In episode five of The Moaning of Life 2, Karl Pilkington looked at ‘waste’. He looked at what it is, where it goes and what people do with it. We discovered how creative some people are today with waste.
The first time I saw this episode I was not that impressed by it. Whereas I had enjoyed every second of episode four when Karl looked at ‘the body’, I found this fifth installment rather boring. I can remember finding the first bit of it funny but after that I do not think I laughed once. It seemed a bit directionless to me. For example, I did not see any other point to him being submerged into about ten tonnes of human excrement at a sewage plant, other than just to make him look silly.
Before writing this review I decided I needed to re-watch this episode once again, just to make sure my problems with it were confirmed to me. I am so glad that I did because after watching it a second time I completely changed my mind upon how I felt about it. This time I did find it funny and amusing throughout. It was also more purposeful that I had initially thought it was. For example, at the start of each new section Karl explained why he was going to meet the following people that he did. I was right in that it was not as good as episode four, nevertheless as the credits rolled I had thoroughly enjoyed sitting all the way through it. All is good in the world now I thought to myself as it ended. I had not been looking forward to writing my first negative blog about Karl Pilkington, but he definitely still is the funniest man ever to come out of Sale, Manchester!
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO.
“It’s probably taking minutes off my life that, in it that, breathing that in”?
“I can definitely smell shit in here, I thought this helmet was like airtight? I can definitely smell shit”.
Karl’s first look at waste involved him visiting a raw sewage pump station in Mexico City. The idea behind this he said was to get us thinking about where our excrement goes, beyond us flushing the toilet and not giving it second thought. What made this section funny was that it was a rather basic set-up where he ended up. I mean the facilities did not seem very technological or advanced.
He agreed to be submerged into the raw sewage tank like one of the workers there had just been, to make sure no garbage was obstructing the pumps. I loved Karl’s apprehensive dialogue with the film crew just before he fully agreed to do it. He glanced at the co-workers there and started worrying that they did not look up to saving him should anything go wrong. We then got a funny reaction shot of these three sewage workers there all minding their own business, who all looked like fatter versions of Mr Bean. Karl’s journey in the sewage is what gave rise to that second amusing quote I listed. All was fine though and he escaped from his voyage into raw crap relatively unscathed.
Travelling back from the sewage station Karl came up with an idea that only he could. He stated how keeping the sewage moving these days was more important than the traffic. Rather than The Congestion Charge in London he said, why not have Boris(Johnson) come up with The Digestion Charge???? This first section of Karl looking at raw sewage was my favourite part overall of episode five.
ISLA MUJERES, MEXICO.
“Night cream, day cream, as if her face knows what time of day it is…..it’s the same stuff”
“It’s like Jurassic Park. It’s got a look of Rod Stewart about it, it’s got funny hair and a big nose”.
We next saw Karl visit a guy called Ritchie, in a place called Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Here, Karl looked at the issue of recycling waste. Ritchie had built an island on the water via the use of plastic bottles. He used the bottles as his foundations so-to-speak, then put and built ply wood on top of them. I think he said he had used over one hundred and sixty thousand plastic bottles in making his big structure.
The crew asked Karl if he used too many plastic bottles. In his answer he amusingly gave a reply that once again included an anecdote about his long-term suffering girlfriend Suzanne. He moaned how she used too many bottles of that Oil of Ulay stuff. He then gave that first quote I listed above, another brilliant Karl rant.
The other quotes refer to when he was building his own ‘floating accommodation’ for the night. He painted “Lifes Rubbish” on a flag that was then tied to the top of his new temporary home. Karl thought this name was very apt, even though there was then a funny squabble after about the first word not having an apostrophe in it between him and the crew. The Rob Stewart line came from him relaxing in his new home and then being scared to death after seeing a big pelican flying nearby. Karl thought it resembled Rod Stewart, wonder if he has been ever been compared to a pelican before?
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA.
“I don’t want him you know, turning into Mad Max and squashing shit on purpose”.
“I’ve got four things there as a tester to whether food is off or not. You know, my eyes, my nose, my mouth, the cat”.
“If you’ve got a cat or a dog and you’ve looked after it properly should you be allowed to eat it? You spent money on it, if anything it might stop animal cruelty because if you know you’re going to have a good meal when it dies, you’re not going to give it rubbish food”.
Karl met a guy called Alan who rather than buying his meat to eat at a local supermarket, he ate animals that had been run over by traffic(roadkill). In fairness to Karl he approached this subject with a very open mind. I like how he approaches subjects with no obvious clear agenda. In some ways his style reminds me a bit of that more serious British documentary filmmaker, the brilliant Louis Theroux. They let the action just play out before itself and then let the viewers themselves form an opinion/s to what they have just seen. Neither of them shove their opinions down the viewers throat and I this like this. Karl Pilkington is like the funnier, less intellectual version of Louis Theroux.
