The summer of 2015 featured the release of Vacation, a movie starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate that was meant to be a potential reboot of that series. It pretty much flopped, as reviewers said it was mostly disgusting for the sake of being disgusting, and not all that funny.
However, a show that really captures that National Lampoon’s Vacation vibe to me has somewhat flown under the radar – The Detour, from Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. The Canadian couple created it as part of their deal for TBS to lure them from Comedy Central, with Jones in one of the four lead roles. He plays the head of household, with Natalie Zea as his snarky wife.
The standouts of the show are the kids though, played by Ashley Gerasimovich as Delilah and Liam Carroll as Jared. They’re twins, with Jared being a doofus, and Delilah being smart and snarky – both subtly take after their parents. Unlike many shows with Cute Kid characters, both have fully formed personalities that are fairly realistic for their ages. They are actual leads, not just there because they needed some kid actors for the show.
The show focuses on the four lead characters, but there are some strong guest appearances, although not on the level of other shows. Mindy Sterling, a.k.a. Frau from Austin Powers, pops up in the first episode as a trucker, and she’s good in about three minutes of screen time. The intros and outros of each episode are typically a police interrogation of Jason Jones that are wonderfully meta. There is also a midseason arc about an older gentleman and his Eastern European wife that is absolutely ridiculous.
However, again, the bread-and-butter of the show is its focus on the dynamics of the family. It’s a realistic portrayal, and on the mature and crude side without crossing over into farcical grossness. The first season is available On Demand for free under the ole TBS section, and I imagine it’ll migrate its way over to a streaming service soon enough. And thankfully, it’s already been renewed for a second season!