Director: Michael Winterbottom
Features: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Steve is asked to review restaurants for the UK's Observer and is joined on a working road trip by his friend who fills in at the last minute when Coogan's romantic relationship falls apart. This was the premise for the first season where they visits places in North of England. In the second season they are visiting Italy, from Liguria to Capri, following the footsteps of the great Romantic poets.
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon plays fictionalized versions of themselves by exaggerating aspects of their real selves with some fictional inner turmoil added in. In the first season Steve Coogan's falling relationship with his girlfriend, who was supposed to be in the trip with him, was the overarching theme. In the second season focus on a personal level is more on Rob with him being involved in a fling with a girl they meet during the trip and also trying out an audition for a role in a Michael Mann film, which makes Steve slightly jealous of him. He is supposed to play the role of an Italian mob accountant which brings out all the impersonations based on Godfather from both of them.
Both the seasons were edited to bring out films of them and my first experience of 'The Trip' was through the film with the same name out of the first season. I saw the TV episodes after that and haven't yet seen the film made out of the second season and I guess I will catch up on it after a while only. I thought the first film was better than the first season's TV episodes with the personal story of Steve coming across better with a very powerful ending which conveys his loneliness. On TV it felt a bit inconsistent with each episode dedicating what felt to be a premeditated time for Steve's troubles. This kind of feel was less for the second season and so I don't think there will be much difference between the film and TV season. The two seasons comprises of six episodes each.
What you get with 'The Trip' is two friends who wants to make it seem as if they can't stand each other and are jealous of each other in some sort of way. Steve Coogan is of course the more successful of the two but he holds resentment for being not that successful in his film career. He looks down upon Rob Brydon' material and is on the whole quite condescending to him. There are plenty of references and impersonations all of which you might not be able to get. The most recurring ones are Michael Caine, latter years Al Pacino, Brando from Godfather and other usual suspects from Britain like Sean Connery, Jimmy Saville, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore etc. It is a very unconventional comedy that is quintessentially British, also playing up their modern relationship with America which is essentially a combination of condescension and inferiority complex. It is great watch and I am also a fan of Michael Winterbottom, which I don't know whether is a precondition to love the show. Along with 'The Trip, my favorite works of his are '24 Hour Party People' and 'The Killer Inside Me'.