Category: Television Review
In March, I reviewed America the Wright Way from the Travel Channel. I was none too pleased with Ian Wright's ridiculous travel across America. In fact, I could not make it past the first commercial break. Apparently the Travel Channel saw the error of its way: even as frequently as they repeat shows (I have most of the RV Crazy! narration memorized simply from having seen it so frequently), America the Wright Way has disappeared from the station's line-up faster than the "no smoking" signs around Anthony Bourdain.
The Travel Channel has kept the "Brit exploring the States" scenario and revamped it, this time as Lawrence of America. Lawrence of America is hosted by Lawrence Beldon-Smythe, a British reporter and "truth-seeker." Each 30-minute episode has Beldon-Smythe at different American spots in the name of "journalism" (Beldon-Smythe might be the first graduate of the University of Borat): a NASCAR race, Las Vegas, NASA's Cape Kennedy, Nashville's country music scene.
Unlike the earlier attempt at showing us our own country through British eyes, Lawrence of America is funny. Beldon-Smythe is far more endearing to the audience than the obnoxious Ian Wright had been. While not side-splitting (unless you're a major fan of British humor -- or is that humour?), Lawrence could definitely teach some other Travel Channel hosts a thing or two about comedy.
Beldon-Smythe will probably never replace Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, or Samantha Brown on the list of "top Travel Channel hosts," but his brilliantly-portrayed buffoonery deserves to be kept on the channel. It also deserves a couple of those aforementioned repeats, because currently episodes (two back-to-back shows) only air once a week (Tuesday nights at 11 and 11:30, eastern).