Better Late Than Never: A Thai Goodbye – So Soon? (Review)

 Better Late Than Never - Season 1

Better Late Than Never ended things in an apparent rush with the guys visiting Thailand. Last week saw the group in Seoul, South Korea where Jeff played a brilliant practical joke on his aged companions.

This travelogue ended on a rather restrained note as the travelers said goodbye to Asia after a number of activities.  There was a tuk tuk race, visiting with elephants, tattoos,  a water fight, and Terry Bradshaw’s birthday.

Better Late Than Never, which is, amazingly enough,  an American travelogue version of a South Korean production; Grandpas Over Flowers Investigation Team, has been interesting and very popular. The viewing figures are impressive with an average, not counting this episode, of 7.196 per segment.

(The “Grandpas” show featured a group of 20-something detectives who grow old “overnight” – except for one member who stays young – and they must investigate their new body’s issues and how to change back. BLTN is quite a leap from the original.)

In “A Thai Goodbye” George Foreman “knocks out” Bill Shatner in a Mai Thai boxing ring.  The two icons spar in the ring and it looks like Shatner pushes it that bit too far. (Something that Bill has been accused of for years…)  Foreman turns serious and pastes a right on Shatner that takes him to the matt.

Better Late Than Never - Season 1
The smiles before the “fight.”

The whole thing is played for laughs and afterward the guys put ice on Bill’s face. Sidekick Jeff brings out a larger bag of ice for Shatner’s ego. (Very funny.)

Once again there are clips shown that are never followed up on. The trip to the monkey island for example.

Terry Bradshaw got to celebrate his 67th birthday in Phuket, Thailand.  As part of the celebration a Thai ladyboy came and sang for him.  The transgender performer tricked Bradshaw into a “lip smack.”  The former quarterback went with the flow and enjoyed his party.

(On a sidenote, there was obviously a little smoke and mirrors editing done for this sequence, or at the very least a  David Copperfield feat of teleportation. Jeff manages to be in two places at once, sitting at the table with the birthday boy and then popping out of the giant birthday cake seconds later.)

The group end up in Chang-Mai where they visit the elephants and partake of the culture. Shatner heads to the library and Bradshaw falls in love with Chang-Mai while Henry and George take cooking lessons.

Both Foreman and Shatner try the hottest pepper in Thailand. Later the guys ride elephants and they meet one that paints flowers on canvas.

They finish up in the Karen Hill Tribe village. While they tour this cultural area, Terry sings and it begins to rain.

“A Thai Goodbye” was more about wildlife, suburbia (jungle style) and less about city life, and weird foodstuffs.

Better Late Than Never - Season 1
Thailand travel…

The show ends with a “lana meal” and the guys all recap their feelings about the journey and their experiences. They also send off a prayer, or wish, via a floating lantern.

Although Better Late Than Never  ended far too soon (when the show first started it seemed there would be five episodes and not four) it was a fun look at four older icons traveling outside their comfort zones.

Jeff Dye, with that whole Ben Affleck thing going on, was a good fit with the young at heart actors and athletes  on the show.  (Dye looks so much like Affleck that one wonders if he is a sibling. He would have to be as Ben is not old enough to declare Jeff as a secret love child.)

The big question, after this fond and somewhat sentimental goodbye, is whether or not the show will return for another season.  It is doubtful. After all “Grandpas Over Flowers Investigation Team” was set in South Korea. Going back with the same guys would be redundant.

Still, for “summer filler” this was an entertaining, if not completely factual, travelogue. Well done chaps, even if  you did leave out the Sumo visit…

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Better Late Than Never: Seoul Brothers Kpop & KDMZ (Review)

Better Late Than Never - Season 1

This week’s episode of Better Late Than Never “Seoul Brothers” continues the show’s theme of leaving things out.  Last week it was the sumo wrestling, this week it was the dragons. Once again tantalizing clips are shown but not the actual event.

Missing dragon’s aside, this episode was funny and the highlight was definitely the Girls’ Generation interaction with the “old geezers” who filmed a music video with the group. Unfortunately, the video clip shown at the end, was to their 2009 video “Gee.”

(An excellent toe tapper that has over 167 million views that are well deserved. This is a song that, even without the video of achingly gorgeous young women dancing and singing,  is addictive to the extreme.)

The episode does not mention that these Kpop bands and groups are all manufactured. Scores of school kids, male and female, aspire to be the next big thing in the world of Kpop.

As Jeff points out to the group, Seoul is famous for its emphasis in youth and Kpop. It is also one of the most technologically advanced place in the world.  The guys eat live octopus, except for Terry who refuses to try the wriggling creature. He does, however, crack Shatner up with a nose blowing gag. George is not impressed and leaves the restaurant.

If the Kpop video in a Seoul studio is the highlight, and Winkler steals that moment  with happy feet that will not stop, the visit to Korea’s DMZ is a close second. The men nervously approach the “border” and freak out when Jeff drops his mobile phone in North Korea and all the guards get very excited.

Winkler is the first to break ranks and streak for the car. Later Dye reveals that the whole crossing area is a left over film set and that the guards are all actors. Anyone who has watched the brilliant 2000  South Korean film  J.S.A.: Joint Security Area will recognize the crossing immediately.

Better Late Than Never - Season 1
“I don’t want to die in this shirt.”

The looks on the men’s faces were priceless.

Prior to the vist, Jeff sets his older companions up to sleep on the floor of a spa, the cost for one night is $6, and the men manage to annoy the hell out everyone else. A combination of pillow fights and loud behavior makes them the least popular ones in the large room.   Terry Bradshaw, however,  is delighted  to see Shatner actually laugh and clown around.

Bradshaw says that it is the first time that William Shatner  has been “fun” since the trip started. After the men wake,  Jeff takes his charges to a Seoul nightclub.  It is a place where the oldest local participant would be 35 years old.

All the older, and married men, attempt to get Jeff hooked up with one of the many beautiful young women in the building.  George starts the initiative  and despite their best efforts Dye manages to strike out.  He gets slapped no less than three times by a young lady who does not look amused.

Bill sings, somewhat mercifully he did not perform Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Later, Shatner and Winkler talk about “swiping right” and Henry has no idea what Bill is on about.

The episode ends with the chaps having an outdoor picnic where they have their food delivered by drone.

Better Late Than Never - Season 1
Drone picnic.

While Better Late Than Never may be all scripted, all  “reality” TV is and this show falls under that caveat, it is still entertaining. Each of the iconic men on board for this travelogue come across naturally and none seem too concerned with their images. (One of the benefits of old age.)

We leave you with the highlight of the episode, the guys in all their costumed glory performing with Girls’ Generation:

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