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Series / The Detour

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The Detour is a comedy series on TBS created by Jason Jones and Samantha Bee of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart fame. The series stars Jones as Nate Parker Jr., a businessman with his wife Robin (Natalie Zea) and kids Delilah and Jared.

In the first season, Nate takes his family on a road trip from their native Syracuse to Florida. Along the way, they suffer through a series of mishaps and disasters. The second season features the Parkers moving to New York City and struggling to fit in there. The third season follows their move to Alaska. The fourth (and final) season, which premiered on June 18, 2019, begins with Delilah on the run and the rest of the family traveling the globe trying to track her down.

The Detour contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Season 2 strongly implies that Edie is pregnant by her co-worker after the two had their fling off duty. Season 3 seems to retcon it with her being artificially inseminated with Nate's sperm instead.
  • Abusive Parents: Nate's parents had a loud divorce and his mother (played by Samantha Bee) was emotionally abusive.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Or rather, Poor Woman's Vibrator. Delilah, in discovering herself, finds pleasure in constantly revving up a motorbike, but never actually going anywhere.
  • All for Nothing: The Season 1 finale. Partway through the season, Nate's motivation for reaching Florida has changed from trying to get his job back to being a whistleblower and exposing a dangerous flaw in the hand sanitizer they manufacture. Right as the family's about to interrupt the press conference being held, a group of activists beat them to the punch, only to be mocked because that batch of hand sanitizer was never intended for public distribution in the first place; all Nate can do is silently walk away, glad that at least he didn't publicly embarrass himself.
  • Artistic License – History: The Conquistadors, a roadside dinner theater with a glaringly offensive conquistador theme. The nightly show features Monochrome Casting telling a sanitized history presenting the conquistadors as heroes and natives as savages.
  • Call-Back: In "The Trip", Nate and Robin make the same drive to Florida just as in the first season. Nate recalls their misdeeds from the first season, but Robin brushes him off.
  • Catchphrase: Nate and his "Get some!" Robin even lampshades it:
    Robin: Oh God, don't say "get some," please don't "get some," please don't "get some," please don't "get some..."
    Nate: GET SOME!
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Nate, while mapping out his survival plan in "The Funeral", ends up speaking the lyrics to the theme.
  • Dream Sue: Edie's dream in season 3 episode 4 in which she wins over Nate.
  • Fake Orgasm: In "The Tub", Robin suspects Nate of faking an orgasm while making love. He claims he did but didn't ejaculate. "It's a thing [he's] been working on."
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: Montezuma's Revengenote .
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Multiple off-hand references in season 1 episode 5 set up The Reveal that Dr. Rob is actually a pedophile.
    • Another off-hand reference to the sweet tea "tasting like chemical." Oksana has been slowly poisoning Dr. Rob with antifreeze in his sweet tea.
    • Delilah tells Edie at one point that if anyone is going to break up her family, it will be her. She does exactly that in the finale.
    • In season 2 episode 7, Edie displays traits similar to Robin and Vanessa. It is later revealed that Edie is their Long-Lost Sister.
    Edie: Oh, do not tell me to relax, ever.
    Edie: I don't know what to do. I'm such a shit show.
  • Formerly Fit: If The Road is anything to go by, Nate used to be in great shape before the kids were born.
  • Framing Device: The first two seasons have the story revealed through federal interrogation of the Parkers.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Robin, to the point her husband and daughter repeatedly have to call her out on it.
  • In Love with the Mark: Agent Edie falls for Nate, going so far as to impregnate herself with his semen from the sperm bank.
  • Intimate Healing: Played for Cringe Comedy in "The Search" after Jared ends up almost frozen, his parents have to help up warm up by sleeping naked with him to share body heat, but it becomes extremely awkward for them since he's having an Erotic Dream and his body starts to... react.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Nate is especially prone to suffering a series of Amusing Injuries at least Once an Episode, but always manages to shake them off within the same episode.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Agent Edie, the sister of Vanessa and Robin.
  • Made of Iron: Nate. During a fight with Carlos, he manages to break the latter's hands by blocking his blows with his head!
  • Mama Bear: Robin, so very much. The second season had her assaulting Carlos when he threatened to tell Jared that he was his real father. She also stayed up all night for two days going cross-country to save her kids from her father.
  • Maternally Challenged: Robin loves her children, but that's not to say that she's exactly a great role model. In particular, her behaviors strike a nerve with Delilah, who makes sure to point this out in the audio message she leaves behind when she runs away.
  • Miss Conception: In "The Pilot", Nate and Robin are trying to convince a group of truckers that their kids aren't being kidnapped:
    Robin: They're ours!
    Nate: They came out of her!
    Jared: Yeah! He planted the seeds in her forehead and the eggs grew and ate the seeds and then the seeds split into two and then they popped out of her tummy scar twelve years later.
    Trucker: Son, did these people drug you?
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: While attempting to comfort Delilah at her tournament, Nate is mistaken for a pedophile due to an earlier misunderstanding and Delilah's friends gang up on him.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Multiple jokes are made at the Parkers being mistaken for making racist remarks.
  • MockGuffin: In Season 1, the bags of hand sanitizer. Turns out they never were intended for human use, and Nate's big plan was All for Nothing.
  • Papa Wolf: You do not mess with Nate Parker's kids.
  • Pædo Hunt: Protesters, whom Robin and Nate mistake for anti-Semites, frequent the gates of Dr. Rob's mansion to denounce Dr. Rob's planned wedding to a Russian-Jewish woman. Turns out, they are really protesting the fact that he is marrying a 16 year-old girl.
  • Road Trip Plot: The focus of each season is Nate's family travelling in an RV and trying their best to deal with each other as they attempt to reach a specific location.
  • The Runaway: Delilah, in "The Escape".
  • Sexiness Score: In "The Search", Jared unknowingly kissed a 10-year-old girl (she was wearing a snowsuit and he couldn't tell) and is freaked out about it. When he tells his parents he "got some from a 10", they assume he's talking about this trope, and Nate congratulates him while Robin admonishes him for rating women numerically.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: In a Dream Sequence during "The Search", one of Jared's dream girls is introduced coming out of the water in a tiny black bikini.
  • Take That!: One Season 2 episode has a not-so-subtle take on the Hillsong Church (called the Mountain Ballad Church in the show), being run by Australians who are clearly grifting their followers and spending lavishly on themselves.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Oksana has really been slipping antifreeze in Dr. Rob's sweet tea over a long period of time, causing him to eventually have a stroke.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Nobody in the cast of characters likes Vanessa. Even J.R. sells her out to the USPIS police to protect Robin instead.
    • Delilah constantly feels that nobody in her family cares to listen to her concerns. This motivates her to ditching her family at the end of season 3.
  • Who's on First?: Jared starts dating a nonbinary person who uses they/them pronouns in Season 3, leading to some confusion with Nate on how many people he's dating. He even lampshades that it's just like the trope.