Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Red Pill Review: The Ranch

But when he came to himself he said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I'm dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.'" He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran towards him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
— Luke 15:17–20

Okay not quite how Beau Bennet welcomed Colt back home.

I had written off Netflix Originals.

Nothing new there.

Things being what they are in Hollywood, I have of late pretty much written off everything with a budget bigger than a youtube video.

However, for a while it seemed that Netflix was looking to out do HBO in SJW friendly entertainment.

One example; the original House of Cards was about a take over of the Conservative Party by a reactionary chief whip who amusingly cheated and murdered his way to the top of parliament's greasy pole to become prime minister.  The Netflix version was about a reactionary  Democrat (really?)whip who was promised the post of Sec State and decides to murder his way to the top when he doesn't get it.  There is no way in hell a House of Representatives Whip would be offered Sec State, it just wouldn't happen.  Oh yes their version Frances Urquhart is a Southron because the South is evil and racist.

Jessica Jones was clearly depressing feminist pap.  I tried watching it and couldn't get past the first episode.

Sense 8 on the surface looked to be potentially amazing.  Netflix had the producers of Babylon 5 and The Matrix working together on a show.  I was prepared to be dazzled. I was not prepared for a ridiculous sermon on inclusive, intersectional joys of psychic transgenderism.

I found Daredevil preachy and slow.  Although I did like the Punisher episodes, those were tolerable.  But for the most part it's a show about uber lefty knobs as heroes.

I had liked All Hail King Julian but then they had to soil that one for me with anti-Trump, pro-immigration episode. I can't bring myself to watch it now.  Thanks guys!

And then that all changed...

...What am I talking about?  Of course it didn't all change.  It didn't even get close to all changing.  SJW garbage is still all over Netflix Orginals.  But suddenly there were a couple of diamonds that could be dug out of the shit.

The first, Stranger Things.  A show that appears to have struck SJWs like a fine mist of vinegar.  Something seems just vaguely off to them but they can't quite put their finger on what.  Mostly they decided to hold a vast hissy fit about the death of (*censored for spoilers*).  A character they can all completely identify with, in that they too could have run away and died and no one in their high school would have noticed or cared.

And now there is The Ranch.  A show that is running 55% positive with critics and 75% with people who have seen it.  Give RT a look.  It's clear as it is obvious that the critics object to it for political reasons.  They have sent out the smoke signals for the rest of the tribe. "This show sends out bad thoughts and disturbing ideas to our kind."

The Premise is as follows;  Colt Bennet (Ashton Kutcher) was the biggest thing his small town had ever produced.  A first class talented quarterback. He was the Big Fish in a very small pond.  He left his home and the family ranch behind and never looked back.  He was going places fast.  He was going to be the next Tom Brady.

Except he turned out to be the next Tim Tebow.   Quarterbacks aren't exactly a dime a dozen, things might have gone better for Colt if they were.  But those jobs are scarce and most them are hanging on to their positions by their fingernails and Colt could not.  After a career with an unspecified NFL team, he was dropped down to the AFL.  Then bounced around the CFL.

When our story opens, he is trying out for a semi-pro team, not too far from his home town.  A thirty-five year old man with the battered body of a fifty year old. He is broke enough that he decides to do the unthinkable and sleep over at his family's ranch.

His brother Rooster (Danny Masterson) isn't keen on having his baby brother back home.  After all he stayed and worked for his father while Colt pissed away everything that life had given him.  Sound familiar?  (Luke 15:17–20)  He loves his brother like a brother and hates him like a brother too.

His father Beau (Sam Elliot) is...well it's hard to tell if he's happy to his son back or not.  Beau Bennet is an old school cowboy.  He is a lonely and stoic figure cut from the cloth of the American West. Displays of raw emotion are completely alien to him. And mostly he's lonely because his wife Maggie (Debra Winger) left him years ago.  Also (*spoilers*) she didn't exactly leave him.   Beau ultimately wants his family back together.

I'll go with the Cons first.

The opening credits song is a butchered rendition of Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys performed by (*sigh*) Shooter Jennings.  Waylon Jennings' son. It wouldn't be a promising start to any show.

The level of comedy itself is rarely exceptional.  There are a few good genuine laughs per episode and the pilot was pretty much the funniest of all of them. Call it a mid-level comedy, if you liked That Seventies Show, you'll be happy with it.

Lastly there is a lot of profanity.  If that bothers you, then this is not a a show for you.  Also you should probably stop reading my fucking blog.

