Aired on: ABC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
For those of us who loved watching Reba McEntire for six years on the sitcom Reba, there would be some good news for us in the 2012 Fall Television Season. That's right, Reba McEntire would be returning to television in a new comedy airing on ABC Fridays at 8:30PM EST called Malibu Country. Being a fan of Reba's comedic timing and delivery, I couldn't wait to check the show out when it premiered November 2, 2012.
In Malibu Country, Reba McEntire is Reba McKenzie, a former country singer who put her successful career on hold after marrying fellow successful country singer Bobby Gallagher (Jeffrey Nordling). The discovery that her husband has been cheating on her leads to a divorce and Reba finds herself out of work, raising two teenagers and taking care of her slightly addled mother Lillie Mae (Lily Tomlin). She moves them all from Nashville, Tennessee to a house she never knew her ex-husband owned (before the divorce proceedings) in Malibu, California.
Right away, we realize that life in Malibu is going to be a culture shock for the whole family, especially when they meet their new neighbors. Kim (Sara Rue) is a plastic, airhead, touchy-feely character who shares too much information about her life and marriage with Reba right off the bat. Her son, Sage (Hudson Thames), pretends to be gay in an effort to try his make-out skills on all the girls he can, including Reba's daughter June (Juliette Angelo). Meanwhile, Reba's son Cash's (Justin Prentice) enthusiasm for Malibu is soured in no time as he realizes he has lost popularity points by moving from a town where he was a superstar to a town where no knows him and everyone is so "pretty." And Lillie Mae, well in Malibu, she has progressed from drinking to medicinal marijuana sampling to cure her anxiety.
Reba has her work cut out for her here in Malibu, especially if she wants to make it back into the music scene. As Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez), a record label assistant, tells her, Reba needs a hook to make it back into the industry. She doesn't match the age or looks profile currently searched for, so she must find a different way - writing a hit song, something she hasn't done in years. Will Reba and her family find a way to survive in Malibu, or will they find themselves packing their bags and heading back to Nashville?
Watching Malibu Country, I couldn't help but compare the show to Reba, as this new show had quite a few of the components of the old show that made the old show such a hit. First, there is the cheating husband that leads to a divorce. Then there is the fact that Reba is a divorced mom trying to make it without her ex-husband. In Reba, there were three kids. Malibu County has two kids, but the mother takes the place of a third. There is the whacky, too sharing, too clingy neighbor in Malibu County that seems to be a substitute for Barbara Jean from Reba. Cash is quite a bit like Van from Reba and June even looks like Reba's Kyra.
I'm sure that there are some out there that might even say that Malibu Country was a remix of Reba, and they might be right...but that doesn't make it any less funny. Reba McEntire has not lost any of her comedic skills - her facial expressions, delivery and comedic timing are excellent and combining her talents with those of the legendary Lily Tomlin is genius to say the least. Reba's relationship with the rest of the cast is absolutely perfect and the charisma between characters makes the storyline believable. The writing is perfect and I have to wonder if some of the writers from Reba aren't working on Malibu Country's staff.
I loved Malibu Country and highly recommend it as a great pick-me-up after a long day at work. The comedic talents of this cast and the terrific script makes Malibu Country a Fall Television Season winner and, quite possibly one of the funniest programs of the year. I can't wait to catch the next episode.