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‘Down to Earth’ Proves That Zac Efron Was Meant to be a Travel Host

It takes a certain set of skills to be a good travel host. You have to be the perfect mix of excited and skeptical to make these new experiences exciting to the viewers at home, but at the same time you have to be charming enough to not seem like an obnoxious tourist. Who would have guessed that the perfect balance of all those traits would reside in a former Disney Channel star? Netflix’s Down to Earth proves that all of that acting was just a front. Zac Efron was meant to be a travel host.

Each episode of Down to Earth follows Efron and his friend Darin Olien as they search for sustainable ways of living around the world. And as far as dynamic duos go, theirs is kind of perfect. Olien, known as a wellness expert and a lover of superfoods, is often the one tasked with asking the serious questions. That leaves room for Zac Efron to just be his goofy self.

In theory, people watch travel shows to learn something about a place they’ve never visited before. But what they really want to see are reactions. It’s fun to explore new and interesting places but it’s even more fun to watch someone react to local customs and flavors in the same way that you might. Efron brings that energetic relatability in spades. When he’s excited about something that happiness courses through every part of him, causing him to literally click his heels in glee at one point. When there’s something he doesn’t enjoy, like his self-made Icelandic chocolate bar, his disgust and disappointment are immediately obvious. Efron is just like your travel-loving friend, all wide eyes, excitement, and eagerness to try anything.

What transitions Efron from a good travel host to a great one is his almost subconscious breaking of the unspoken rules of travel television. Time and again when the duo is asked to try something dangerous or unpleasant like an ice bath, it’s not Efron who jumps right in. It’s Olien who then has to convince our adventure-loving host to be adventurous. Alternatively, when something goes right, like when a local breaks out a delicious dish native to his or her country, Efron jumps in ready to share. He routinely pulls in his camera crew and directors to taste whatever new dish he loves, cracking this genre’s odd rule that viewers are only supposed to be traveling with these shows’ hosts.

That’s what traveling is: acknowledging your hesitations before trying a new experience and sharing the good with as many people as possible. It’s messy and unpredictable. Efron effortlessly channels that energy. And between Down to Earth and Quibi’s upcoming Killing Zac Efron it seems possible that this star is on his way to yet another successful career shift.

Watch Down to Earth with Zac Efron on Netflix

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