Pros:  Everything else.

This is a show about Red State People and it's actually respectful of it's subject.  Beyond respectful it's actually sympathetic. I was shocked as hell to see that.  It's an accurate painting of rural life.  The harshness is there.  The small town squabbles. The country music that is everywhere.  People with a lip full keying open a beer can so they can have a field expedient spittoon (always keep an eye on that can or just start drinking something else).  Excitement about opening day.  Endemic alcoholism, (hell I thought that was just my home county).  The small town secrets that everyone knows. The Christian faith that is part of the background of everyday life. The underlying fabric of trust between neighbors.

In short, no.  Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel is not present.

Ashton Kutcher is still playing the same character he's been playing since 1998.  Surprisingly it's improving with age.  I am reasonably certain that Kutcher is one of those actor who simply plays himself.  He was an SJW back when he was inexplicably married to a woman twice his age.  But fatherhood and a wife with a better age difference and a more conservative background may have matured him.  Kutcher is listed as an executive producer on the show.  Certainly it got green lit because of his name being attached to it.

Danny Masterson plays Colt's older brother Rooster and I did NOT recognize him.  I just saw a competent and seasoned comedic actor who seemed to pair well with Kutcher.  I briefly wondered if they had brought in someone from Broadway and then I read his IMDB page.

Neither of them are all that good at carrying the dramatic aspects.  Lucky for them they don't have to.

Sam Elliot effortlessly shoulders that load as their long suffering father, Beau.  Beau is portrayed as an old school Red State Silverback Alpha.  He makes jokes about Obama and Al Gore (undoubtedly the source of the negative reviews).  He is the unquestioned and unquestionable head of his household. A tough as nails rancher. Yet, Elliot plays the part with grace and humor.

Debra Winger who I haven't seen in sometime plays his estranged wife Maggie.  I am reluctant to tell you much about her character because spoilers.  We shall say relations between the two are volatile.  Winger, plays off well against the rest of the cast.  She is a seasoned and capable actress.  She plays the older redneck gall and does it convincingly. A woman who is as loving as she is tough with her unruly brood. She sets up Elliot's best scenes in the show.  If the critics didn't hate this show so much, both she and Elliot would be up for Emmys.  

Elisha Cuthbert plays Abby, Colt's high school sweetheart.  The girl he left behind and the only one he regrets losing.  However, he handles it like a Red Pill male and immediately bags a girl half his age.  Cuthbert does a good job with decent material.

The writing on this show is exceptionally good.  The character development (after a few jolts transitioning from the pilot, to the regular season) was a smooth and quite natural progression. In fact they even gave an interesting life to the character of Heather.

That was all that Heather was supposed to bring to the show.

And she did!

However after a few episodes the writers actually gave her a character with life and motivations of her own.  That even expanded to include her sister and her mother which lead Rooster to (*spoilers*).  This was a matter of good writing.  They let a minor character that  was only suppose3d to jiggle around the set for an episode or two, drive the story.  They didn't stick to a pre-ordained path that was decided when they workshopped the show originally.

None of the female character are feminists.  That mental disease is alien to their world. There is no room for spoiled stupid women when life is hard.

In summary.  The Ranch is a Red Pill must see. A gentle natured, foul mouthed redneck comedy that doesn't look down on rednecks. The writing is well structured.  The performers are at the top of their game and have good material to work with.  Sam Elliot and Debra Winger are a treat and the last episode left me with a manly tear hovering in my eye.

It did not spill over of course, Beau would have hated to see that in a man.


Undocumented Pharmacist said...

Agree with your assessment on The Ranch. Simply good entertainment without the preaching/pushing of the Narrative which has left me with almost no TV to watch. I really enjoyed each character as none of them were stretched out of shape to meet an agenda bullet point. The ending was a little dramatic for me, since I was gonna be coming back anyway.

One quibble might be that the little town of Garrison has a shit-ton of good-lookin' women in it. Wild horses couldn't drag me away from that place. Time has not been kind to Cuthbert. I can see how her character of high school sweetheart would remind Colt of when he was at his peak, but she really can't compete with Heather, who has been fleshed out (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) into the superior option in my opinion.

The other characters are all very good, even the bar-fly Hank seems to fit in perfectly. Rooster is funny, if not funnier than Colt. ("Screw this, I'm going to Dairy Queen.") Looking forward to next season.

Cataline Sergius said...

My favorite line was, "I have ten dollars for anyone here who knows my age."