It's a Guy Thing

The Trip to Greece

A review by Asher Luberto

The recipe is simple: Keep the camera rolling as comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing versions of themselves, sample food, and celebrity impressions while traveling the globe. First, they explored England’s lake district (The Trip), then Italy’s countryside (The Trip to Italy), then Spain’s coastal region (The Trip to Spain). But like all good recipes, the formula remains fresh no matter how many times you try it.  

Served in small, spicy vignettes, The Trip to Greece follows Coogan and Brydon as they retrace the path taken by Odysseus from Troy to Ithica. Writing a newspaper article on their adventure–something we never actually see them doing– they dine at six cuisines, in six mythical locations near the Mediterranean sea. They are, of course, too consumed with themselves to admire Greece’s sandy, sun-kissed beaches, photographed in natural light and accompanied by Michael Nyman’s romantic score. But what makes this series work isn’t locations. It’s Michael Caine. Michael Caine impressions, that is. 

Laugh-out-loud impersonations are the series’s biggest draw– Coogan and Brydon exaggerating their public personas is a close second. That said, Brydon is in his bag here. With impressions of Mick Jagger, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, there’s plenty of moments worth re-playing, or repeating, if you’re watching with company. And plenty of references to Greek literature–a little Plato here, a little Hippocrates there– if you’re into that sort of thing. 

The pair seem as comfortable as ever in Greece, evoking the kind of friendship where long car rides are no longer awkward and personal jabs are no longer off-limits. “I look better as I get older,” Coogan says over wine. “That’s what I’m saying,” Brydon replies. “You were unpalatable as a young man.” Later, they travel through caves, ancient ruins and the island of Lesbos (yes, Lesbos is a real island). 

Though some jokes play like leftovers from prior films, director Michael Winterbottom doesn’t settle for more of the same. His series finale takes a somber turn when Coogan’s father becomes ill. Questions of age surface. Are these (fictional) actors past their prime? Have they lived a full life? What’s next? Could this series really be ending?

“Are you going to miss me?” Brydon asks during a bittersweet coda. “Yes and no,” Coogan replies after a pause. The pause says everything. He’s going to miss his friend, and that sense of loss will resonate with anyone sad to see these bright, palatable characters go.