Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father’s new season fizzles in America
The third installment felt like something was missing.
On Friday, the latest season of Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father dropped on Netflix. After hard advertising pushes for previous seasons, the promotion for this new season felt a bit underwhelming. The trailer was released only a week before the new season premiered and was not pushed as heavily as that for earlier seasons based in Asia and Eastern Europe, respectively.
Upon viewing the new season, the explanation is clear: the Whitehall father-son duo’s American adventures comprise only two episodes. Although these are significantly longer than previous seasons (45-60 minutes, as opposed to 25-30) the third installment, filmed around Jack’s schedule for upcoming Disney film Jungle Cruise, felt like something was missing.
Sure, there’s still a healthy level of fish-out-of-water antics for conservative 78-year-old Michael Whitehall traveling with his overzealous comedian son, Jack. But although previous seasons allowed genuine moments to shine through from the constant clashing, showcasing the close bond the pair share, this season felt much more like they were simply filling the time out of obligation rather than genuine interest in spending time seeing the world together.
Even more, the storyline for the season — that Jack hoped to convince Michael to move out West as he attempts to “break” America — felt tenuous at best. For one thing, the opening joke that America was “very much still intact” is familiar to anyone who’s seen Jack’s previous 2016 Netflix comedy special, Jack Whitehall: At Large. Repeating the bit now, two years after the special premiered, feels stale. Even more, those familiar with Michael’s persnickety personality from previous seasons are well aware there’s no chance he’ll be moving out of London anytime soon. As a result, Jack’s efforts to sell him on LA, Phoenix, or even Sun City never felt genuine. Sure, we can buy previous prefaces for their travels — that Jack wanted to embark on the gap year he never had or that Michael wanted to bring Jack on a cultural tour of Europe — but this year’s needed some more work.
The good bits? Jack continues to trick Michael into some truly insane situations. A guide driving them around Compton seems endeared by Michael and exasperated by Jack, despite his efforts to impress. Jack calls a bingo game and causes Michael to storm out of the room once again. Best of all, Michael invites wife Hillary to crash their “Lads and Dads” trip to Vegas and join them at Magic Mike Live (which he expects to be a magic show).
By the end of the season, however, it becomes clear why Netflix buried the new season. The men don’t intend to embark on another season of travels. They close the second episode lamenting that Michael has perhaps gotten too old for such strenuous activity, but agreeing they’ve enjoyed the quality time spent together. While it’s disappointing such a brilliant show has flickered out with a disappointing end, at least the entire back catalogue is on Netflix, and we can go right back to the beginning to watch the incredible first season over and over again.
Jack Whitehall will be on tour this fall with his new show Jack Whitehall: Stood Up. Get tickets here.