Travel shows aren’t exactly my cup of tea, but admittedly it was the trailer that reeled me in. Gorgeous scenery, a look at different cultures across the world, and two odd British men yelling at each other over trivial things. That’s all it took to convince me to watch.
Normally, travel shows are informative and educational. One episode will visit one place, describing the culture or the landscape, and another episode will be somewhere new. That’s exactly the case here except it’s also intelligently mixed with comedy (which is no surprise since Jack Whitehall is a comedian himself), making the educational bit much more entertaining. Tuning into episode one of season one, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a hilarious surprise to hear Jack talk about culture in Bangkok and all of sudden crack a joke about something his father was about to do. Many of the jokes are directed towards his father Michael, but it’s that small segment of comedic genius that kept me engaged. Whether it was a pun or a playful jab at his father, Jack made it all the more interesting to watch (even Michael had dad jokes too, but you’d never hear him admit it out loud).
Speaking Mr. Michael Whitehall himself, I loved the father/son dynamic throughout the span of the five seasons. It’s your typical relationship between parent and child; child annoys parent, parent is annoyed and lashes out, but it’s all in good fun. It feels a little scripted at times but that’s what makes it so funny to watch. It’s always either Jack doing something to annoy his father or his father disagrees with a choice that Jack made and threatens to jump off the balcony of the hotel (a personal favorite of mine). Or when Michael coddled his doll Winston and treats it like an actual child while Jack stares in disgust. I share the same relationship with my mother where I annoy the absolute hell out of her and it drives her crazy, so seeing the Whitehall duo interact reminds me of how I act with my mother. Alongside Michael, Jack’s mother Hilary is a gem. Even on screen she just radiates happiness and good vibes, sharing the same sense of humor as her son and often joining in on their travels when Michael can’t tolerate his son any more. I think the family interactions are something many viewers can relate to, and if they don’t then they’re in for a treat because the Whitehall’s are just so fun and refreshing to watch.
Jack once said “With travelling, I think it’s always about the people you meet as much as the places you go”. This remains true throughout the entirety of the five seasons as they meet some pretty interesting characters during their trips. Some of the memorable ones that I loved personally were Stewart, whose name wasn’t actually Stewart but Michael believed it was when they were on the Orient Express and their steward introduced himself. Another person they met was Valerio, a wine expert who Michael seemed to love with all his heart, and Winnie, the lovely young lady who introduced Jack to cold water swimming and nearly combusted from laughing when Jack said he stuffed his swimming trunks with a sock to keep his privates warm. Of course I can’t forget little Winston who is now officially a part of the Whitehall family despite the fact that Jack detests him greatly. But overall, everyone they met were fantastic and so helpful during their travels and I doubt both Jack and Michael would’ve seen the things they did without their help.
This had to be the most entertaining travel show I’ve ever seen. A healthy dose of both educational and comedy, this is a fantastic series to sit down with your family and have a good laugh together. I watched it alone but I would absolutely watch this again with my family so we can share the laughs together. 10/10 would recommend even if you’re not the type to watch shows about travel.
Seasons 1-5 are available to stream now on Netflix.