Disney Plus Review: The World According to Jeff Goldblum by Rendy Jones
When one hears the name Jeff Goldblum, it’s difficult not to beam with happiness. The beloved actor is known best for his eccentrically positive personality and is such a delight to witness, whether it be on film, on TV, or in person. Goldblum is a larger than life figure you could never be exhausted by. So, when it was announced during D23 that one of the launch titles for their streaming service, Disney+, was a docu-series called The World According to Jeff Goldblum, I was immediately sold. The title alone convinced me to invest in the platform just for that and that alone. I couldn’t have cared less for their other original titles.
Jeff Goldblum is traveling the world and covering the most generic topics with his weird, quirky point of view. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? To no one’s surprise, The World According to Jeff Goldblum is an ultimate delight and brings just the right amount of joy and wonderment that perfectly suits the Disney+ brand.
The premise of the show is plain and simple: Jeff Goldblum embarks on quests across the globe, uncovering why the most general of items are universally adored. He goes in-depth and deconstructs what makes that item so loved by the masses, the culture surrounding it, and how it connects people in the most Goldblum way possible.
With the four episodes that I received—titled “Ice cream,” “Jeans,” “Tattoos” and “Sneakers”—I got to dissect the formula of the half-hour-episode docu-series. An enthusiastic Goldblum welcomes the viewer as he rhetorically asks why a specific topic generates mass appeal. He begins his investigation in some vibrant territory and conducts his own analysis and interviews with subjects who work in the field in order to get a better understanding of the culture, which takes him to many locations until he comes to his own personal conclusions. In the midst of his journey, he describes the history of his given subject as pop cut-out animations are presented, bringing his eccentric descriptions to life.
Out of all the launch titles for the service, The World According To Jeff Goldblum is the most authentic and genuine product that doesn’t resemble blatant self-promotion like the other crops in the field, such as High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Encore, and Marvel: Hero Project to name a few. Goldblum’s fascination and curiosity with the world and the people he encounters is the most engaging aspect that definitely sells the series. He delivers such genuine reactions that you can’t help but smile no matter how much he’s mugging the camera while a voiceover of his wildest thoughts play throughout a shot.
Some of the best episodes of the series thus far are the ones where there’s more to the subject beyond a simple Google search. The episodes “Sneakers” and “Tattoos” in specific are some of my personal favorites because Goldblum gets to study firsthand how such basic forms of outerwear have become a contemporary lifestyle. Sneakerheads have become such a huge phenomenon in our modern era and seeing Goldblum at a convention center during a sneaker con is entertaining and his genuine curiosity strengthens your engagement. The routes he takes when conducting his research don’t have much fluency, for he often jumps around from one location on the globe to another without any logistical explanation or clear segue. There would just be a quick transition at the end of an interaction he has with either his inner monologue or someone else. When he appears at his next location, his narration pretty much goes, “Oh well, now I’m here!”
If there was anything that the series reminded me of, it was Arthur’s live-action/animated spin-off Postcards From Buster that focused on Arthur’s best friend Buster Baxter traveling the globe in far off territories and learning about different subjects, the culture of underrepresented territories, and going on episodic adventures while shooting on his camcorder. Both series have a childlike wonderment to them and while one was designed for kids, this is perfect for general audiences and fans of Jeff Goldblum. Like Goldblum himself, the show never really wears out its welcome, it’s just a matter of how Goldblum covers a topic and where his journey goes. As long as you’re up for the ride, you’ll undoubtedly have an entertaining time.