I interviewed Rainn Wilson several years ago, in the mid-2010s, and can testify firsthand that — notwithstanding his manic, lovably oddball sense of humor — he’s one of the most thoughtful and interesting subjects I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing about. And you don’t even have to take my word for it, either. There was always a deceptiveness to his humor on The Office that mixed, for example, slapstick with pathos when the occasion called for it. And we’re set to get more of that next month, with his new travel show that’s coming to Peacock — Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss — which looks absolutely sublime.
The Peacock streaming service is a lot more interesting than people in my profession tend to give it credit for, and shows like this one are just one example of why. The 5-episode show, which Wilson will host and which debuts on May 18, is based on Eric Weiner’s New York Times bestselling book The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. In it, the actor will traverse the globe in search of the secrets behind — I know, it probably sounds hokey — but the happiest places on earth.
He’ll be traveling from Iceland to Bulgaria and Ghana, taking a closer look at both happy and unhappy societies, in what Peacock promises will be a “profound, humorous, and experiential way that unpacks the science of happiness.”
This series is produced by RadicalMedia, and the five episodes will each be 60 minutes long.
To my point above, about what I guess you could describe as the Tao of Rainn, he’s also currently on a book tour at the moment promoting his new Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution. It “explores the problem-solving benefits that spirituality gives us to create solutions for an increasingly challenging world.”
All of which is to say: It makes all the sense in the world to me that Peacock would decide to give Wilson a travel show about a literal search for happiness. “I grew up as a big-headed baby in Seattle,” Wilson says in a voiceover during the newly released trailer for the series. “Eventually, I landed in Los Angeles as assistant to the regional manager. Yet, for all my success, you think I’d be happier.
“Unlike so many others, I struggle to find true joy … happiness is out there, hiding in some of the places you’d least expect. What I want to know is … which places?”