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Posted at 6:58 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Ricky Gervais and pals wreak havoc, plug new show for Science Channel

By Lisa de Moraes

"Where's the science?!" one exasperated TV critic demanded to know of Science Channel general manager Debbie Adler Myers, in re the network's new show "An Idiot Abroad," in which "The Office" creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant force their former radio producer pal Karl Pilkington to take a trip around the globe the visit the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the rest of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Stephen Merchant, left, Karl Pilkington and Ricky Gervais star in the cartoon. (Nicola Dove/HBO)

Pilkington's the third voice in Gervais's animated HBO comedy series, "The Ricky Gervais Show," based on Gervais's popular podcasts, in which he and Merchant talk to, and marvel at the quirky comments of, Pilkington. Gervais described Pilkington as their "moron" pal.

"Science is about curiosity, it's not about scientists in lab coats stuck in a laboratory" Myers began to blah, blah, blah, defensively at Winter TV Press Tour 2011, when pandemonium broke out.

Pilkington, Merchant, and Gervais were attending the Q&A session via satellite from some room in London. Pilkington's earpiece, which enabled him to hear questions being asked by TV critics, broke off in his ear; he began to panic. Merchant tried to comfort Pilkington, while Gervais erupted in uncontrollable, contagious laughter. By the time it ended - happily for Pilkington -- critics no longer cared in the least whether this was a science show.

"Do you think of yourself as a moron?" one critic asked him.

"No. It does get on my nerves," he said of the tag given to him by his chums.

"People say it must be great being mates with Ricky, but it isn't. I'll tell you what it's like. When you get a dog it seems like a good idea at the the time, but it's a pain in the ass and it's [pooping] around."

Someone suggested all three men should have taken the trip.

"There was absolutely no chance of all three of us going," Gervais said. "It was a practical joke, a social experiment - my gift to the world. I can't get enough of Karl. I think he's the most fascinating thing on the planet. The Missing Link."

"I did hate it, but now that I'm back and it's all over, I think I got a lot out of it," Pilkington said dubiously about the trip.

"That's the science right here," Gervais boasted pointing to Pilkington. "How does it live for 30 years. We don't know. Let's ask science."

Pilkington was asked to describe the other two men who have dubbed him a moron.

"I always describe Steve as weird...when I first me you, the look of you, it was just a shock - the height," Pilkington told Merchant, who is very tall. "If I don't see you for a few weeks, it's 'Look at that!'

"With Ricky, I kind of think of him like an iron lung. You sort of need him but I wish I didn't."

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 6, 2011; 6:58 PM ET
Categories:  Winter TV Press Tour 2011  
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Next: Oprah Winfrey holds TV critics hostage at Winter TV Press Tour 2011


I wish we could see the interview.These three guys always make me laugh.Can't wait for the series on the Science Channel.

Posted by: kmjdu | January 7, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

You wouldn't have programming of the Science Channel dictated by advertisers any more than you would have America's economy run into the ground by hedge fund managers and Goldman Sachs. Oh, but this is Sarah Palin's America in which Business Is King and non-managers are dirt.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | January 7, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

All those Implosion Shows are scripted anyway. The contractor insists on have editorial rights in their contract. It's made to look like a documentary but its more docu drama. Same thing with the Nat Geo's "Blowdown" Series. They even misstate the height of structures to make them seem like "World Records". It's pretty pathetic.

Posted by: envcontractor | January 7, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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