was a BBC2 show (1998-2000) about weird people and weird movements in America: UFO hunters, survivalists, white supremacists, habitual Vegas gamblers, porn actors, swingers, and so on.
It was hosted by Louis Theroux, son of writer Paul Theroux. A few days ago I downloaded a bunch of episodes of Weird Weekends from Google Video, and I have been enjoying them as much as any television I've ever seen. Even the ones I didn't think I'd be interested in (infomercial inventors) were fascinating.
Theroux is funny without being obnoxious, and his sense of curiosity is strong enough to make him ask potentially embarrassing but profoundly revealing questions of his subjects. The people Theroux interviews immediately feel comfortable around him because he is so friendly and non-threatening, which makes them open right up to him. (The only time I've seen anyone get mad at him was when he was interviewing a white racist skinhead family and he refused to tell them if he was Jewish or not.)
He also wrote a book in 2005 called The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures, where he goes back and visits the people he interviewed on his program. I just bought it but I'm going to hold off reading it until I've finished watching all the episodes.
Here are the videos I found (some are from later shows called When Louis Met... and another show called Louis and...). Each one is about an hour long, and you can download them to your iPhone or computer if you want to watch them offline: Survivalists, Neo-Nazis, Westboro Baptist Church, Porn Industry, Black Supremacists, Swingers, Body Builders, UFO Hunters, Apertheid Diehards in South Africa, Legal Nevada Brothels, Thai Brides, Gangsta' Rap, Hypnosis, Televangelists, Demolition Derby, Off-Off Broadway, Wrestling, Vegas, Enlightenment, San Quentin State Prison
UPDATE: Jesse Thorne of Maximum Fun interviewed Louis for The Sound of Young America last year. Here's the interview.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]