Jason Jones and Samantha Bee are a busy married TV couple.
Each has their own show — Jones with the TBS sitcom “The Detour” and Bee with her TBS talk show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” — and each also executive-produces the other’s show.
But Jones says balancing their personal and professional lives is no hardship.
“I’ve always worked with [Samantha] . . . so I don’t know what it’s like not to work with her,” says Jones 46, on the phone from Maine, where’s he’s vacationing with their three kids. “I don’t know what regular couples talk about — no one wants to talk about their job to a person who doesn’t understand it. If a teacher and a lawyer come home, what do you guys talk about? So in my opinion, it’s a perfect relationship that way.”
A perfect relationship is a far cry from what Jones’ character, Nate Parker Jr., has with his family on “The Detour,” back for its fourth season (10:30 p.m. Tuesdays). In the series, created by Jones, Nate’s family is trailed by criminal relatives, has run-ins with the law and is constantly relocating. In Season 4, the Parker family (Natalie Zea plays Nate’s wife, Robin) globetrots from Tibet to New Zealand searching for their runaway daughter Delilah (Ashley Gerasimovich).
While most shows are well-oiled machines by the time they’re four seasons in, Jones says that’s not the case with “The Detour.”
“It’s weird. I always hear people say that, but we’re so hard on ourselves. We switch pretty much all the crew every year,” he says. “The constants are me and the cast and the writers’ room. It’s always a new challenge. It’s never an oiled machine. It’s a very creaky machine. I like it — I think when you’re painted into a corner, you work harder and come up with more irreverent ideas.”
Most of the action this season was filmed in Vancouver, so it took some strategizing to make it look like Russia or Tibet for certain scenes.
“It’s always difficult to be in a young country like Canada and looking for old architecture, like, ‘This is not a Russian ballroom, this wasn’t built in the 1600s!’ ” says Jones, who adds that the cast traveled to Europe for that very reason. “The place we did go on location was [to] Budapest, which doubled for two episodes we spend in Russia,” he says.
And even though Jones and Bee co-executive-produce each other’s show, the job mostly entails moral support, he says.
“I’m pretty hands-off on her show in general. We’re always each other’s backstop — a sounding board for when we don’t know what to do,” he says. “Certainly, if I’m free, I’ll always lend a hand, and vice versa.”
He says he and Bee mostly split household duties, depending on their work schedules. “I’m a single parent right now up in Maine,” he says. “She was up here for a bit and had to go home because she’s got a show next week. I stayed because it’s too nice to leave.”
Aside from “The Detour,” both Jones and Bee first rose to fame on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” — but that’s not how they met, Jones says.
“We met in Canada [where] we were doing really bad children’s theater together,” he says.
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