I’ve been crushing on a Netflix originals show and telling everyone IRL to watch. It’s got bad language, and it is completely inappropriate at times, (okay, a lot of the time) and that typically would make it flag it as “not suitable” for MommyUpgrade, but — I’m going to make an exception. Full disclosure: this is a show for you, after the kids are in bed. Prepare for the maturity rating, but it’s British so that makes it only that much more hilarious.
Jack Whitehalls’ “Travels with My Father” is probably one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. If you aren’t familiar with Jack Whitehall, he’s a colorful, young, British comedian. Yep, right there, check the box that you know it’s a gut-buster. The Brits can say they’re going for a glass of water and Americans can’t help but crack up.
Jack’s co-star is his dad (obvs from the show title) who is the polar opposite in personality to Jack. Add in that Jack is, mmmm upper 20’s and his dad is upper 70’s, so obviously big age gap. In the style of NBC’s Better Late Than Never (which I suspect is fashioned from this show), Season one features Jack taking his Dad on a make-good journey to Asia for missing his “gap year,” all for the sake of them to become better bonded. I’m fairly certain he reminds his father mercilessly that he was shipped off to boarding school 100 times or more during their adventures. Daddy is unfazed.
What transpires is what you can only imagine would happen if you took your aging parent on a trip planned exclusively by your teenager and funded by their allowance. There’s a lot of cussing. There’s bickering. There’s food that you’d only double dog dare your high school friend to eat. There’s so much good-hearted fun, and dang it, you even learn about the most bizarre cultural oddities too.
In season 2, the duo reunites for a trip that Michael Whitehall (Daddy) plans in an attempt to submerse Jack into the culture of Europe – which, not surprisingly, goes sideways. And not because they’re driving an RV for most of the trip. Well, Daddy’s driving because Jack doesn’t drive. You see where this is going? No, no you surely don’t. You can’t predict this stuff. I swear it.
The show is more than superficial laughter about generational differences. In its own brilliant way, it’s a nod to the evolving relationship we all have with our aging parents, and how that relationship morphs when you are an adult and they’re on in their sunset years. This is no “This is Us” kind of show. Imagine an older English Jay Pritchett on steroids with a younger more chill Phil Dunfee, traveling for 5 weeks at a time together. Except they are real people.
Season 1 had me laughing to tears – seriously, I had the emoji face. I can’t blame season two for coming in second to that masterpiece, but the last episode really brought it home and left me begging for more. Thankfully, I found this video (warning: language) on YouTube to tide me over until season 3 (please say there will be another Netflix?), and their co-written book to read (link below). And thanks to Jack, I’m now a fan of the Sunstroke Project which has made my morning showers one epic dance party.
Click image for book details. (affiliate link)