One of my favourite bits of the entire episode was when Karl said that third quote that I have listed above. Only he could come up with the idea that animal cruelty might stop if pet owners were then allowed to eat their own pets after they had died………GENIUS. I can just imagine the RSPCA doing a new advertising campaign and having this as they main slogan, ‘HELP END ANIMAL CRUELTY BY EATING YOUR PET DOG OR CAT’….or maybe not. Animal cruelty is obviously no laughing matter but I really did laugh out loud when Karl came up with this unique theory.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA.
“Baby Jesus he got gold, frankincense and myrrh didn’t he? The gold isn’t a bad gift, I don’t know what myrrh is, frankincense is just smelly shit in it? How old was he, he’s a baby? How long had he been in the world and already he’d managed to take up space with shit, that he didn’t ask for”.
In this part Karl looked at ‘hoarders’, meaning people who have trouble throwing things away. After watching this episode the first time, this section stood out to me by far as the weakest bit. I thought to myself that all we are seeing him do here is remove rubbish from a house, .i.e boring. In my second viewing though my verdict was much less damning. It was entertaining without being very informative I thought.
I would have liked to have seen him speak to the woman in question who was the hoarder. Karl asked his fellow cleaners what motivates a person to buy so much stuff, then guessed at the answer himself. It would have been interesting to have heard the hoarder answer that question instead. We got that people hoard stuff but never any real insight to as to why they do this?
“What am I doing kipping in a bin, in a town I don’t know, and people are wandering around with guns………Jeff didn’t say any of this”.
“It’s been one of the longest nights of my life that and it’s only been four and a half hours. I haven’t even had a shit, that annoyed me. It’s no good it is, it doesn’t work”.
Karl looked at the wastage of space and met a guy called Jeff who now lived in a skip. Jeff came across as a smart educated guy who had once lived in a massive house with lots of land, but now preferred this new much smaller abode. I would have liked to have heard more though about why Jeff had decided upon such a big lifestyle change. Was it purely because he hated wasted space and clutter in his life or was there more to it?
Game for most things these days it seems, Karl decided he too would try living in a skip for the night. All was going well until the delivery driver of his new skip alerted him to how rough the area was in parts. With this clearly in the back of his mind he quickly we went off the idea. Rather than being in a skip for the night he ended up in a portable toilet…….but he now had a LOCK most importantly. As the second quote indicates, the night spent in the portaloo did not go that well. Karl ended up a defeated man saying this lifestyle did not work. I thought this section was really amusing to watch.
“I mean this is how kids learn the colours now in it? I mean you know it’s not colours of the rainbow anymore, it’s wheelie bins”.
“I remember once a fella near our house, he was carrying a double bass and he fell over. Massive thing he had on his back and he carried it like a satchel. Fell over, couldn’t get up it was that heavy. It was like a, like a flipped over tortoise and you think, what you playing at”.
The last part of this episode saw Karl meet a group of young men in Germany called the ‘Groove Onkels’. This music group stood out because they used the wheelie bin as a musical instrument. In their eyes anything could been used to make music with.
I loved Karl’s thoughts and anecdotes about wheelie bins. The first quote really made me chuckle because he was so right, it does feel like wheelie bins are seemingly everywhere these days. I can remember the day when you just had one black bin and nothing else. As a person who once lived in a flat and shared wheelie bins with other residents, I really smiled at Karl’s rant about him having done this too. He explained how this woman used to save all her rubbish up and then fill up all the bins on the day they had just been emptied, thus leaving hardly any room for anybody else’s rubbish during the rest of the week. This used to drive me insane in my student days.
My favourite Karl Pilkington anecdote in this entire episode though, was without doubt the tale he told about once seeing a man fall over whilst carrying a double bass instrument(second quote). I just got this hilarious image in my head of this man on his back looking all tortoise like, with his arms and legs flailing around in the air. I also loved how Karl got somewhat vexed telling this story. Such an animated delivery of such a funny story made it all the more amusing.
Karl really hit it off with the ‘Groove Onkels’, he sort of like became their court jester whilst he was with them. He really got into it and it was fun to watch. It ended up with them doing a group performance piece at a local town square. By the time they had finished they got a rapturous round of applause from the pretty large crowd that had gathered around to watch. It was a good way to the end the programme. Karl was upbeat, the mood was upbeat and I came away having thoroughly enjoyed watching episode five………on the second and third occasions.
I am just thankful that I did watch this episode again to prove that my initial negative impression of it was very wrong. Yet again The Moaning of Life 2 was a BRILLIANT, ENTERTAINING WATCH! 4/5.