Nate and Robin Parker (Jason Jones and Natalie Zea) aren’t perfect parents on TBS’ The Detour, and some of their methods can make it seem like they don’t know what they’re doing as they drag their kids, Delilah and Jared (Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll), across the country while on the run from the postal service, bad luck, and the fallout from their own bad decisions. But let’s get real: do perfect parents really exist and is there really a less than messy way to parent? Seriously, who can legit say that they haven’t screwed up and psychologically damaged their kids in a minor way as they wing their way through life as a parent? Who can say that they weren’t messed up by their own well-meaning parents?
Clearly, the guidebooks are bullsh*t. And so, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what some might perceive as the Parkers’ biggest parenting fails and explain why they’re actually pretty relatable and sorta justifiable, especially considering the unique situations the Parker family always seems to find themselves in.
A Small Crack
A parent’s filter is like the Hoover Dam, holding back a biblical flood of insults and real talk from the fragile psyche of kids who walk around thinking they’re exceptional even when they’re not. Though Robin’s words may seem harsh, it’s useful to remember the size of the reservoir of hard and hurtful truths that she’s keeping at bay. Sometime’s you gotta forgive a small crack.
Leaning On Others
The optics of bringing your kid to a strip club (accidentally!) and then seeing them get consoled by strippers when they get their first period are not great, but there is no way you’re going to be at your kid’s side for every awkward moment. Some they’re going to have to figure out for themselves and some will force them to rely on the kindness and empathy of strangers. It really does take a village to raise a kid and sometimes that village has a killer buffet and a lot of body glitter.
There are clear rules of the road that every parent has to lay down for their kid, but adulthood is all about the grey and sometimes those things come into conflict. Drinking and drugs are definitely in that grey area. Of course, you’ve gotta deliver a “Just Say No” message with authority and a finger wag to the kids, but sometimes you also need to take the edge off.
You know your parents didn’t lock eyes across a crowded room before sharing a slow dance and a long, sexless courtship, right? The fairytale glamour really starts to wear off as you get older and start to poke holes in those mushy love stories, eventually discovering that Zima, boredom, and an abandoned parking lot played a bigger role in your creation than Cupid.
Nate and Robin know that their kids know better than the sanitized version of events thanks to their penchant for over-sharing. Which is, perhaps, a symptom of being in “four-against-the-world” mode for much of the show’s run. But maybe there’s a silver lining to treating the kids as though they’re near equals. Chances are high that Delilah won’t become a repeat green card bride in the same way that Robin was now that she sees the numerous drawbacks. Or, if she does, then at least she’ll know the right way to do it.
Acknowledging One’s Level Of Suck
Maybe the harshness of the assessment is different. Every parent doesn’t conclude that they’re “the f*cking worst parents ever,” but every parent has felt something close to this level of disgust at one time or another. That’s both useful (because the opposite would mean there were even more self-satisfied assholes in the world or more kids who don’t know the virtues of being hard on yourself) and almost never true. Again, parents make mistakes while trying to protect, nurture, and love their kids — Nate and Robin sure do. In that those mistakes are made while chasing those greater goals, some leeway is required.
We’ll see what mistakes Nate, Robin, Delilah, and Jared make while hiding in Alaska on the run from the feds in the third season, which premieres on January 23 at 10:30PM.