,” – apropos of absolutely nothing
•”That’s why they very rarely use any meat products in surgery.”
•”Again, a lot of your medical knowledge comes form the film Alien.”
•So about those racist caricatures. … umm… let’s not do that, please?
•Women shouldn’t eat too many knobs, “it’s a trend—it won’t last long, it’ll be like hummus.”
•”Jellyfish are 97% water, so why not give ‘em 3% more and just make ‘em water.”
•”I believe someone he went to school with lives in a hole. I’d be surprised if I walked around where he grew up if there weren’t more people living in holes.”