October 29, 2004

I'm so in love!.. with the BEST REALITY TV SHOW OF ALL TIME!

I watch reality TV. I like America's Next Top Model, Manhunt, American Idol, and the Surreal Life... but, last night, I saw the series premier of not only a fantastic and interesting (not to mention totally HOT) show, but what looks like it's going to be the BEST REALITY TV SHOW OF ALL TIME: Long Way Round. It's a show about Ewan McGregor, the hottest thing to come out of Scotland since Sean Connery (although I think Ewan is 10 times hotter than Sean ever was), and his best mate, Charley, going from London to New York City, on motorcycles, going East through Europe, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, flying across the Bering Strait, and then going through Canada to get to NYC... the "long way 'round". It's on Bravo, every Thursday at 7pm (PST).

Ewan, Charley and the bikes that'll take them around the world

Reasons this show is destined for greatness:
1. It's something that Ewan (one of my favorite actors - can you tell?) and his buddy randomly decided to do without - of course - fully realizing what it would entail and how hard it would be just because they love motorcycles so much. I didn't know that about Ewan and, although I usually don't have any respect for or attraction to motorheads, I find that incredibly cool and hot because Ewan's into it.

2. It's not the scripted, ultra producer-controlled reality TV that's out there right now. In most shows, the producers set up situations and tell people to say/do certain things that manipulates the reality and creates drama just as much as it captures it. In "Long Way Round" Ewan and Charley are really going through some inhospitable, unpredictable, dangerous places, often with no other escort than their camera man. They'll have to take their bike where there are no roads, where the girls at the Russian embassy told them people were sent as punishment since it was believed they could never survive in those areas. They'll have to deal with people who aren't particularly excited about Brits riding through their country with camera gear, rivers, snow, mud, animals, road rash, broke-down bikes, crashes, injuries and each other! I watch DVD special features to hear Ewan talk about his experiences on the set, but this is 1000 times better since it's a weekly TV show where Ewan will tell and show us all about his trip around the world. I can't say enough good stuff about the premise of this show and the clips of things to come.

3. Not to spoil the fun, but they make it! (would they have aired the show if they hadn't made it?) If you go to the website, you'll see that they do make it all the way to NYC despite whatever they encountered along the way. I find this to be incredibly inspiring and I can't wait to "go with them" on this incredibly journey and then see them succeed. Fantastic.

So, in the first episode, Ewan and Charley set up an office to prepare for their trip - and it's filming. They not only have to get all the necessary information about the places they'll be traveling through and all the visas, boarder clearances, etc, but they also have to get a camera man that can handle the trip, motorcycles, helmets, tools, supplies, support vehicles (for the crew) and the necessary training and level of fitness to pull of the adventure.

At first, Charley wants a company called KTM to provide their bikes because they're made for endurance riding, but the company backs out on them because they fear Ewan and Charley won't make it (giving them no advertising benefit). However, BMW, which was Ewan's first choice anyway, provides them with bikes that can handle the long distances and the off-roading they'll have to do. Over time, more sponsors sign on and the guys get all the gear they'll need for their trip.

They have meetings with Kazakhstanian, Mongolian, Russian and Canadian ambassadors and representatives to get the necessary travel permits. All of the reps seem to be trying to dissuade the guys from going through their countries by describing all the dangers, the vastness and the difficulty of going into those areas. The Kazakhstanian and Russian people are concerned the guys have no real concept of how vast their nations are, or how desolate and rugged most of the land is, whereas the Canadian representative goes on and on about how there are more bears in certain parts of Canada than people.

To deal with these and other issues, the guys go through extensive physical training (to up their stamina, strength and self-defense capabilities) and off-road motorcycle training at a special BMW training camp, as well as extensive "hostile situation training" (in case they get attacked or captured), emergency medical training on everything from broken bones to gunshot wounds, wilderness survival training, and mechanical training so they can fix anything that could possibly happen to their bikes in areas where there isn't an autoshop for thousands of miles.

At the end of the episode, the guys finally start off on their journey. Charley's wife and kids cry, but Ewan's family isn't there because he doesn't like to have his children filmed so they all said goodbye at the house. They showed clips of what's to come during the season and it looks like some compelling stuff - accidents, injuries, boarder problems, bad weather, flooded rivers, fallen bridges... I can't wait to see the rest!

