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‘Malibu Country’ Recap: Reba McEntire Shows Her Comedy Chops in Debut Episode

Reba
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

The debut episode of Reba McEntire‘s ‘Malibu Country’ aired last night (Nov. 2) and the verdict is in: It’s hilarious and edgy! It’s the classic sitcom format, with a very modern bend, in terms of its jokes. In a TV world populated by too many reality shows, it’s refreshing to see this country star return to the small screen and just own it as a woman scorned who makes lemonade outta her lemons.

Obviously, this is not Reba’s first time at the sitcom rodeo. She had her own eponymous show, which ran from 2001 through 2007. But with ‘Malibu Country,’ which is obviously a name loaded with double entendre, as her character Reba McKenzie is a Nashville woman navigating the murky social waters of So Cal, she’s expanding on a simple and familiar format. You can take the girl out of the country, buy you can’t take the country of the girl. But it’s how easy the flame-haired singer’s comedic timing is and her expressive eyes that make the show a winner. She delivers a joke and lets it marinate for a hot second, and the laughs come quick.

We’ll be recapping each episode every week, so you can keep up with the happenings. Here’s our rundown of the debut.

Reba McKenzie moves from Nashville to Malibu after her hubby cheats on her with a backup singer and it becomes fodder for the tabloids. She had put her country music songwriter career aside to raise the family and planned to stand by her cheatin’ man…until the press conference. That’s when she decides enough is enough and heads west.

With her mother Lillie Mae -played by the excellent sour puss Lily Tomlin- and her kids Cash and June (another country music nod) in tow, she takes over a well-decorated beach shack she didn’t know her husband had owned. Waterfront property and the eternal California sunshine certainly take the sting off of being cheated on, doesn’t it?

The comedy’s edge comes in when Reba and her mama toss back shots midday with a buxom blonde neighbor -aka a ‘Real Housewife’-type- who admits her hubby wears her panties. She also has a gay stepson with whom June practices kissing.

Lillie gets high on pot lollipops, while Reba tries to hit reset button on her career by scheduling a meeting with a record producer. Turns out the ol’ husband is a roadblock, as he is a powerful singer. Her exchange with the producer’s assistant is comedy gold, where he tells her she needs a hook not a voice, since they have computers for faking vocals.

My, how things have changed. The fact that Reba wants to provide for her family, and not take her husband for all he’s worth, provides the show with a constantly renewable premise and a platform for more laughs. It also shows the stuff the character is made of.

By the end of the first episode, McKenzie has been inspired to write a song, delivers it to the assistant and waits to see if she can get back to what she loves doing most. Juggling parenting with professional satisfaction and whacky neighbors appear to be the continuing arcs of the show. No, that overall theme is not breaking any sort of ground, but the edgier material is in capable hands with Reba, who breaths life into it and makes it funny.

Until next week…

Next: Country Stars Without Makeup

 

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