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Samantha Bee and Jason Jones' New Family Comedy Is Not for Families

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 12, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 12, 2016 |

I don’t know how autobiographical Samantha Bee’s and Jason Jones’ The Detour is, but there are enough genuine (and genuinely horrifying) moments scattered in between the lowbrow gags and raunchy jokes that feel believable, so I like to think the series is rooted in the parenting tribulations of Jones and Bee. They’re not great parents, but there’s also something in acknowledging that — like the rest of us — they don’t know what the hell they’re doing, that they’re making it up as they go along, and that as long as you love your goddamn kids, they’re probably going to turn out fine.

Detour is like National Lampoon’s Vacation crossed with something akin to Kimmy Schmidt starring Adam Sandler. It’s an intelligent take on a high-concept featuring lowbrow humor.

Jason Jones stars as Nate, who surprises his wife and children with a vacation road trip from Syracuse to Florida, after he refunded their plane tickets because he needed the money after being fired from his job for attempting to blow the whistle on a defective product. The story of his termination — and subsequent arrest — plays out in the non-linear storyline and somewhat confusing flashback sequences.

His wife, Robin, is played by Natalie Zea (Justified), who is much funnier than I anticipated she’d be, in part because she has an unexpected gift for physical comedy and in part because I like to think she’s playing a version of Samantha Bee (when she “presents” her ass for sex with Nate while she’s stoned, I felt like we were getting an intimately hilarious look into Jones/Bee’s sex life).

They also have Griswold-esque children, which is to say: They are clueless but curious about sex and drugs, but wiser than their parents when it comes to most parenting decisions.

The Detour is a family comedy, but it’s not for families. Despite the premise, there’s nothing wholesome about the sex-and-drug themed series. It’s also not original, but the writing and point of view is fresh and smart, even if the gags themselves trade in vomit and urine. The series, which airs on TBS on Mondays, is easily worth a look and maybe even an investment (it premiered last night, but has already been renewed for a second season).

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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