The Detour Jason Jones

The Detour Review: TBS Comedy With Jason Jones and Natalie Zea Starts Strong, Quickly Runs Out of Gas

grade_C+Within the first four episodes of TBS’ new comedy The Detour, Jason Jones’ Nate takes a jar of urine to the face, his wife Robin (Justified‘s Natalie Zea) finds herself on the receiving end of her kids’ projectile vomiting, and then Nate drops trou in a theme-restaurant parking lot and proceeds to have a violent, graphically noisy bowel movement.

I won’t pretend I didn’t let out a burst of laughter during each and every one of these moments — who doesn’t like a little gross-out humor? But despite a solid pilot episode and exceedingly game performances from its leading couple, it doesn’t take long (maybe five minutes into Episode 2, when Robin describes the taste of semen to her pre-teen kids) before The Detour begins to collapse under the constant strain of trying to shock us.

The Detour TBSThat’s a shame, really, considering there are moments of The Detour (executive-produced by Daily Show vets/spouses Jones and Samantha Bee, and premiering Monday at 9/8c on TBS) that play like an x-ray, and show the skeleton of a series with the potential to be TV’s answer to The Hangover, Bridesmaids and We’re the Millers — big-screen successes built around ordinary folks who fall deeper and deeper into ridiculous hijinks.

The premise is a tight one: On their way to the Syracuse Airport for a long-anticipated vacation in Florida, Nate surprises his sleeping family by veering left and opting for a 17-hour road trip instead. As we soon learn in flashbacks, though, Nate’s decision isn’t entirely motivated by a love of cost-cutting and a yearning for family bonding — and it’s not too much of a spoiler to say the action eventually cuts to flash-forwards of Jones’ character in an FBI interrogation room.

Jason Jones The DetourJones has a real knack for showing the barely suppressed rage and anxiety percolating just beneath the surface of his harried breadwinner — he makes a scene where he puts out his boss’s e-cigar with a fire extinguisher much funnier than it should be — while Zea is a comedic revelation as her tightly wound housewife continuously (and sometimes boozily) lets her inner freak flag fly.

Unfortunately, The Detour too often confuses the obvious for the outrageous, and mistakes hacky-ness for hilarity. Episode 4 finds Nate and an Asian man dressed as a knight getting into an extended argument over the use of the phrase “chink in his armor” — a deeply labored arc that ends with an angry, shirtless dwarf falling headlong into a fountain. (Yep, I’ll pause this review for a moment so you can let out a groan.) In an earlier episode, the family stays in a motel where the employees keep pronouncing Nate’s surname (“Parker Jr.”) as Parkerjur. (It gets really old really quickly). Did I mention the ongoing cliché about the doltishness of Nate and Robin’s son Jared —  expressed through not-nearly-funny-enough details like legitimately thinking Pennsylvania is pronounced “Penis-sylvania” or that women are impregnated through their foreheads?

The frequency and egregiousness of such missteps prove unwelcome roadblocks to The Detour‘s comedic rhythm. And thus, while you might be tempted to hop into the minivan with the appealing Jones and Zea, chances are you’ll soon be looking for an off-ramp.

The TVLine Bottom Line: Despite a few genuinely funny moments, you’re better off leaving this one on the side of the road.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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15 Comments
  1. Jennifer says:

    Wasn’t this renewed for Season 2 already? Part of Samantha Bee’s contract negotiations? Doesn’t sound like it should have even finished season 1.

  2. cuius says:

    Every “road trip”/”vacation” cliché in the first episode – not leaving much for the remaining episodes. Suggest you get paid for season 2 up front – at least you have the wife’s earnings to fall back on

  3. Max says:

    I got tired of Zea’s constant negativity during the first episode. Who wants to watch that every week? Not me. I’ll watch one more episode before I decide if I’m done with it.

  4. Robert says:

    I saw the sneak peek ater the NCAA championship game, and thought it was funny. Will give it at least a few episodes before I catch that off ramp.

  5. Thought the pilot was funny, and I was surprised that Zea could do comedy so well. Since I have a love of sophomoric humor like Angie Tribeca, I will probably secretly watch this show, and deny it if anyone asks. I always like Jason Jones’ stuff on The Daily Show.

  6. Mick says:

    I disagree with your verdict; I like what I saw and I don’t usually get tired of this genre of comedy. Also, just as my opinion doesn’t matter to anyone else, the author’s opinion is just that–her opinion. Nobody is better qualified to give their opinion than another.

  7. Dolly Gallo says:

    I saw the ad for the Detour. It is VULGAR, VULGAR. Nothing I would want to watch or want my family to watch. How can you show such disgusting stuff on TV. Don’t you hace any decency. I will tell all my friends not to watch such garbage!!!!

  8. Diane says:

    From the previews I’ve seen of “The Detour”, I won’t be watching. I find the sexual content in front of children on this show quite disturbing. THIS is part of what’s wrong with our world now. Children seeing, hearing, and doing wayyy too much wayyy too early. What happened to decency in a tv show?!

  9. Dahl Willis says:

    I just saw a preview of “Detour”. This show just shows how far we have sunk as a society. This show has no place on regular TV. It is disgusting how low you can go to produce such trash and call it entertainment. No wonder kids are confused, nobody has any filters to let kids be kids. We think we have to tell them everything in detail. That if we don’t we are being secretive. I for one am totally offended that my grandkids may see this crap. Try showing something with substance and value. Keep the sexual stuff off the TV and let kids grow up and let parents be parents it’s not your place to teach them.

  10. Allie says:

    Natalie Zea is annoying and not that talented. There, I said it.

  11. Tatiana says:

    Loved the pilot! We cracked up! The family dynamic was fantastic. Looking forward to more episodes.

  12. Chad lacoste says:

    To each their own I thought it was outstandingly funny Everyone has their own opinion and I think that the previous preview analysis of the show was cut way too short again I think it is extremely funny and needs to be watched I’ve seen better Shoals rated at two stars then I have At four stars I just read some of the other comments that were posted on the show funny how you get up hypocrites criticize things like this show and sex and things but yet you have games for young kids to play that have worse then the show ever could put out you people need to go hide in a hole and watch something great this show is awesome

  13. Debbie Matthew says:

    Not watching anymore. Got too annoying.