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Illustration for article titled It’s not a good guy, it’s not a bad guy, it’s iThe Detour/i
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Six episodes in and The Detour finds itself on day four of a three day vacation, with 500 miles to go until the Parkers reach their intended Floridian destination. That’s quite the detour, especially since the Parkers can now officially say they’ve attended (and even officiated) a pedophile pediatrician’s Jewish wedding.

That pretty much wins in the game of “how I spent my vacation” stories, right?

After the events (that they know of, at least) of last week’s “The B & B,” Nate and Robin are both on cloud nine, full of the belief that—once again—they’ve done good as people and as a married couple. The latter is apparent as the episode opens with a standard it’s a beautiful morning” breakfast montage, one that is made so much better by the reveal of how awful they are at cooking. As for the former—oh, how Nate and Robin think they’re “good people.” That belief is basically why anything happens on The Detour in the first place, and “The Wedding” just doubles down on their sense of righteousness. In fact, the episode continues to remind the audience that Nate and Robin’s acts of “good” are nowhere near as selfless as they like to pretend they are; and in their quests to prove just how “good” they are, they end up really screwing everything up. Here, that comes in the form of Robin accidentally officiating Dr. Rob’s wedding to 16-year-old Svetlana and Nate unfortunately hosing down protesters of pedophilia (including his own children).


On the surface, there’s obviously the argument that all of this could be avoided with clear communication. If Delilah just tells Nate and Robin that Dr. Rob is marrying the daughter, not the mother, that nips that in one the bud on the Parkers’ end… But that also involves getting Nate and Robin to listen to anyone who might disagree with them being “good people.” Contrarian opinions need not apply in the first place, because when those come through, Nate and Robin just end up getting piss jars thrown in their faces or becoming ordained ministers online. Plus, Delilah assumes that her parents are aware of this in the first place (she was asleep the whole previous day), so that clarification isn’t technically necessary on her end. As for interactions with Dr. Rob and even the protesters, as Dr. Rob goes on about the ghost of his late wife and the “age difference” in his current relationship, Nate and Robin’s pre-established biases about the South and religion as a whole instantly put them on the side they think is right and in opposition to all the “bigots” around the premises. Nate and Robin hear what they want to hear, and in some cases, they even see what they want to see. That’s not because they’re dumb but because they’re just so damn self-involved. That’s why Nate goes on about how he “stand[s] for true love,” even though he knows for a fact that Oksana—the woman he thinks is marrying Dr. Rob—is a gold-digger who constantly throws herself at him.

So while Nate and Robin spend the majority of the episode outside and unaware of the actual problem, Delilah (and even Jared) fill-in as audience proxies in a sense with their outrage over this entire situation. Again, Nate and Robin brought this all on themselves, and you know what? It’s good that Jared and Delilah are able to see that on occasion. This episode in particular makes it clear just how much they are their father and mother’s children, respectively, and while Jared has obviously gotten stuck with his father’s goofier qualities, Delilah is essentially Robin with a working compass of righteousness. Jared’s “love” for Svetlana is also more sweet than ridiculous in this episode, even with his little speech about how they both love “snack chips” and are “side sleepers.” In fact, his actions here actually read more as selfless than anything his parents do. There’s even a brief, genuine moment of bitter-sweetness as Jared has to leave Svetlana behind and they wave goodbye to each other. It’s jerked away immediately by Dr. Rob’s insane ramblings, but it still definitely exists. It happens again when the two of them talk at the hospital, and while that moment is played more for laughs, it addresses how Jared still wants Svetlana to be happy and get the things she needs in her life. He’s still a very dumb child, but the series is slowly finding way to ground that more, depending on the occasion.


Thanks to the child bride revelation at the end of “The B & B,” every single thing about Dr. Rob and his friends automatically reaches full-on body cringe humor in this episode. That cringe reaction even seeps back into “The B & B” itself with the new knowledge, especially knowing that Dr. Rob’s clown friend with the bear costume is also a pedophile—a literal “Pedobear,” if you will. I cannot stress enough how absolutely awful the Dr. Rob character is but also how fantastic Tom Amandes is in the role. The Southern gentleman, Foghorn Leghorn character such a good shade on him from the very beginning, but the added sinister, creep nature of it all really gives Amandes something to chew on—a lot of that, of course, being the scenery. Dr. Rob is just an absolute monster, and Amandes is the perfect casting for a character that goes from innocuous Southern gentleman to terrifying Southern pervert so slowly.

