You’all know Netflix is king for me for discovering new shows, cable shows (I don’t have cable), or movies I missed. As you may know Netflix also produces their own shows: Daredevil, Fuller House, Orange is the New Black etc.
“Orange” was my first introduction to Netflix original programming. For the most part, to me they are okay. I liked Orange but lost interest in season 3. I do like giving the original programming a chance, but most of them are forgettable.
Netflix sent me an email about their newest production The Ranch. I read the synopsis and felt it was interesting so I gave it a shot. I started on Friday night with the intention of watching the pilot and two episodes (I usually give a new show 3 episodes to see if I like it or not). The poster looked interesting, I saw a hot guy, not realizing it was Ashton Kutcher (no offense to Kutcher) but I thought it was eye candy I’d never seen before.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Kutcher’s old pal Danny Masterson playing his brother. From the start they had good timing and chemistry. Their father, played by Sam Elliott to me was dull and unlikable. He is so unlikable that Debra Winger, who plays his wife and mother to the boys can’t even stand to live in the same house with him. Who could blame her?
The pilot starts with Kutcher’s character, Colt Bennett, a local football star, moves back to the ranch after his dreams of making it in the major leagues comes to a halt. I felt sorry for Colt because he had to give up on his dreams of professional stardom. Like in life, when one door closes it brings other blessings.
Colt moves in with his older brother, Rooster aka Jameson Bennett played by Masterson and their grumpy, bitter, Republican father, Beau Bennett. As if having to deal with a failed career wasn’t enough, Colt runs into opposition from his father, who doesn’t want him in the house. But the thing is, dad’s hiding something bigger — the ranch is in major financial trouble.
The synopsis read like a drama, and I love a good family drama. I watched the pilot without knowing anything about the show, so imagine my surprise when in comes a laugh track. That took me by surprise. Another big surprise for me was the use of the occasional F-bomb. I had to remind myself that I’m not watching Fuller House and Netflix can do that because they don’t play by the same rules as the networks. Don’t get me wrong, I was not at all offended, just surprised and laughed when they dropped it because it somehow didn’t seem organic.
There was no shortage (pardon the pun) of jokes about the male genitalia. In one of the episodes, Rooster used up all the hot water and Colt had to take a shower, when he got out he said to Rooster something like, ‘I won’t be able to find my dick for at least two days.’ In another episode Colt let Rooster know he scrubbed his balls with his toothbrush. There was no shortage of ball punching either. I feel a drinking game coming on. Get your shot glass ready, and take a drink every time there is a reference to balls or dick.
Maggie “Mags” Bennett, the mom, is admirable — she’s living on her own in her Airstream and owns a local watering hole. She is not the feisty country gal you’d expect to own a bar, raise two sons and has a rancher husband like Beau. She is very subdued and her delivery comes across dry at times. She doesn’t seem comfortable using F-bombs so it comes off flat.
Elisha Cuthbert plays Abby, Colt’s high school sweetheart who is obviously not over him, but is engaged to another guy, who went to school with them and is the complete opposite of Colt. Cuthbert and Kutcher has no onscreen chemistry no matter how many longing looks they share.
Meanwhile Kelli Goss, who plays Heather, Colt’s much younger hookup has better chemistry with Kutcher. Heather starts off as a ditzy fan-girl of Colt’s. As as the episodes progressed and we get to know her and learn that there is so much more to her, and that she is actually more mature than Colt and Abby— who looks for any opportunity to rib Colt about his young hookup. Abby was Heather’s teacher in high school.
What I liked
I loved that the characters are not as shallow as they appear—the chemistry between Colt and Heather and how a possibly good thing can develop from a hookup.
The fact that Maggie (the mom) is woman enough to know when something is not working and she is not afraid to step out on her own.
Unlikable dad, Beau, is growing on me.
I loved Rooster’s dry humor and there are times Colt really tug at my heart strings. Kutcher does serious and funny in the same scene and make it work.
The show deals with how f*ed up family can be and shows that you can find humor in any situation.
What I could do without
I wish the laugh track would go, it takes me out of the world these characters live in. The F-bombs are really not necessary because they feel fake and doesn’t add anything to its delivery.
The final episode ends with a major character leaving, I am looking forward to seeing what happens there. I am rooting for Colt and Heather. Beer-bong Billy is interesting and hilarious, I hope they do more with his character.
Overall, I loved The Ranch, I binge watched all 10 episodes in less than two days.