Cable network TBS’ new comedy The Detour is filled with profanity, graphic discussions of sex, and depictions of drug use…and involves two minor children in its adult storylines.
For most of its existence, cable network TBS was home to innocuous fare, best known for airing Atlanta Braves baseball games. But now, the former “SuperStation” has joined other cable networks in creating original programming – and appears to have taken a cue from networks like FX and AMC, who not only produce graphic, adult-targeted programming like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, but who force every cable and satellite subscriber in America to pay for it.
TBS’ new program The Detour is an adult-themed, gross-out “comedy” in the vein of FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. When Nate Parker is fired from his job, he decides to turn his family’s flight to Ft. Lauderdale into a road trip in their broken-down van. Along the way, the family runs into all manner of allegedly “humorous” difficulties, involving strippers, graphic sex talk, and explicit drug use.
The Detour is appropriately rated TV-MA (mature audiences only), but airs Mondays at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m., the heart of prime time. However, the most troubling aspect of the program is the fact that lead characters Nate and wife Robin’s minor children, Delilah and Jared, are involved in the show’s adult action. In the first two episodes alone, Jared and Delilah enter a strip club and see strippers writhing on poles — and Delilah gets her first menustral period in the strip club’s restroom; receive a talk about the “facts of life” that turns into a discussion of their parents’ sexual problems and hang-ups; and watch internet porn in a hotel business center, while their parents are getting stoned.
Here are a few samples of the show’s content:
• The family pulls into the “Banana Creamery.” It turns out to be a strip club. The strippers wear bikinis. Jared gapes at a stripper, who lies on her back. Her legs are spread wide and she is grinding her crotch against a pole. Other strippers give lap dances to various patrons, revealing cleavage and bare butts. One holds a bottle of champagne that spurts out liquid. Another stripper hangs by her legs and crotch from a pole. Another pours champagne over her breasts. Nate and Robin grab Jared and drag him out.
• Jared talks to a stripper.
Jared: “Can I see you pop a bottle of champagne with your ass?”
• Nate and Robin describe the “facts of life” to Jared and Delilah.
Robin: “Anyway, after about two or three minutes of really good feelings–”
Nate: “It’s a lot longer than that.”
Robin: “— when the man is ready, or sometimes ready a little too early–”
Nate: “Oh, come on! Twice. It happened twice!”
Robin: “– the woman accepts the daddy’s seed, called semen.”
Delilah: “What’s that look like?”
Jared: “Like a white map of Hawaii.”
Nate and Robin glare at him.
Jared: “That’s what Toddy says.”
Robin: “It’s like, ummmm, like shampoo.”
Nate: “No, it’s less thick. It’s like tahini sauce.”
Robin: “Sure. It’s saucier, but, yeah.”
Delilah: “Wait. How do you know what it tastes like? You don’t eat it, do you?”
Robin: “You do, sometimes. On special occasions. Birthdays.”
Jared: “Do you eat hers?”
Robin: “No, no. Women don’t have semen. But rest assured, if they did, your father would go nowhere near it.”
Nate: “Well, thanks to a three-week menstrual cycle —”
• Jared has driven the family car into a ditch.
Nate: “It’s not our fault he’s such a shitty driver.”
Robin: “He’s only 11.”
Nate: “Still pretty shitty.”
While The Detour is targeted at and rated appropriately for adults, is it really necessary to air the program in prime time – or to involve children in the obviously adult storylines?
While TBS can claim that children shouldn’t be watching the program – that’s why it’s rated MA, after all — the actors playing the children are themselves children, and they are obviously being exposed to the show’s adult content. (Ashley Gerasimovich, who plays Delilah, is 12, while son Jared, played by Liam Carroll, is around the same age.)
Finally, there is the fact that, like FX and AMC, TBS is forcing every cable and satellite subscriber in America to pay for this programming…even though only a tiny minority are likely to find it funny.
Clearly, TBS is desperate for the program to be a hit; the network ordered a second season of The Detour before the first episode even premiered. The network is apparently equally desperate to promote the program’s showrunner, ex-Daily Show writer Samantha Bee; every single commercial break featured a promo for Bee’s late-night talk show, Full Frontal.
Unfortunately for TBS, the April 11th premiere of The Detour garnered barely more than a million viewers – literally less than 1% of the cable viewership of America. And unfortunately for the other 99% of cable and satellite subscribers not enamored of profanity-laced, sex-slathered storylines involving minors, they are still paying for TBS’ Detour into bad taste.