ABC is going country strong this season with not one but two country-themed new series! Yehaw! We've already reviewed the new drama Nashville (which you should definitely be watching, btw), and today we give you an advanced preview of new comedy Malibu Country. So pour yourself a glass of bottom-shelf whiskey and take a seat on your mechanical bull and make up some metaphors comparing no-good cheatin' husbands and tractors because we're getting country up in here!
Malibu Country is a multi-camera comedy starring country-singer-hyphenate-actress Reba (formerly Reba McIntyre) as a Southern crooner (also named Reba, it must be in her contract) whose country-singer husband gone done her wrong by sticking his lasso in another belle's briar patch. Scorned but strong, Reba divorces the summabitch and takes the house in Malibu with her snippy stoner mother (Lily Tomlin) and two kids to revive her music career as a single woman.
Malibu Country debuts Friday, November 2 at 8:30pm on ABC, after the Season 2 premiere of Last Man Standing.
Grammy winner Dave Stewart, who I just found out is the non-Annie-Lennox half of Eurythmics. Reba producer Kevin Abbot wrote the pilot.
Despite airing right after the male-centered Last Man Standing, Malibu Country targets the other gender and should appeal to those who like to watch a woman go and get hers. It's also obviously aimed at Middle America with its Hollywood stereotypes of bimbos with boob jobs and spicy, gay minorities.
As much as it makes fun of life in Southern California, the show also does a good job of mocking hillbilly culture, too. Reba boats a certain charisma as a woman who is caught between herding her wayward children, putting up with her carefree mother, and teaching good old Southern values. There was a point in the pilot where I thought the episode was headed for a bout of hackneyed homophobia hijinks, but it took a much smarter route than I expected and turned the joke on its head (that's about the only time I was moderately surprised, though). And I'm seriously undecided about Tomlin, one of the pillars of late-'70s and early-'80s sketch comedy, as the perma-baked grandmother. She's so ridiculous, it's almost great.
Community, Parks and Recreation, and Louie this show is not. Almost all the jokes are comfortable (i.e. played out) and well-worn like your granddaddy's saddle, which is sure to be met with groans from highbrow comedy fans. Malibu Country is trying to appease the masses with bland comfort food, so don't expect it to take any risks. The show's chances aren't helped by the fact that it looks like it has the same production values as a Disney Channel comedy. Tomlin's blazin' old lady also belongs in this category; the stoned grandma character has footprints all over it. And the son character, a cocky, breasts-obsessed himbo, might be the most annoying new character of the season.
If you don't mind generic multi-camera comedies with laugh tracks and little else, go for it. It's actually harmless and good-spirited—think of it as Reba II: Off to Malibu. It is, as we say, what it is. Otherwise, stay away at all costs.
Can I see a trailer?
Cans of America's finest cheap domestics, and let the empties pile up on the floor in front of you.
Malibu Country debuts Friday, November 2 at 8:30pm on ABC.