The Parker family returns for another round of often NSFW misadventures in the even more twisted second season of the TBS comedy The Detour.
The series — created by couple Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, the latter of whom also stars in it — initially centered on a hellish road trip down the Eastern Seaboard taken by the dysfunctional Parker family, which eventually ended in a mysterious investigation. After that literal detour in the first season, season 2 takes the title more metaphorically, moving Nate (Jones), Robin (Natalie Zea) and their twins (Liam Carroll and Ashley Gerasimovich) to New York to start anew.
The investigation, however, is not over. The season 1 finale reveal that Robin has gone by many aliases will catch up with her as the second season finds the family facing scenarios you literally could not even imagine. Trust us, you’ll never look at a kiddie pool the same way again. Below, Jones and Zea tease what’s next for the Parkers:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where does season 2 pick up with the Parker family?
JASON JONES: This season starts, I believe I’m quoted, 19 months after our last check-in, which was on the beach where we finally made it. I’ve been unemployed, and Robin has refused to get a job.
NATALIE ZEA: I have a job.
JONES: What’s that, a mother?
JONES: That’s not a job. [Laughs]
ZEA: It’s the hardest job in the world.
JONES: Then I do too! Father is a job, too.
JONES: So we’ve downsized and are living in a trailer park and not loving it.
The Parkers then move to New York. How do they take to the big city?
ZEA: They’re terrible at it, as you can imagine, because they don’t really belong anywhere, specifically in a metropolis in New York. There’s just way too many ways that they can offend. So I think Robin probably has the most issues with it, because she’s convinced that her past is going to come back to bite her in the ass, and it does fairly quickly on.
In season 1, the title of the show was on the nose. What would you say the detour is this year?
JONES: We were a little more literal last year, but it was always intended to be a metaphor for their lives, and the literal detours they go on to find their way.
The big reveal in the finale last year was that Robin has gone under many other identities. What’s going on there?
ZEA: There’s lots of wigs, I can tease that. I’ve got some good photographs that I’m hanging on to. It’s hard not to give too much away with this, but the good news is that everything will be revealed eventually — not like in the last 15 minutes. The payoff is fairly soon. Then it just gets worse.
What new challenges is the family facing this year?
ZEA: The kids are adults now. They’re more mature than their parents in some ways. We have that incredibly hard transition from being a child to being a grown-up to contend with for them. That’s one big challenge.
JONES: Also, we flipped that paradigm that we created last year with them, where she was the smart one that everyone thought was cool and he was the dumb-dumb dummy. We flipped that like, “What if he was the smart one this year and she was the loser?”
ZEA: She’s so beautifully awkward and weird this season. He, too, really shines. They’re both so good — not that they weren’t last year, but they’re really coming into their own as performers.
What about for Robin and Nate?
JONES: Last year, if there was one theme to take away, it was, “Are we good parents?” This year, it’s, “Who the hell did I marry?” That’s kind of the theme that resonates throughout. As we learn more and more about her past, you go, “Who are you exactly? How did those years before you met me inform who you are now? I feel like you’ve changed, but have you?”
ZEA: Yeah, and, “How is my perception of you so different from the reality of who you really were?”
Jason, what real-life moments from your relationship with Samantha are being pulled into the show this season?
JONES: There is no secret sauce of, “This scene came from this part.” Everything that I write about is a kernel of something that probably happened to me or one of my writers that I’ve co-opted and made it seem like it’s mine.
ZEA: I will say, the things that are most outrageous, the things that I’m like, “Jason, this feels a little unrealistic,” it’s always the stuff that actually happened to him. The stuff that’s the most outrageous and the hardest to believe, it’s almost always the truth.
Natalie, did Samantha ever give you any particular tips for this role?
ZEA: Samantha is busy saving the world, so I don’t know that she has time for tips. We just are happy she lets us use her name. She was just like, “Go for it, this is a brand new character, it’s not me, it’s you. Do what you do.” Which was great, because I can see how that would be very intimidating going into something like this, but from day 1 I was never meant to feel like I was playing a real person.
