Michelle Buteau is having a moment right now; she’s been in a bunch of well-regarded films, her podcast is popular, and she’s the host of Netflix’s reality series The Circle. Someone at Discovery+ was smart enough to offer the outgoing comedian a travel show where she hangs out with her funny girlfriends. Read on for more about Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau…
Opening Shot: Michelle Buteau is on a paddleboat with a lifeguard, telling the camera “I’m in the middle of Mississippi… on purpose!”
The Gist:Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau has the effervescent comedian traveling around the U.S. with her comedian buddies, just hanging out, talking about life, and being funny without the use of a microphone in front of them and a brick wall behind them.
In the first episode, she tours the Gulf Coast of Mississippi with her friend Tig Notaro, who is from that area. As a goof, she decided to surprise Tig by paddling up to her on that paddle boat. Then the two of them get in and paddle across the lake to shoot arrows from a vertical crossbow, with the inventor of that kind of crossbow as their guide.
A lot of the “action” on the show consists of Buteau and Notaro bonding on drives and over coffee or drinks, as you would do if you went with a buddy on a short trip. However, they do take a trip to a ceramics studio and make “balloon bowls,” which involves spreading clay around the bottom of an inflated balloon and doing a lot of pounding. While Notaro deadpans that Michelle is doing everything wrong, she also talks about how she’s from a family of artists.
They make classic Southern dishes but vegan style for dinner, and bond over been twin moms and finding the time to fit in their careers with motherhood. As they eat lunch the next day, Tig gets a text from her cousin inviting the two of them (and the crew) to a crawfish boil that night, and then the two of them visit a quirky antique store. Before going to the crawfish boil, the two sit at Tig’s favorite bar and talk about deep stuff like how some of their comedian colleagues “were exposed” by #MeToo; Tig also mentions that some comics “exposed” themselves, a not-so-subtle reference to her former boss, Louis C.K.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Because of the funny, relaxed tone of Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau, we’re more reminded of funny travel and food shows like Somebody Feed Phil, where Phil Rosenthal is funny without trying too hard, and only as a punctuation to what he’s experiencing on the show.
Our Take: One of the things we noticed about Weekend Getaway is how the show’s sense of humor snuck up on us. Sure, Buteau and Notaro are two of the funniest people on the planet, so you’d expect laughs in this series. But the laughs are so in the moment, so unforced that they don’t overwhelm the scenery or the activities that Buteau and Notaro are engaged in. It truly feels like two funny friends having fun hanging out with each other, albeit with camera and sound people all over the place.
What we also enjoyed is that the trip wasn’t super ambitious; sure, the two of them did things that were set up by the producers in advance; even the crawfish boil at Tig’s cousin’s house was likely not as spontaneous as it was portrayed. But the two of them stayed in a small area somewhere around Bay St. Louis, and much of what was shot was the two of them eating, drinking, and doing some antiquing.
Because the pace of the trip is so relaxed, the conversations the two of them had were genuine. The deepest one was the two of them talking about how they’ve had to drop friends in the business because they don’t equivocate on people that have been misogynistic and/or committed sexual misconduct. It’s even more apparent how much it’s affected Notaro, especially when she makes her not-that-veiled reference to Louis C.K. But it’s also reflective of conversations we’ve had with good friends over beers, and we’re pretty sure you’ve had those conversations too.
Sex and Skin: None.
Parting Shot: After Buteau talks about how friendly everyone has been on her trip, we cut to “45 minutes later” as everyone at the crawfish boil is a bit tipsier. There are also outtakes of Buteau making fun of the massive microphone the sound guy has put in her face.
Sleeper Star: Buteau isn’t the sleeper star on her own show, but this is a good place to mention that her glee while experiencing this trip is infectious.
Most Pilot-y Line: None that we can discern.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Buteau makes for a funny travel host, with her bubbliness and curiosity on full display in Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau. In the two other episodes sent for preview, she tours New Orleans with Sasheer Zamata and Malibu with Chelsea Peretti. Judging by her trip with Tig Notaro, both of those episodes should be a lot of fun.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.