The Detour is a road trip comedy series on TBS written by the husband/wife team of Jason Jones and Samantha Bee and starting Natalie Zea and Jason Jones. The second season starts soon, which makes now a great time to binge the 10 episode first season!
The show flew under my radar. When it popped up on Hulu, I was intrigued. It looked funny. It sounded funny. I was going in blind.
Here is what I knew of Jason Jones prior to the first episode. All this knowledge was gleaned from his time on The Daily Show.
1) Dude likes to get naked.
2) Good at playing a slightly obnoxious know-it-all type.
3) Will do things that make you wonder how he got away with it on basic cable.
4) Married to Samantha Bee.
Here is what I knew of Samantha Bee prior to the first episode. All this knowledge was gleaned from her time on The Daily Show and Full Ranting…er, I mean Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
1) Lady knows how to curse.
2) Good at playing a slightly obnoxious smarter-than-you type.
3) Will do things that make you wonder how she got away with it on basic cable.
4) Married to Jason Jones.
On to the big question: is The Detour any good?
The first episode is the best and one of the funniest half hours I’ve seen on TV in a few years. It’s offensive, it’s clever, has amazing sight gags, and unlike the family car, it runs on all cylinders. The other 9 episodes exhibit a disappointing diminishing of returns as it veers into attempts at uncomfortable humor that do not work. There’s also a wraparound story that distracts from the main plot and added nothing to the show. I also wanted more Sam Bee. Granted, she has three cameos as Nate Parker’s (Jason Jones) mother that are hilarious, but Bee is a star, dammit! She needs more face time!
Despite the lack of Sam Bee, the main cast are quite good. Natalie Zea (who I last saw in Justified) plays well against her usual type of harried wife as a kind of wildcard alcoholic mom who keeps Nate off-balanced and is the yin to Nate’s yang. Ashley Gerasimovich plays thirteen-year-old daughter Delilah, and has some great moments being the lone voice of reason in the Parker clan.
If you’re a fan of the National Lampoon Vacation movies, then The Detour is a show you’ll enjoy. Or if you enjoy Jason Jones and Samantha Bee’s odd style of humor, you’ll really enjoy this show.