In the age of COVID-19, I think we could all use a wholesome distraction from current events, and Disney Plus’s “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” produced by National Geographic, is just what the doctor ordered.
The show has a very simple premise. The titular host, Jeff Goldblum, will get fascinated by a subject matter, which can range from anything from sneakers to ice cream to tattoos to pools, and will then use his crack team of researchers provided by National Geographic to go over the history of that thing, and in some cases, get as close to its origins as he can (in one episode, he hunts with a jean collector to find the earliest pair of Levis that he can). The episode then usually takes a turn, in which Goldblum is connected to some modern innovation in his subject of choice, and he often gets a firsthand education on his subject (in one episode, Goldblum makes his own ice cream using nontraditional ingredients; in another, he creates his first tattoo). He then wraps off the episode with a concluding dialogue in which he sums up what he learned.
Goldblum is as weird as a host as you’d imagine, but that’s part of the joy of the show. It is very well-produced, and is fun and informative. With 12 30-minute episodes, it’s disposable entertainment at its best.
This show won’t sell any Disney Plus subscriptions, but there’s a chance it’ll make you happy. While probably not the best use of National Geographic’s resources, it is highly entertaining to see them bring to life Goldblum’s strange thought tangents.
As a host, Goldblum is simply a happy old man who is just as satisfied with making himself laugh and be entertained as he is the viewer. He’s very humble in his shortcomings as a host, not being an expert in any field he explores, but that’s what makes the show work. Watching this often feels like going on a roadtrip with your weird friend who makes bizarre but memorable observations about everything you learn, and who breaks out into song randomly. You really get the feeling that this is how Goldblum acts even when the cameras aren’t rolling.
In this show, Goldblum brings the fun, and National Geographic brings the facts and production values, and it just plain works. Like toilet paper, joy is in short supply these days, and “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” Season 1 can give you about six hours of it.
“The World According to Jeff Goldblum” Season 1 gets an 8/10