‘The Detour’ turns a family vacation into a twisted comedy | TV Review

By Lewis Lockridge // Contributing Writer

Like taking a page from the 1983 hit National Lampoon’s Vacation, TBS’s The Detour is a nice trifecta of comedy with its use of gross-out humor, road trip hijinks and a sassy family. Created by real-life couple Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, The Detour is an American comedy about a misunderstanding during a family road trip inspired by couple’s own experiences with family vacations. If their trips were anything like the family’s  in the show, they must have had some crazy experiences.

While Bee continues to star in her own TV series Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Jones stars in the show as Nate, a father who is taking his family on vacation from Syracuse, New York, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a family vacation. Natalie Zea stars as Nate’s wife, Robin,  and Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll play the role of the mischievous, close-to-puberty 11-year-old twins, Delilah and Jared. While Robin thinks they’re flying, they bundle into a van only to wake up in Pennsylvania where they discover that Nate has decided to drive the family to Florida. Nate’s true reasons behind his methods are alluded to by flashbacks, but the family is under the guise that the decision was made for financial reasons. From watching the pilot alone, viewers can already speculate the shenanigans that are going to go down.

Following a serious misunderstanding, the family is led into a strip-club to get a milkshake and their daughter gets her period shortly after; a separate situation eventually leads to a character getting urine in his face several times. The show involves gross-out humor and 11-year-olds making sex-themed jokes in the most basic situations. One joke alone makes reference to “giving up on pushing” and cesarean section. The show is equally humorous as it is dramatic, adding a splash of mystery that slowly unfolds over a series flashbacks and flashforwards.

From angry truckers to culturally insensitive roadside restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts to their car breaking down, the family encounters every thing that you would expect to find on a road trip, albeit to a much worse degree. The Detour gets its laughs from making the audience believe that there is a bit normalcy in the family only to have it spiral out of control. The show’s reliance on taking what could be normal situations and making them completely abnormal could lead to the show becoming predictable later on, considering that there is only so much that can really go wrong. The show makes up for this by making Nate and Robin constantly give their children confusing information that, through misinterpretation on the children’s behalf, leads to more comedic commentary.

However, the show’s dramatic sitcom goes well with the captivating characters that the show has presented. The actors speak their lines with an untaught brilliance with not a single word out of place. By adding this to characters that are already so well-rounded in personality, the show breathes off an essence of being instinctively natural. The natural chemistry between the character relationships, such as the on-going sibling banter between the twins, brings out a certain realism that is to be appreciated.

Overall, The Detour takes a normal vacation and spirals it into a twisted comedy that will have you hooked from start to finish.

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