Here it is again! The second installment of ‘The Trip‘ series that sees Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan embark on a restaurant tour, this time around Italy. There’s laughs, arguments and of course, a whole heap of celebrity impressions. As usual, it’s great. And also as usual, there’s lots of deep character moments hidden within meaningless chats over food in beautiful locations. So let’s tuck in!
So this time round, Rob has been asked to do a series of restaurant reviews so naturally invites his best pal Steve. You’d never have guessed they were best friends in the first series, but this time round things are much more friendly. And things only get warmer as they go on. There’s still a lot of one-upmanship and petty arguments and disputes over trivial things. Steve often seems embarrassed by Rob and tries to shut him down, but this time he also joins in with the impressions and the little skits much more. We even see Steve laugh! What a sight that is to behold.
As usual the characters of Rob and Steve are at the forefront of this series over any sort of plot. Personal stories guide the narrative and keep the viewers involved. Series 1 saw Steve having the emotional crisis, but this time round it is Rob that is the less stable one. Rob struggles being away from his hectic family life, even going so far as to have an affair. It’s clear that he misses his family but at the same time wants to have some new experiences and reach out to new things. He also gets an offer to be in a Michael Mann gangster film, something which would mean he would be away from his family even longer but also help his career. Rob is in quite a difficult place here. Steve meanwhile seems much more free. He feels young, even though he may not be, and is clearly enjoying life a lot more than before now that his television show has finished and given him more free time. This shows much more during impression segments, where Steve joins in more for fun than to prove Rob wrong. Although there is still a fair bit of that.
Talk this time focuses on a lot of different topics. Fame and their acting careers are quite prominent subjects, especially in places visited by greats such as Humphrey Bogart and the like. Rob in particular isn’t massively happy with his career and they both know that they will not really be remembered for years to come after their deaths. Both are experiencing dips in their careers, and talk of them both getting older often makes for some melancholy discussions, despite the fact they want to enjoy their lives while they can. There’s talks of nutrition and staying healthy, including a particularly hilarious bit about eating Mo Farah’s leg. It can get a little dark and depressing, but it’s always lightened up by a bit of fun soon after.
Talking of fun, the impressions are back! The old classics like Roger Moore, Al Pacino, Michael Caine and Rob’s brilliant Hugh Grant are back. There’s some not so good ones like Marlon Brando and Pierce Brosnan, but then there’s some good new ones like Tom Hardy’s Bane, Christian Bale and Clint Eastwood. Plus there’s the introduction of what is possibly my favourite ongoing part of this show: Rob Brydon’s guess the bill game. Apparently he’s doing an impression of Henry Kelly (no idea who that is, some quiz show host I think!) and I love it. Rob gets the bill and gives Steve three options to guess the right amount. The first few are way too easy, but then it becomes more of a challenge. I love to play along when I’m watching it! And Steve looks to be enjoying the game too. Sprinkled in amongst some real friendly chatting these impressions are really funny and makes them seem even more like real people.
The other major characters in this show are Italy and the food themselves. The landscapes are phenomenal. From Naples to Pompeii, it’s like a real cross country tour of beautiful settings by Mini, by boat and by restaurant. The food looks delicious. Naturally there is a lot of pasta and seafood, and once again despite not eating fish I found it looks wonderful. It makes me so hungry and longing for a holiday that it’s even hard to write about it now. The sun is bright in every scene and the sea is as blue as anything. What I’m trying to get across is: I want to go to Italy please.
‘The Trip to Italy‘ is another great entry into this series. It furthers the stories of Rob and Steve and brings new elements to the table. It’s like a great sequel where it brings more of the same but changes things up just enough. It’s great. This show really is a gem and will be eternally enjoyable, for those that watch for the food and the settings, for those that watch for the actors themselves and even those that can just relate to some of the stuff going on. It’s a brilliant easy watch and I’m glad this series continues as it does. I just wish it didn’t make me so jealous all the time!
JACK’S SCORE: 5/5