Review: ‘Malibu Country’ another successful sitcom
A newly-divorced woman named Reba must start her life over, raising her children by herself while discovering an inner strength she never knew she had. Sound familiar? Yes, this is the premise of Reba McEntire’s first sitcom, the long-running “Reba.” It is also the basic idea behind McEntire’s new show “Malibu Country.” But the latter is no mere rip-off. Rather, it is a surprisingly smart and very funny series in its own right with the potential to be as successful as its predecessor.
After her husband cheats on her, former country singer Reba McKenzie leaves him and moves to Malibu with her mother and two teenage children. Her goal is to restart her music career, but the business has changed a lot since she was last a part of it. In addition to proving her talent, she must now overcome the industry’s reliance on youth and looks. As if that’s not challenging enough, McKenzie and her Nashville-raised family must adapt to the free-spirited, often outrageous California lifestyle. Is it possible to be “Malibu country?” McKenzie is about to find out.
Sitcoms always run the risk of being inane or plain stupid, especially in the eager-to- please first episode. Yet the pilot for “Malibu Country” was strong, indicating a promising new series. The jokes come naturally and are genuinely funny. Some of the humor is even edgy for a family show, though it never crosses the line into inappropriateness. While McKenzie’s airhead son is a tired stereotype and the kooky neighbor is somewhat annoying, the highly comedic writing more than makes up for them. Executive producer John Pasquin (who helped make “Home Improvement” a success) certainly seems to have another hit on his hands.
Reba McEntire once again shines as the star of her own sitcom. Of course, her role in “Malibu Country” is not much different from her character in “Reba,” and both parts bear a remarkable similarity to the actual McEntire. But the character of McKenzie is at the same time different from anything McEntire has played before. She knows that she is in over her head, raising her kids in a foreign place while trying to re-enter a young person’s business, and McEntire effectively conveys this vulnerability. Another jewel of the show is Lilly Tomlin, who steals her scenes as McKenzie’s outspoken mother.
With its Friday night time slot on ABC, “Malibu Country” will once again have viewers saying TGIF.
Pirate Life gives this 4 out of 5 stars.
Sean Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.