From aliens to swingers: Get weird with ‘Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends’
If ever there were a great journalist who delivers fascinating stories while getting involved in the lives of his subjects and simultaneously splitting our sides with laughter, it’s Louis Theroux. A national treasure over in Blighty, Louis has been keeping us entertained with captivating documentaries for over two decades, using his lanky British awkwardness to great effect.
Let’s serve up a ranking of the best Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends docs – while we like serious 00s Louis, we love fun 90s Louis (with all the adoration in our hearts).
“Born Again Christians”: S1E1
Highest on the list but definitely worth a mention, back in 1998 Louis travelled to Dallas to meet some born-again Christian evangelists. Doing what he does best, Louis disarms his subjects with his charms while inadvertently highlighting the absurdity of some of the evangelists and their somewhat extremist views.
Best Louisism: “Well, I hadn’t been delivered after all, which meant I might be facing eternity in a place called ‘Hell’. But then again, at least I could still smoke pot and go to gay bars.”
In his earlier films Louis unashamedly placed himself among nutty enthusiasts and fringe lunatics, an obvious example being his episode “UFOs”, which follows several people who believe the truth is out there (and when we say “out there” we mean the American south west).
One of Theroux’s interviewees is a man called Thor Templar – the self-titled “Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate” – who claims to have killed more than twenty aliens. Whether you believe in aliens or not, this episode is an absolute hoot.
Best Louisism: “I’m thinking very hard of a laser beam blowing up Liz’s head.”
Daring in his approach to break kayfabe by questioning professional wrestling’s authenticity, Louis takes his skinny, pasty body and battles it out (kinda) with a bunch of professionally trained, muscle-bound monsters. What’s not to love?
Best Louisism: “I’m a dying cockroach!”
“Gangsta Rap”: S3E6
In the final episode of his Weird Weekends series, Louis travels to America’s south to delve into the gangsta rap scene known as the “Dirty South”. To say he gets involved in the scene would be an understatement – we live for his attempt at a rap battle (try to watch the clip all the way through without dying of cringe).
Best Louisism: “My money doesn’t jiggle, jiggle.”
“Body Building”: S3E4
Not only does Louis get involved in the weird and wondrous world of extreme body building, but he also gets stuck into the female body building fetish scene as well as highlighting roid rage and the dangers of juicing. It was another perfect opportunity to juxtapose his unequivocally English bod to the greased up muscle men who can only be described as human tanks.
Best Louisism: “Look at those calves . . . amazing!”
This episode is actually far more serious and affecting than you might imagine. Taking a look at very different sides of the porn industry, Louis interviews both male and female porn stars and reveals the problems a lot of performers face, from straight actors having to do gay porn to the struggles of not being able to reach that money shot. Also, never forget Louis’s gay porn cameo as a park ranger – it’s an absolute delight.
Best Louisism: “You got wood yet?”
This episode is worth it for the swingers’ party scene alone. Watching Louis and his wry smile and pasty torso among a bunch of horny af dudes and dudettes is an absolute joy. Putting on his best non-awkward face, Louis meets a couple from Southern California who host swinging parties to find out what drives couples to want to swap partners.
Best Louisism: “I don’t know what I’m doing, that’s the problem.”
“Off-Off Broadway”: S2E5
In this delightful episode, Louis delves into the cutthroat world of Broadway, meeting the hordes of out-of-work actors in New York as they try to land a part. He even has a go at it himself, resulting in a collection of outrageous headshots (oh, Louis!) and even more cringe material.
Best Louisism: “I can see that you like running around naked in public places.”
“Looking for Love”: S3E5
Louis travels to Bangkok for this season three episode to meet Western men at a marriage agency for Thai brides. The documentary focuses on a Brit named Lake who’s after a Bride to offer his “love and affection” (and a few additional quirks), overall raising many questions about the industry that’s as shocking as it is bewildering.
Best Louisism: “I wasn’t quite sure what I’d just seen but I knew it was time for me to leave.”