They’ve done it again. Made ordinary, idle conversation into something hilarious. It seems effortless to them, these three guys just sitting around pondering some of life’s oddities, and it’s more entertaining than the books and scripts that others spend months or even years working to perfect.
The Season 2 finale of “The Ricky Gervais Show” was delightful, start to finish. And I’ll warn you now: this post is FULL of spoilers. First up, the conversation revolving around the flotation tank. Stephen Merchant asks Karl Pilkington if he would choose to spend his life inside some sort of tank wherein he could live the best, most creative, most interesting and painless life imaginable. The only catch: it’s all happening in his head. His body never leaves the tank. Theoretically, he’d never know the difference. Kind of like “Inception,” only without the idea theft and all. And it got me wondering, would I do it? Reality is perception, they say, so what difference would it make? The best part of this conversation is that it somehow turns Ricky and Stephen into 13 year-old boys, talking about testicles for two solid minutes. At the end of which, Karl actually surrenders, defeatedly muttering: “Just put me in the tank.”
Also during this conversation, which lasts the first 10 minutes of the half-hour episode, Stephen constantly yells at Ricky to shut up, as he cannot hear Karl over Ricky’s incessant interruptions. I love Stephen more and more every episode. And nothing is as great as when he gets fired up, probably because he’s otherwise a mild-mannered, reserved type of fellow. The absolute best are the semi-rare times he busts up in genuine, from-the-gut laughter. I think I’ve developed a bit of a crush on him, actually.
The tangent about balls begins with Karl’s theory of the problem gene/hole/ball in people’s heads and how we need to fill it with problems. An interesting enough theory, and maybe a fragment of truth regarding the way many people need something to complain or worry about, but Ricky and Stephen quickly morph into their adolescent selves prompting Ricky to ask: “Does anyone have a pair of problem balls?” And off they go. This whole rant leads to my favorite part of the episode: a little animated doctor sticking his gloved finger up animated Ricky’s asshole! I had to stop and rewind because I couldn’t hear what they said over my own screeching laughter!
Worth mentioning: the only wish Karl could remember having during his childhood was to be called Bret instead of Karl. Ah, a simple man with simple dreams.
The second best part of the episode (and a true highlight of the whole season) is Karl giggling at the end at Ricky’s ‘erect’ joke. I don’t think he has ever laughed before. The little animated Karl cracking up in silent laughter is so, so, so cute! And for those of you without HBO, here’s that clip.
Though episode 8, “The Future,” is still my favorite of the 2nd season, the season finale is a very close second. And, thankfully, HBO has signed them for a 3rd season. I’m ready. Are you?