REVIEW: ‘Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father’ feels like laughing at all your family trauma



If you’re a sucker for reality television, travel shows, and raw comedy, “Travels with My Father” is for you.

Jack Whitehall, the star of the show, is a household name in the UK. His over-the-top comedy and theatrics make for some hilarious stand-up specials —see “Jack Whitehall: At Large.”

Most Americans had never heard of his show, “Travels with My Father,” until just a few weeks ago when the newest season dropped on Netflix. I personally love travel shows, so I was super onboard with the idea of a show based around an English comedian and his father going on vacation together.

Jack decides to take his father, Michael, with him on a “gap year” trip. Michael is a very conservative, wealthy, former TV producer and talent manager. In his prime, he handled such talents as Colin Firth and Dame Judi Dench.

In the pilot episode, Jack says, “I’ve got this window in my diary where I can have a gap year, and I thought it would be funny to take my father with me. Why not? I think we are going to find out exactly why not.”

Season one consists of Jack and Michael trekking across Southeast Asia. They hit all the highlights: Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Michael is a very conservative Brexit supporter, so being in an area so foreign proves to be incredibly difficult for him —but his unease provides pure comedy for the audience.

Season two is Michael’s revenge, as he takes Jack all across Eastern Europe. Michael, like most conservative Englishmen, is obsessed with World War II and Winston Churchill, so this is his dream vacation. Jack, on the other hand, is bored to tears.

Jack takes the wheel once again for season three to show his father his new stomping ground — the Southwestern United States. The duo visits Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Most of the season, Jack is trying to convince his dad to go on the “lads and dads” trip to Vegas, but oh-so conservative Michael is obviously hesitant.

Overall, “Travels with My Father” is hilarious. It gives the audience a chance to see famed cultures and countries through a unique and candid lens.

Watching Jack and Michael bicker at each other with quick-witted comments and some quite personal jabs feels like my family vacations — well, if my father and I were actually funny.

There are moments where they both take it too far and end up actually offending each other. They can be real jerks, but there are also truly endearing moments where you see them grow together.

The tension in the first season is obvious —the two never really spent much quality time together in Jack’s childhood. As you progress through the seasons, you can see Michael and Jack grow closer and closer and start to really understand one another.

If you like British humor and can laugh at a xenophobe’s uncomfortable experiences, then this show is right for you.

Disclaimer: In the most recent season, there are a few moments of cultural appropriation that will make you cringe. I would like to write it off as a couple of Brits not truly understanding Native American culture because they have never experienced it and never met a native person. However, it really isn’t hard to not make fun of someone else’s culture.