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Review: Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
TV's Tabby Ives reflects on Jack Whitehall's latest Netflix comedy series
Jack Whitehall has recently taken Netflix by storm, releasing both his stand-up show At Large and his Travels with My Father series in the last couple of months. As an avid Jack Whitehall fan, and after thoroughly enjoying Romesh Ranganathan’s Asian Provocateur (a similar premise, but instead travelling with his mother), I was understandably excited to watch this new series.Packing his bags and leaving stand-up behind for five weeks, Jack travels through Southeast Asia with his 77-year-old father, Michael, for a bonding experience. Jack has in mind the full backpacking experience, checking them both into a hostel along with many other young Westerners. Anyone who is aware of the relationship between the optimistic, joyful Jack and the bad-tempered, moaning father will already know exactly how this idea went down. As soon as he sees their shared room of other backpackers, Michael hurries away to book into a five-star hotel complete with pool and gym.
At first Micheal was hesitant about throwing himself into the experience, ordering Welsh lamb rather than embracing the local cuisine and always wearing a suit. It did make it funny when we saw him in Jack’s ‘wavy’ patterned trousers and novelty sunglasses, something you would not have seen in the first episode. I watched the first episode and was not impressed. It lacked believability and it felt staged, but then I was intrigued and ended up binge-watching the rest.
“The entertaining show provided different perspectives and features lots of dry humour
We have already seen much of Whitehall’s relationship with his moaning father, so I went into watching the series knowing exactly what to expect. I think it would have been funnier had Michael actually accepted the backpacker experience from the start, but it was heart-warming to actually see his outlook change over the series and loosen up. Even though it was predictable at the start, you really do see Michael’s outlook and participation change over the series, becoming more open and even breaking into a smile and laughter here and there.
If you go in knowing to expect two wealthy, middle-class men flashing cash and playing on this stereotype, then it is lighthearted fun. It was heartwarming to see Michael’s change by the end, especially after a disappointing start, but a better second half. The ending remained funny yet it relayed the important message of not taking life too seriously and treasuring time with family. Although I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t expect and wouldn’t want a second series – there’s only so much of the stereotype that they can play on and it would be best to leave it there.
Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father is now streaming on Netflix
Article by Tabby Ives