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Malibu Country might catch the Romney/Ryan crowd

Malibu Country poster

Written by : published Saturday 3rd November 2012

Malibu Country might catch the Romney/Ryan crowd main image

Reba McEntire, these days known as just Reba, is a great singer and a capable actress. Who can forget her role in the classic (a term used only slightly tongue in cheek) sci-fi film, Tremors? And after a successful six year run of her previous sitcom, Reba, a new vehicle for the former country star seems like a no-brainer. Paired with another comedy comeback, Tim Allen's Last Man Standing, the time slot should work for it, serving as ABC's attempt to reach out to a demographic different from their norm.

What might be over looked by some viewers, though, is just how bad Malibu Country is. Possibly worse than Last Man Standing.

The plot is this: Reba's husband, Bobby (Jeffrey Nordling, Body of Proof, 24) cheats on her. She tries to stand by her man, but then he demands that she actually speak in public, and she loses it, in the nicest way possible while still expressing hate. This event prompts her to pack up her two teenage children, Cash (Justin Prentice, Winx Club) and June (Juliette Angelo, New Year's Eve), and with her alcoholic mother, Lillie Mae (Lily Tomlin, Web Therapy, The West Wing) in tow, move from Nashville, Tennessee to Malibu, California.

So why does Reba, a strong, intelligent woman, stand next to Bobby in the first place, before coming to her senses? There should have been a more dramatic scene that explored these opposing elements of her personality, but that sort of pathos will never be explored in a comedy this broad. What's more, we learn that Reba gave up a promising singing career to raise Bobby's kids in the first place, an action that seems at odds with a woman strong enough to leave him and set out on her own. I'm not saying a woman cannot be complex in this manner, I'm only complaining that the characters presented in Malibu Country do not come across as complex, and in fact, complexity would feel out of place. 
Oh, and Reba right away writes a song sure to be a hit, quickly and single-handedly sure to re-launch her long-abandoned career as a singer. Talk about fantasy! Where is the struggle? Audiences root for a mountain overcome, not fame handed out on a silver platter, which might not happen, but based on the "Pilot," probably will.

Worse than the characters is the way that Malibu is portrayed. It is a land full of drugs and homosexual boys who still kiss girls, awash in their heathen, immoral ways. It is surprising that the character of Reba is only a little judgmental, when the writers of this drivel clearly get their current events from FOX "News." Reba is not a hate-filled person, but whoever made up these characters and situations is. Sure, California is more liberal than Nashville, but there would not be a switch flicked that puts Reba quite so out of her element.
Interestingly, Tomlin, who for some reason must change the spelling of her first name when in character and wear a terrible wig, is a lesbian herself. So was the "Pilot" created by small-minded people, and then the actual production handed over to those less concerned with such things, but too lazy to fix them? Or ordered not to? After all, ABC already has their bases on the other side covered with Modern Family.

It's the way everything in Malibu Country seems at odds with itself that kills the show. That, and it's just not funny. Most of those involved deserve better, and hopefully audiences won't tune in and find a populist point to rally around anti-West coast culture. The last thing we need this election season is more divisiveness, pitting the middle of the country against the coastal regions. But, considering the other series it's paired with, which shares a similar, though far less obvious, sensibility, this is exactly what might happen.

Malibu Country airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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