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You guys did some crazy things in season 1. What was that like trying to top that in season 2?
JONES: We felt a little restricted last year in terms of the arc of the season, which was an A to B storyline for the most part. There was slight divergence, but this year we were a little more open. We have three storylines going this year, which is a piece of metal that will come to reveal itself much later, Robin’s relationship with her past, and then this other investigation that’s happening that converges as well. The interrogation scenes soon find their way into the narrative of the show.
ZEA: And things start making a little more sense — until they don’t.
We still don’t know what they’re under investigation for, right? Is that a series-long mystery?
JONES: No, we have not yet revealed it. You will see, by the end of this season, what they’re after. It’s not the thing you’re thinking.
Between the two of you when you’re filming all these crazy things, who’s more likely to break during a scene?
ZEA: Me, it’s me, it’s always me. Halfway through the season, I came home one day from work and my husband’s like, “How’s work? How you doing?” and I’m like, “I’m just really disappointed in myself, because I’m having a really hard time keeping my s— together on set lately.” I was really upset about it. Jason didn’t seem to have a problem with it. I got it together finally, but it’s usually during hand job scenes. [Laughs] Yes, scenes with an s, because there’s more than two. You’ll notice my hair is covering up my face during a lot of those shots, because I’m really trying to keep it together.
What is it like filming some of those crazy scenes in front of the kids?
JONES: This season, we pulled back away from our inappropriate relationship in front of the kids.
ZEA: It’s separate. They didn’t really know what was going on.
JONES: I remember we did the table read of this scene where she’s saying, “Cock-a-doodle-do,” but she’s saying, “Cock Bock,” and the whole room was howling. I saw her face, she looked at her mother as if to say, “Why are they all laughing at this? I don’t get it.”
ZEA: Which is great news.
JONES: The fact that she doesn’t get that joke makes it play so much more purely. She just went for it. We were just like, “Hey, do your best chicken.” [Laughs]
Coyly tease five crazy things you do this season that shocked even you.
ZEA: I eat out of a toilet.
JONES: That’s not coy!
JONES: This is a true story. I get a horrible infection in my eye that comes from a very unlikely place. The worst place for an infection to come from.
ZEA: Jason gets covered in pee.
JONES: That’s not coy!
ZEA: How do you coyly tease that?
JONES: You say, “Jason experiences—”
ZEA: My urine?
JONES: “—a similar scatalogical dousing as he did last year.”
ZEA: Oh, it is a callback.
JONES: That whole episode is a callback.
ZEA: Is there any pooping?
JONES: No poop.
ZEA: No pooping this year — we’ve graduated.
JONES: There was one pooping. I cut it because it just grossed out even me.
ZEA: Oh yeah, that was gross. That was too gross.
JONES: I was getting a hand job while someone else was pooping.
ZEA: Hand job No. 2.
JONES: It made me sick. If I’m getting sick, then the audience is turning on us.
ZEA: That’s three.
JONES: How about this: I return from whence I was born.
ZEA: That’s good. There’s definitely more.
JONES: There’s so much more.
ZEA: I would come home from work and say, “I don’t understand what we just did.” There’s some stuff in the car, the over-the-jeans stuff.
JONES: Oh, blasting.
ZEA: There’s some blasting. It’s equal opportunity handies.
JONES: That’s the thing — we spread around the hand-to-genital manipulation. The digital manipulation, it’s not just for the men.
Is there any commentary on Trump this season?
ZEA: Well, there’s the locker room talk.
JONES: I don’t know if I cut that. When we were filming this summer, we were all like, “Eh, he’s not going to win, we’re not going to comment on this.” We do have one tiny little allusion to him. When we cut outside the interrogation room, we’re in a hallway. It’s a federal building, so it’s got all the presidents on the wall. One of the agents walks past Trump’s picture, and it’s the only one in a gold frame. That would be our only allusion to him.
Will Nate and Robin finally get married this year?
JONES: Will Robin and Nate finally get married this year? Let me pose it back to the readers: Do you really think they should?
The Detour returns Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on TBS.