Dr. Rob’s villainy serves in direct contrast to the Big Bad of the series, though, as the combination “The B&B” and “The Wedding” makes it clear why scenes with Nate’s ex-boss, Gene, don’t quite work: While Nate is often a goof, one thing he is not is a nebbish, beta male, despite Gene’s awful bully schtick trying to pretend that he is. “The Hotel” introduced Nate’s hang-ups about crying and being emotional at all, which is part of that, but really, nothing about the character screams pushover. As Dr. Rob cries and gets overly emotional about so much, these two episodes make Nate’s alpha male status even more pronounced (like when he’s going full bro during a game of croquet or fighting a “bear” or hosing down protesters). He may be flustered by a gorgeous woman and all of a sudden shut his mouth when it comes time to actually be a “good guy,” but he’s no lightweight… and his scenes with Gene expect the audience to pretend for a moment that he is. Part of that may be because of his misguided belief that he’ll get his job back, but can’t one assume that him getting his job back would also mean Gene losing his own job? There’s no reason for Nate to be even a little intimidated by this guy in the first place.


Plus, Gene is a character who elicits more of a “go away” response than an actual desire to see him get his comeuppance. That’s just no fun.

Meanwhile, the person who actually ends up being an evil mastermind—Oksana—actually comes out of this episode looking pretty great, no matter how many times Nate calls her “insane” at the end of the episode. Because, is she really insane? The “quickie” proposition is obviously her poor read of the entire Nate situation (especially since she still kind of thinks Robin is his mom), but she’s right when she asks: “Am I killing a man or am I killing a monster?” She’s also extremely right when she tells Nate good and bad are all perception here, which is basically the point of Nate’s whole individual story in the series. Oksana brings up the valid point that no one thinks about the life she and her daughter would have to go back to if they didn’t have Dr. Rob’s “rich doctor” money, and as much as Nate and Robin judge her, Oksana’s plan—which she still uses for her own shallow perks—is all about setting her daughter up for life and making sure she doesn’t have to suffer in the long run. Yes, it’s absolutely awful that she pimps out her daughter, but the fact that she’d been poisoning Dr. Rob the whole time shows that, to her, the temporary pain outweighs the greater reward.


Funnily enough, “The B & B” and “The Wedding” end up being The Detour’s first look at the Parkers compared to another family—instead of just other types of individuals—and as such, that also really puts the whole “terrible parents” thing into perspective for the Parkers, now doesn’t it? Alright, probably not, but at least they continue to come out of all of this thinking they’re good people. That’s what really matters to them, after all.

Stray observations

  • Producer Rob Kolar posts songs from the show on his YouTube page, and I’m so happy that “Annex” is one of those songs. It’s still in my head.
  • USDA Agent: “What kind of people would stay at a B & B run by a pedophile?”
    Federal Agent: “Plot twist: They didn’t know.”
  • The “previouslies” segment also give another glimpse (as cheesy as it is) of just how the show’s premise can be stretched out:
    ICE Agent: “Are you almost done with him? I want my turn.”
    Federal Agent: “Yeah. I’m about halfway through.”
  • Dr. Rob: “And at what ungodly temperature did we cook these eggs?”
    Nate: “Um, the temperature you cook eggs at.”
    Nate/Robin: “High.”
    Robin: “Yeah, really hot.” More proof that Nate and Robin are perfect for each other and everyone else just has to suffer for that.
  • Did Gene pay those girls to laugh during the phone call? Because out of context (or even if he gave them a little context), I’m not exactly sure why they would find his phone call with Nate so funny. His money explains why they’re near him at all, but that part especially makes little sense as its shown.
  • However, there is the nice touch of Gene’s phone apparently having Nate’s number saved under “Dipshit.”
  • Last week, Nate pointed out how his sweet tea (before he fell in love with it) tasted “like chemicals.” Well…
  • I’m still not sure if Svetlana and Dr. Rob actually had sex, or if Oksana made sure they saved that for marriage so she could buy some time with the poison.
  • I’m also still trying to figure out which line is more terrible: Dr. Rob’s “predilection for fine young pussy” line or a post-stroke Dr. Rob’s “I can still use my tongue” line. At least with the threat of the latter, there’s the knowledge he probably won’t be around much longer with a few more glasses of sweet tea.
  • Dr. Rob: “I have tried to fuck American girls! They just won’t have me!” Again, he is so awful, but Tom Amandes is just so good in this role.
  • I went back to the Nate/Oksana garage scene afterwards, and Oksana definitely holds the anti-freeze bottle the entire time. You actually see her go to the cabinet to get it, in the background during Nate’s phone call.
  • Of all their talk about being good people, Nate, Robin, and Delilah are so ready to leave the hospital as soon as the coast is clear. It’s actually Jared who has them stay back to make Dr. Rob and Svetlana’s marriage legal.
  • By the way, despite the episode being written by Neena Beber (Daria, Clarissa Explains It All), the “South Carolina Constitution Committee Session” scene is definitely the most Jason Jones/Samantha Bee-esque moment of the series, right? “And that law still exists today.”

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