0) $paginate_current_page = 0; $paginate_sections = array( 0 ); $paginate_top_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page-1]+1; $paginate_bottom_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page]; } else { $paginate_top_section = 1; $paginate_bottom_section = 0; } $paginate_self = '&' . $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'] . '&'; $paginate_self = preg_replace("/&page=[^&]*&/", "&", $paginate_self); $paginate_self = substr($paginate_self, 1, strlen($paginate_self) - 1); if($paginate_self == '&') $paginate_self = ''; else $paginate_self = htmlentities($paginate_self); $paginate_self = basename($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']) . "?${paginate_self}page"; ?> Posted by Kristina at October 29, 2004 10:28 AM

dammnit! i didn't know it was airing so soon...i have absolutely no interest in the show beyond the fact that hot little Ewan is involved so i HAVE to watch. i'm gonna go set up my DVR right now.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 29, 2004 10:33 AM

I still say my idea is better: naked Ewan sitting on a couch.

Other ideas: naked Ewan walking around, naked Ewan on a beach, naked Ewan applying lotion...

On second thought, maybe my idea is just "Naked Ewan" and each episode will feature him doing some new, sexy thing naked.

Naked Ewan shopping...

Posted by: Renee at October 29, 2004 10:40 AM

holy crap, that's amazing. the bike thing, not the naked thing.

Posted by: michele at October 29, 2004 10:47 AM

Hey, I think the naked thing is just as amazing as the bike thing. If you don't, you must not have seen the boy naked before...

Posted by: Renee at October 29, 2004 11:51 AM

have. and it's amazing too. but biking around the world? that's incredible.

Posted by: michele at October 29, 2004 11:54 AM

All I'm saying is if given a choice of tv shows, I vote naked on the couch.

Posted by: Renee at October 29, 2004 11:58 AM

or you could just rent most of the movies he's been in and see him naked that way....although a full hour a week of Ewan naked would be good for the soul.

Posted by: adrienne at October 29, 2004 12:12 PM

There was naked Ewan McGregor in The Pillow Book, wasn't there? Naked Ewan McGregor with Japanese writing all over him? That's some hotness.

Posted by: Dianna at October 29, 2004 12:33 PM

Ewan is like the male Charlize Theron, in that he's naked constantly, even in films that don't seem to require nudity at all like "The Cider House Rules". She is slightly less likely to ride a motorcycle across Siberia, however.

Posted by: sean at October 29, 2004 01:29 PM

I KNOW!! I saw this show last night and loved it SO much that I considered posting about it, too. I honestly was grinning from ear to ear almost the whole time. Cute, casual Ewan, motorbikes, accents, what else do you need?!? Well, naked wouldn't hurt, but I wouldn't count that out yet. I love Ewan's affinity for nudity.

It was fucking great.

Posted by: kati at October 29, 2004 03:00 PM

Yes, naked Ewan is an extremely good thing and I, for one, would watch the Naked Ewan Show religiously. This is, however, exciting in another way since we'll probably have to witness Ewan (or Charley, or one of the crew members) in grave danger and in real-life challenging situations. For me, a man's willingness to throw caution to the wind to do something cool (but in a well-trained, well-prepared manner) and tenacity is almost as appealing as seeing him dance around naked on stage, covered in glitter. Almost.

Posted by: Kristina at October 30, 2004 11:43 AM

They are taking a TV crew along, so I'm not sure you're really dealing with "grave danger". I'm sure it's cool to ride a motorcycle around the world, but filming it for a vanity TV project has to take away from the inherent danger and coolness of it. It's a TV program, you know?

Posted by: sean at October 30, 2004 12:48 PM

Well, that's just it-
If you watched the first episode, you'd know that their original intention was to go alone - and just video it so they'd have a record of the trip. As they began actually planning and realized that they might need help, they figured they might as well make a deal out of it, end up with a really good record, and see if they couldn't get some sponsors (like KTM or BMW) to give them bikes and stuff. They didn't set out to make a show.

So, it turned into quite a project, as dealing with all the different visas and the unmapped terrain was harder to actually do than they thought. Plus, the first episode deals with how challenging finding a cameraman - who they both liked, and who could ride the trip and film as well - really was. Ewan and Charley have handheld cameras, too, and a lot of the first episode had that kind of footage.

