Louis Theroux – The City Addicted to Crystal Meth | Grizzly Bear Face-Off: Austin Stevens' Adventures | Engineering Britain's Superweapons | Girls Aloud: Out of Control | TV Review

For Louis Theroux, life is just one big awkward moment. And thank goodness for that

Louis Theroux is at a barbecue in California. That sounds more glamorous than it is, because this is Louis Theroux – The City Addicted to Crystal Meth (BBC2, Sunday) and he's with a bunch of drug addicts in Fresno. Chris and Wiggles go for a little break, something they've been doing all afternoon. Louis, turning into Inspector Clouseau, says he has a hunch these breaks may be meth-related. He's right.

So Chris and Wiggles are firing up their crystal meth bongs, or whatever it is these people do, and Louis doesn't quite know where to look or what to do. He stands there sheepishly, slightly behind a pillar, consciously not looking at what they're doing but probably taking the odd sideways sneaky peek. He looks like a little schoolboy who's come across some bigger boys doing something naughty in the playground, something he finds both fascinating and a bit scary.

"For me, it was an awkward moment," he says. No kidding Louis. For you, life is one big awkward moment. Awkward is your default position – that's what you do, travel round the fringes of US society, being awkward. Or are you just pretending to be awkward, because you know it works with them over there and means they open up to you? And they do open up – their homes, their hearts, their lives, their jails, their crystal meth dens, their rebab houses, everything. OK, it works with us as well, the whole awkward schoolboy thing. It is quite charming – and this was an extraordinary film, a sad portrait of a very different California from the one you see in Entourage.

Did anyone else notice that one of the meth-heads, the one called Carl who Louis meets at the needle exchange, looks and sounds just like George Bush? So that's what he's been up to.

Austin Stevens is a bit like Steve Irwin, only Serf Ifrican, and still alive. Meaning he's one of those wildlife guys who's not happy simply to observe quietly from a distance; he likes to get up close to the animals, have a fight if they're up for it. He's a reptile botherer by trade, but here in Grizzly Bear Face-Off: Austin Stevens' Adventures (Five, Sunday), he's left his home territory to go and annoy some big brown hairy Canadians.

I wonder if he's seen that amazing Werner Herzog film Grizzly Man, where the guy, Tim, gets on the wrong side of a bear – the wrong side being the inside. Not that it would have put Austin off. "A grizzly can weigh four times as much as the average man," he says (read it out in a South African accent – it's better). "It can run twice as fast as the average man. And the fact that it could kill you with one swipe of its paw should be enough to strike fear into the average man." (Pause for dramatic effect.) "It's a good job, then, that I'm not the average man."

Oh, Austin, that's because you're at least 10 times as ridiculous as the average man.

The most interesting fact from Engineering Britain's Superweapons (More4, Saturday)? Well, it was all pretty interesting, in a big boys' toys kind of way. But the best thing I learned was that, during the cold war, the crews of British V-bombers carried eye-patches, like the ones pirates wear. Aaaarghhh, we're coming to drop bombs on you. Nucleaaarghh ones. The reason for this was that a pilot would be blinded by the flash from a nuclear explosion, but, if he was wearing an eye-patch, one eye would be saved. He could then take the patch off and carry on flying the plane with the remaining eye. Well, until the next explosion. Cunning, huh? I'm not sure how it affected their ability to judge distances. Is that Kiev down there, or Ipswich?

And from Girls Aloud: Out of Control (Sky1, Sunday), which spliced together footage of their brilliant O2 concert with backstage interviews with the girls, I learned that I would very much like to be in Girls Aloud. Somehow I don't think it's going to happen now, for so many different reasons.

Contributor

Sam Wollaston

The GuardianTramp

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