Written by Megan LaBruna
THE DETOUR, SERIES PREMIERE PLOT SUMMARY:
A family takes to the open road heading from New York to Florida on a family vacation, but much like life, things aren’t always as easy as they appear and the Parker family is in for one crazy trip.
What happens when two former Daily Show writers/actors decide to write a comedy? Magic; comedic magic. The Detour, created by Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, premiered this week on TBS and viewers were treated to not one but two episodes.
Ever since The Office went off the air, I have been desperate to find a clever half hour comedy and after only two episodes, The Detour is definitely filling that gap. I find comedies to be funny when they put the characters in situations that are completely relatable and yet totally absurd. This show does exactly that. They take a seemingly run of the mill task such as going on a family vacation and manage to infuse the scenario with every possible event that could go wrong. For instance, the opening scene shows a family van broken down on the side of the road. After attempting to start the vehicle by pushing it, the 11-year old in the driver’s seat ends up steering it into a ditch. That’s just the last of what happens on day 1 of this road trip from hell. The show rewinds to 12 hours earlier where the audience gets a first-hand view at the chaos that leads them to having their van break down.
Secrets, secrets are no fun…especially when you wake up to find out your husband cashed in your plane tickets to Florida and decided to take the family on a road trip instead. While I don’t want to give too much away, the first episode has everything from strip clubs to alleged kidnapping; and let’s not forget about the major secret at the end. Spoiler alert: Nate (Jason Jones) was fired from his job at a biotech company and therefore no longer had plane tickets for the company trip. Instead of telling his wife Robin (Natalie Zea) the truth, he decides to pack the family into the car and drive down to Florida. The very end of the episode shows Nate being interrogated in a police station. Viewers aren’t quite sure what the reason behind this is, but I’m sure it’s going to be thoroughly entertaining.
The second episode shows the family having to spend the night at a hotel while they wait for their car to be fixed. I am so glad they premiered the second episode right after the first, because it proved to me that this show is truly funny. Sometimes shows have a great first episode and then they can’t keep the momentum going. Such is not the case with The Detour. The second episode shows an even more intimate look at Parker family dynamics. It shines a spotlight on the fact that while these two adults are parents, they’re also still very interested in having fun on their vacation. Nothing says “cool parents” more than having a bag of weed gummies stashed in your suit case. Unfortunately for Nate, Robin eats them all. While she is insanely high, she starts to break Nate down, pointing out that she knows he’s holding onto some big secret that’s eating away at him. She gets him to confess that he has been fired from his job, unfortunately, because she took enough drugs for four people, she completely doesn’t hear what he says, but we do.
Nate plans to show up at the conference for his company and confront the CEO. Before he gets there, he’s going to have to survive this trip down to Florida, which seems nearly impossible based on what we’ve witnessed so far. In this fantastic episode viewers can expect to see everything from drugs, to sex education (sort of), to full frontal nudity in a public location. But, I think what makes this show truly special is that amidst all the comedy there is also a sense of sincerity; a family dynamic full of anger and frustration and understanding and joy. The casting is spot on as well. Jason Jones and Natalie Zea have great on screen chemistry and the way they deliver their lines is both hysterical and believable which absolutely makes the situations that much funnier, because viewers can almost imagine the moment actually happening to their own families. The Parker twins are also fantastic. While these two are fairly young and relatively new to the industry, Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll have great comedic timing. Gerasimovich also has down the all too familiar pre-teen angst that can be found in every American household with children over the age of 10.
In the fairness of honesty, I am a huge fan of Samantha Bee; however, The Detour truly holds up as a great new comedy. Could it be due to the fact that the creators are married, intelligent, and naturally funny? Probably, but that recipe absolutely works. I’m not the only one who’s noticed, TBS renewed The Detour for a second season before the first episode even premiered. A move I definitely support! If The Detour wasn’t on your radar before, it’s time to add it to your weekly line-up. The Parker family may not make it to Florida, but we can all benefit from watching them try.