I honestly can't tell you how cool this show was, and part of that coolness lay in how real it seemed. It was a lot of fun to watch them doing what they were doing. I'd be happy to show you my tape so you could see for yourself.

I really would be surprised if someone watched this show and then didn't like it.

Posted by: kati at October 30, 2004 02:07 PM

What did you think of "Down With Love"?

Posted by: sean at October 30, 2004 03:01 PM

The crew cars will have 2 men each and also have non-essential, yet very useful things to help the guys a long the way. Ewan, Charley and the cameraman will be by themselves most of the time, with the crew cars mirroring their route, but going through much safer, friendly and well-paved areas. The guys will meet up with the crew periodiically to get fresh batteries and tapes, as well as the use of heavy-duty mechanical or medical supplies that they can't carry on their bikes. It's easy to disparage others and to assume that reality TV shows are all at the same level of fakeness, but what really inspired me about this show is that it's NOT like other reality shows because Ewan and Charley are runing the show, not some jackass producer, and there are things that no one can plan for or help them out with on a trip like this... not even the diplomats representing the countries they're travelling through. The fact that it's a celebrity doing this makes it more interesting because it's not just some Joe doing it for a million dollars or to lock in his 15 mintues of fame.

Posted by: Kristina at October 30, 2004 06:40 PM

Oh, I didn't particularly care for "Down with Love", but I still own it purely because Ewan's in it.

Posted by: Kritsina at October 30, 2004 06:51 PM

i never quite made it through Down With Love but that does not diminsh my love for the man.

Also, rumor has it he's in talks to star in Guys in Dolls on the West End in London which means I am making a weekend trip to see this gorgeous man singing onstage.

Posted by: adrienne at October 31, 2004 04:48 AM

I'm sure it's an entertaining reality show, especially if you love Ewan. I think that I just have a different idea (definition?) of what "grave danger" is. I will also concede that he is indeed a gorgeous man.

Posted by: sean at October 31, 2004 08:47 AM

I don't know. In the shots of upcoming legs of the trip, there were certainly a couple of things that I would define as pretty grave. Ewan gets hit by a car on his bike. A minibus flips over for some reason, trapping people under it and causing someone to scream "Oh my God, Oh my God." The team gets harrassed by Khazakstani gansters. All of those things are considered, by me, to be serious.

You're lucky - you've got that devil-may-care attitude which gives you a different definition of danger; one that allows you to throw caution to the wind and frees you to jump out of airplanes, or off bridges with elastic strapped round your ankles, or to have unprotected sex with Sinapore sex workers, to run with the bulls, jump in tiger cages or eat salad in Mexico.

Oh, wait ... you don't do those things.

Posted by: kati at October 31, 2004 04:21 PM

Sorry I offended you by doubting your friend Ewan's bravery. You weren't the one who mentioned "grave danger" at all, but I've obviously struck a nerve here. I hereby withdraw any and all objections to the assuredly excellent program, by virtue of my inexperience with trans-Russian biking and sex workers.

Posted by: sean at October 31, 2004 05:28 PM

And, obviously, I haven't seen the show, so who am I to be spouting off? no one, that's who.

Posted by: sean at November 1, 2004 02:43 AM

Oh my god, Ewan gets hit by a car? I mean, I'm all for reckless endangerment, but I don't know if I can hang with reckless endangerment of a piece as fine as him. If he were gone...well, I think that would bring the sum total of men-I-find-attractive down to a paltry 1, and that 1 is a jerk I don't talk to...

Also, I liked Down With Love. I watched it a few times (mind, I had nothing to do and they kept running it on Showtime) and appreciated the trying-to-do-something-different-ness of it, even if it lacked the full-frontal.

Posted by: Renee at November 1, 2004 08:23 AM

The singling out of the phrase "grave danger" made me think of this exchange from "A Few Good Men" (1992):

JESSEP (Jack Nicholson): I ordered Markinscn to have Santiago transferred off the base immediately.

KAFFEE (Tom Cruise): Why?

JESSEP: I felt that his life might be in danger once word of the letter got out.

KAFFEE: Grave danger?

JESSEP: Is there another kind?

Posted by: Kristina at November 1, 2004 08:52 AM