I’m not sure what brought about “The Cabin with Bert Kreischer” (2020–), a Netflix miniseries which, despite a few laughs and unexpectedly emotional moments, fails to stitch together a wholly satisfying experience. The show centers around comedian Bert Kreischer’s attempt to detox from his hectic lifestyle of travel, performance and perhaps too much heavy drinking mostly at his wife’s behest. That said, the series immediately takes a detour from the promise in the first episode, as Kreischer informs his wife that he decided to turn his recovery trip into a TV show on a clearly staged video chat.
From this point, the show runs through a routine of Kreischer putting his guests, which includes everyone from comedians like Joel McHale to public figures like Caitlyn Jenner, through a gauntlet of “recovery” activities that seem more closely tailored for jokes and goofs than the initial premise of helping Kreischer heal. The trouble is that the show shifts in tones so quickly that it can feel like genuine moments fizzle out that before they can deliver the emotional punch they are owed. For instance, Kreischer’s being brought to tears by a revelation about his father can be left in the dust as the show barrels forward. The show’s sub-30-minute format doesn’t allow nearly the detail necessary to communicate the kind of in-depth look I wanted into both Kreischer and his guests. Too much pressure is put on the audience to know who Kreischer’s guests are, and for that matter, we aren’t told too much about Kreischer outside of the basic premise of a hard-working comedian who needs a break from it all. The series falls victim to the same issue as another Netflix offering from this year, “Challenger: The Final Flight” (2020), where segments either need to be cut or lengthened to create a more consistent product.
The good news is that Kreischer is a likable enough fellow, and even if his sense of humor isn’t quite to your liking, he has a strange charm that helps to carry the program through some of the raunchier moments like getting a coffee-based enema with comedian Bobby Lee. That previous sentence communicates another hurdle for potential viewers of the series: It is hard to get through each episode if you aren’t a fan of gross-out comedy. However, while Kreischer is not shy about his body (going so far as to be in some state of undress in all but one of the episode introductions), his openness and seemingly genuine enthusiasm makes him a loveable if off-kilter protagonist for the series.
When deciding whether or not to watch “The Cabin,” do not ask “who is this for?” A better question might be “how many times can you see Bert Kreischer naked before you shut off a Netflix show?” If your answer is anywhere below “a lot” I would say “The Cabin” is not for you. Otherwise the show is worth a look for a few chuckles and a handful of genuine moments.