If you have kept up with our Weekly Watch list, you know that Thursdays are for documentary watching. The World According to Jeff Goldblum is such a delightful, simple, yet entertaining series of short episodes about everyday topics. Coffee, dogs, birthdays — every time, I’m amazed by Jeff’s ability to look at things from a new perspective. Sometimes it takes a quirky detour, but that’s what makes it so fun. Documentaries don’t have to be dull and serious.
Choose your subject
How do you get the most fun out of this series? Start with your favorite topic as the first episode. We began with “Coffee,” which is Episode 9 from the first season. And yes, there are some expected facts, but I was surprised that the episode focused more on how coffee connects people! That’s not the angle I would have thought of myself. How often do we say, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee,” but mean “Let’s catch up” or “Let’s get to know eachother”?
The first episode of the series is actually about sneakers, and I couldn’t care less about that. But because “Coffee” turned out to be so enjoyable, I was convinced that even topics that didn’t interest me could be fascinating. Sneakers included. With the camera in tow, Jeff goes to a sneaker conference, where the camera has to be turned off because sneaky sneakers are being sold for high prices… You get the feeling that you’re witnessing illicit negotiations. (Which is probably the case…) Jeff Goldblum’s curiosity and humor make everything interesting.
Short and sweet: just under 30 minutes
A typical documentary usually takes more than an hour to take a serious look into a subject. It often goes into greater depth, zooming in on one aspect as much as possible. Jeff is an unpredictable force. In an episode about swimming pools, we suddenly find ourselves at astronaut training. And all that in 30 minutes! Yes, sometimes it’s too short. But then you have a great jumping-off point to explore more information on your own. And sometimes it’s perfect—30 minutes gives you more new facts than you bargained for on a topic.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum is a series that takes you all over the place. It’s perfect for our current short attention spans and our hunger for lots and lots of content. Yet, it’s a calm series where I truly relax. This is in contrast to other documentaries we watch on Thursdays, where murders and kidnappings sometimes take center stage. These sweet, short episodes are healing and beautiful. And funny.
Not corny, but sincere
There’s always a chance that this type of series can become cheesy. But Jeff Goldblum is simply a genuinely nice man. He takes everyone seriously without becoming sappy. He strikes a great balance between humor and seriousness. He can swim with a synchronized swimming group, dance around a campfire when walking on hot coals is involved, and sit down at a piano. But no matter how eccentric or offbeat the people he speaks with are, he treats them with respect. That also makes you respect people who may be a bit obsessed with, for example… camper vans.
Is there a downside? Yes. This is a series that’s not about “the world” but about the US, specifically seen through the (always stylish) lens of Jeff Goldblum. And as interesting as the perspectives may be, it never delves deeply. But that’s not always necessary. You can see this series more as entertainment and a stepping stone to a life where you occasionally inquire further or look beyond what’s readily available. Don’t take everything at face value, but sometimes peek behind a door that’s normally slightly ajar.
If you’re looking for a fun, funny, and relaxing series, give The World According to Jeff Goldblum a try. Skip the episodes that don’t grab you and enjoy the topics that do interest you. Who knows, you might even discover a new hobby or pick up a book on a specific subject. And even your cup of coffee can become a bit more adventurous.