'The Detour': A Wild Family Vacation


An updating of the old Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, The Detour stars The Daily Show’s Jason Jones and Justified’s Natalie Zea as parents taking their two children on a holiday road trip from Syracuse to Ft. Lauderdale, with a lot of rest stops for comedy subplots.

How funny you find this new TBS sitcom, which premieres on Monday night with back-to-back episodes, depends on how funny you find projectile vomiting in a car, throwing a bottle of urine at someone, and exposing young children to strip clubs. These are all experiences endured by Nate (Jones), Robin (Zea), and their kids Delilah (Ashley Gerasimovich) and Jared (Liam Carroll) in early episodes. Throw in a visit to a politically-incorrect theme restaurant called Conquistadors and you’ve got a good sense of the range of this show, which was co-created by Jones and Samantha Bee, to whom Jones happens to be married.

There’s a subplot to The Detour that gives the show more of a narrative spine than just its road trippiness. It involves Nate having been fired from his job (a fact he tries to hide from Robin) and his attempt to become a whistle-blower by leaking information about corporate malfeasance. It’s here that The Detour hits upon its funniest concept — Nate’s interaction with modern journalism, where online reporters barely have enough training to understand what a source and a real scoop are.

I can’t say that I laughed very much at the four episodes of The Detour that I watched, but I did find Jones and Zea pleasant company — yes, they’re playing parents who speak and do inappropriate things around their children, which is a common sitcom trope these days, but the actors nevertheless make them likable, flawed parents.

The Detour has already been renewed for a second season, so the show has time to develop into something more interestingly amusing.

The Detour airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on TBS.