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Here's to Louis Theroux!


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I've always enjoyed his documen-tays in the past but recently I've been able to catch up with some of his newest work and it has re-ignited my passion for what he does, in no small part due to the fact that I think they're some of the best he's ever done.

My personal favourite remains 'The Most Hated Family in America' - it offered insights into a world as far removed from our own as can be and evoked extremely strong emotional responses at all time.

Nevertheless, I was amazed by 'Behind Bars'. It must be his most hard-hitting and daring documentary to date, with Louis entering San Quentin prison and interviewing the inmates and jailers who populate it. I think the most amazing aspect was how honest some of the prisoners were regarding their own brutality and lack of scruples. Surprisingly it seemed that to most of the interviewees, prison was merely a way to enjoy free room and board for a few months. They were, it seemed to me, people who had cast off all responsibilities in their life and were at ease with harsh brutalities such as violence and murder.

Theroux himself is almost fearless at times and is inexplicably professional, even in the face of personal danger, but most of all I respect him for actually taking part in the world which he's documenting; be it spending his own money in Las Vegas or undergoing surgery in the plastic surgery themed episode 'Under the Knife'.

What's your favourite? What do you think of his style? What would you like to see him do next?

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He'll always live in the shadow of his dad's work and sometimes it kinda comes across in his demeanour. Either that or I'm reading too much into it.

Anyway, the wrestling one was the bestest. I've also been rewatching him on Dave but I find that I'm not as big a fan as I once was.

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I love Louis.

The last one he did was super-weak, though (the hunting one). It was boring and it said next to nothing. I recently watched Porn, which was ace, and the Thai-Brides one, which was also ace. In the latter he's amazingly cheeky to all the men - especially the guy with the big nose. He practically calls him a weirdo.

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To be completely honest, I found much of his new stuff slightly disappointing. They each had their moments, but I probably had them psyched up in my mind too much prior to watching. He, of course, unveiled some interesting characters and relationships (the pushy "motivator" woman and her bullied client, the short-tempered, smarmy plastic surgeon, the dodgy 50-odd year old German guy with the tits, the mad Jewish woman in the gambling episode, the crazy business guy who was in a trance as he played slots, etc).

I just feel he'd have been better served focusing more on individual characters within the scenarios, rather than the broader look that he took. The prison one springs to mind, and the plastic surgery one.

I think my favourite of his new work was indeed the gambling/Vegas episode. It reminded me most of Weird Weekends.

However, I'd say the show about the "fake" hunting grounds in South Africa offered the most food for thought.

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By the way, that put-on "cooling naivety" is an ideal device for getting all these fruit-loops interviewees to completely relax their guard and open up. They obviously fall for his trick and nearly always proceed to take a really patronising tone that betrays much of their character. It's good shit.

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There sure is a lot of stupid comments in this thread. Lets recap on the worst so far:

I think he's a smug, middle-class cunt.
He'll always live in the shadow of his dad's work
His cooing naivety aggravates me

This thread is an abomination. The man is a legend. The bit where that guy was trying to find out if he was jewish was pretty terrifying. So was that insane wrestling shit.

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I saw an advert in a magazine a few months ago saying that the DVD of the more recent documentaries would be out in October. I never saw it in shops. Looking on Amazon, it seems to have been pushed back to January 12th 2009.

Not that this last bunch of programmes is his best work. All of them were less inspired than his earlier stuff, though still very watchable of course.

I have all the Weird Weekends episodes that have been released on DVD -- that's 10 out of 17 of them. I suppose my favourites were Porn and Swingers, but that makes me sound like a perv. I liked the later one-off about the Nevada brothel too. I think his worst work was the "When Louis Met..." series, because it was too easy to follow known British eccentrics. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for Louis.

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By the way, that put-on "cooling naivety" is an ideal device for getting all these fruit-loops interviewees to completely relax their guard and open up. They obviously fall for his trick and nearly always proceed to take a really patronising tone that betrays much of their character. It's good shit.

Sure, I understand why he does it, its also protected him from being beaten to a pulp many a time, but I still find it immensely irritating.

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The 'Gangster Rap' episode was a personal favourite of mine. That Mellow D dude... What a legend.

Ahem... "Mello-T".

After watching that I desperately Googled him to see if he had a MySpace or something. No dice :lol:

He's probably shot his balls off.

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I love Theroux's shows. I even loved his book, which received a lukewarm response here as I recall. The most memorable scene for me was when he was talking to a homophobic survivalist about Are You Being Served, doing John Inman impressions.

I can't believe Louis Theroux, Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish were all mates at school. Can you imagine the horseplay those three got up to? Such japes!

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Ahem... "Mello-T".

After watching that I desperately Googled him to see if he had a MySpace or something. No dice ;)

He's probably shot his balls off.

We're all trying to get out this thang, man.

Well... I'm not actually in it.

Yeah... I seriously fear that the guy was lost in the New Orleans flooding :)

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I'm just watching Louis and the Brothel again. I think I want to go there and make my own version, but it'll be better, because I'll sleep with Hayley.

But seriously, it's a really good one. I love some of the Weekends just for the comedy (i.e. wrestling, rapping) but some of these more recent ones are good for a bit of a more serious tone. The Nazis one is awesome, and the prison one was great.

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