When I clicked on the synopsis for the show I thought this was going to be a copy-paste of “Cunk on Earth.” While the series starts off the same, it doesn’t espouse the same absurdity and sarcasm. Instead, it’s more like watching your grandpa go on an unwilling vacation which he ends up liking in the end. Except that the grandpa is Eugene Levy.
I doubt the show would be as entertaining without Levy leading it. He starts off the show by saying that the world is like a book and if a person hasn’t traveled, then they have only read a page of it. He then says that he has read a couple of pages and didn’t find anything to become a fan about. His bushy eyebrows and the dour expression on his face almost sell the show more than the most beautiful sites shown in it.
Almost that is. From the beautiful Finnish Laplands to the Costa Rican jungles, we see the world for its beauty. Travel shows are a dime a dozen, but the setup of an old man unwillingly going on the journey provides a different viewing experience than a host who acts like an overeager puppy with an overstretched smile regarding even the smallest things. But that’s nowhere to be found here.
In one scene, Levy jumps into the freezing waters for a morning dip in a neoprene suit. If that mental image doesn’t make you laugh out loud and tune in to watch this reluctant man drag his feet along to see some of the best sites in the world, nothing will. However, the show doesn’t continue with this shtick till the end.
By the fourth episode, Levy, or rather Levy’s persona for this show stops pretending to hate the journeys anymore and actively becomes excited about seeing various cities. But why does our host hate traveling so much? Apparently, it’s not the traveling, but rather the leaving his hotel room and exploring that he isn’t fond of. And I empathize with him. After all, if I stayed in the kind of luxury hotel rooms he stays in, I wouldn’t leave either.
How expensive are those hotels he stays in? Well, they are kind of expensive that if you have to ask, you can’t afford them. Yes, the haunting feeling of being poor to travel to these gorgeous places won’t leave you while watching this travel show either. However, the sights, sounds, and activities are consuming enough that you will feel like you are on this journey with Levy.
Overall, “The Reluctant Traveller” will join the long list of already present travelogue shows that populate various streaming services (and Youtube). But it is Levy’s uninterested and expressionless body language that will draw you in for the show. However, do note that this isn’t “Cunk on Earth.” Instead, it’s about going on a journey that you will end up appreciating in the end. Once you reach the last episode you will say that Levy wasn’t that a reluctant traveler as you had expected.
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