Back for a second season, Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father returns with stand up comedian Jack Whitehall and his pessimistic, cynical father Michael as they travel into the heart of Europe. From Germany to Moldova through to Hungary and Turkey, the second season boasts some really interesting and beautiful countries but doesn’t do anything different or unique that we haven’t already seen in the first season. Those turned away from the silly, slapstick humour in the first season should almost certainly steer clear of this, with five episodes that stick very closely to last year’s format.
The series begins with Michael reflecting on his time in the Far East with Jack and his desire to culturally inspire his son with a renewed trip across Europe. With his birthday fast approaching, Michael books a trip beginning in Germany and ending in Turkey, visiting several unusual and interesting locations along the way. From Transylvania to Moldova, if there’s one thing the second season does well, it’s showcasing some of the more unusual locations across Eastern Europe. Jack and Michael visit some of the cultural hotspots in these areas including a Houdini museum,a beer bus, a clown festival and a rather unconventional graveyard. There’s no denying that the second season squeezes an awful lot in its five episodes while keeping the comedy flowing throughout.
Much like last season, Travels With My Father plays on the father-son dynamic with a lot of the genuine humour coming from the various moments the two of them clash, with Jack tricking his father into taking part in various activities. With the exception of some beautiful establishing shots of the Eastern European countries, there isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before. There are some interesting facts layered throughout the series, especially early on when discussing tidbits of history about the various cities or countries but Travels With My Father leans far heavier into its comedy.
It’s here where this travel documentary fails to reinvent the wheel, rekindling some of the problems with the first season and increasing them tenfold. Staged moments undermine some of the natural comedy at work and the slapstick humour including an awful lot of toilet humour run in abundance throughout the five episodes. As a fun little throwaway series,Travels With My Father was a fun ride, showcasing some interesting Asian countries and culture with a unique Father-Son dynamic at its core. The second season doesn’t really do anything particularly unique or different from the first, essentially copying the same format and relying far more heavily on the humour without really reinventing the wheel.
Those who loved the first season will almost certainly love the second. Jack’s slapstick, silly humour contrasts with Michael’s cynicism and their dynamic is the driving force for the entire season. Those who weren’t won over by the first season should definitely steer clear of this one which sticks to the conventional format of the first season, right down to the staged incidents and toilet humour. While these five episodes are still amusing and a fun little travel documentary, it also pales in comparison to the first 6, with far more contrived bursts of humour. There’s still enjoyment to be had here though but it’s fleeting at best. Much like the first season, while fun and amusing to watch, this is unlikely to be a documentary you return to anytime soon, especially with the lack of originality this season fails to inject.
Verdict - 5.5/10