Conan's smart and stupid Max travel show

Max Conan O'Brien must go It is a travel show with a twist.

“My job is for you to not learn anything about the country,” O’Brien explained in a stunning recent segment on “History.” Hot web series, a theme that I'm sure would have done more to boost its visibility Conan O'Brien must go From the dozens of marketing dollars put in by Warner Bros. Certainly in this series. “My mission is that you will know less about the country after I finish than you did when you started.”

Conan O'Brien must go

Bottom line

More ridiculous than objective, as intended.

Offer date: Thursday, April 18 (at the latest)
Executive Producers: Conan O'Brien and Jeff Ross

During O'Brien's performance Hot — especially after he announced that he had never encountered any kind of spice until his 50s — which may have surprised some observers, and a few fans of the late-night veterans will be surprised that his assessment of Conan O'Brien must go cheater. Or at least it's deceptive poetry. Conan O'Brien must go It's not the kind of travel series that will leave viewers “in the know” for their own sake. But over the course of four episodes, knowledge inevitably creeps in.

Conan O'Brien must go is a smartly stupid show – or a stupidly smart show – that focuses (loosely) on what's essential about travel. It's a series about arriving in a new place open to meeting new people, learning new languages, tasting new foods, experiencing new uncomfortable conditions… and then making fun of them, all the while making fun of yourself and other people's fears. About stepping out of their comfort zones.

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Or maybe it's just a show about Conan O'Brien making fun of travel shows. No matter how broad or limited your perspective is, and no matter how broad or limited Conan O'Brien's perspective is, Conan O'Brien must go It is a very silly and sometimes illuminating series, still finding its rhythms and comedic voice by the end of the fourth episode. This leaves the show's biggest takeaway as, “Wait, that's it?” I want more.”

Although O'Brien has done travel-centric material in the past — I'd argue international travel was the pinnacle of his TBS show — Conan O'Brien must go It is an extension of his podcast Conan O'Brien needs a fan.

Conan O'Brien must go It finds the host heading abroad to meet and provide assistance to listeners/viewers/fans from all over the world. This gives the impression of something more organized than what is actually going on.

Yes, Conan goes to Thailand to help a young woman stand up to her overbearing mother, tries to get radio play for a Finland-based hip-hop group, undergoes a portrait shoot from an artist in Argentina, and meets three Pakistani-Irish siblings in Dublin. But these activities are more of an allegation than a hypothesis.

The visits — which are “surprise visits” in some cases — set the tone more than anything else, something along the lines of “comic combat” in a context that will be familiar to podcast listeners. O'Brien loves breakthrough pieces and admires people willing to fight back. One thing O'Brien is good at is never seeming to get ahead of himself – which isn't easy on a literal level, since O'Brien outshines his guests, but it hasn't been easy on any level since O'Brien. “Brian will always be a generally popular, Harvard-educated television personality, and his new friends don't tend to be like that. It takes amazing calibration to go to a foreign country, find someone whose first language may not be English, and keep the joke from being… As easy as: “Ha, ha, I'm making fun of you and you don't get it.” Sure, this can serve as a layer of humor at times, but Conan is careful to position himself and his discomfort as the real target of the joke.

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When O'Brien wants to have someone he can mercilessly mock, that's where someone like longtime collaborator Jordan Schlansky comes in. Schlansky plays a major role in the Argentina episode, taking on the more traditional role of the travel steward who has done his homework. He researches and knows trivial details about almost everything, so Conan mercilessly blames him for doing his homework. Even then, the joke tends to be that Schlansky is right and Conan doesn't care.

Or as O'Brien says: “Whenever I visit a new country, I like to learn the local customs, so I can ignore them.”

O'Brien appreciates this type, and Conan O'Brien must go It's an homage to the genre, in some of the same ways the host used to approach the talk show format when he was a young Turk. The Finnish episode is dominated by Conan and company's overreliance on drone footage, going so far as to have O'Brien run with the drone in Oslo, where flying such aircraft is apparently illegal. There are multiple occasions – the street food scene in Bangkok and a butcher shop in Dublin – where O'Brien makes sure to sample “extreme” foods, acknowledging that this is what travel hosts do. I've seen more travel hosts than I can count navigating floating markets in Thailand, but I've never seen a flight attendant do it with a squeaky rubber chicken and an Angry Birds hat, holding a sculpted dildo.

And sometimes Conan just wants to be really goofy! He performs a song in a popular Thai variety show, tries out tango and Muay Thai, and goes on a hunt for Bono in a public park in Dublin. He's game for anything as long as it can look ridiculous. Not everything quite works, but you can always feel O'Brien and his writers relentlessly scanning the horizon for the next fun thing to do on their journey.

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The one thing they haven't yet figured out how to do, or figured out if they want to do, is to be completely honest. The episode in Ireland is crafted in the idea that this is a chance for O'Brien to trace his roots in Max, but any time the proceedings get too close to actual emotion, it quickly retreats into absurdity. All episodes end with the obligatory, humorless recaps of his experiences — again, a nod to travel show convention amidst the freewheeling silliness — and knowing Conan's work, it's easy to feel that he could, if he so chose, retain 95 percent of the want-to-please goofiness and also weave in some sentimentality The real one.

Or maybe that's not a thing Conan O'Brien must go aspire to. At the same time Hot segment, O'Brien described his goal, again disingenuously, as making viewers dumber after each 40-minute episode than they were when it began. He'll have to settle for “more entertainment.” Bring on the second season.

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