Netflix took a new approach to their original programming and made a sitcom series called The Ranch. Reuniting Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson from That 70’s Show along with Sam Elliot, the sitcom focuses on this small family as they try to get by living with each other as well as saving the ranch they’ve worked on all their lives from going under. I should begin by stating that this isn’t a typical sitcom for two reasons. First, this sitcom is for mature audiences by allowing the F bomb and other mature themes all throughout the show. For me, I personally thought that’s what helped the show because they were very flexible with their dialogue and able to come up with some funny lines. Secondly, and more oddly, this sitcom is also a drama almost soap-opera type. This is what makes The Ranch such a different show and how it feels somewhat awkward when watching.
The story kicks off when Colt Bennett (Kutcher) returns home to the ranch that his father Bo (Elliot) and his older brother Rooster (Masterson) still live and work daily to keep it running. Colt was an all-star football player in high school that could never really let go of the past, ends up not making a career out of it and resorting to go back home. Here he deals with the challenge of living with his family once more, trying to prove to his father he can work on the ranch, encountering an ex-girlfriend he still has feelings for, and a much younger female who he develops a relationship with. The comedy is definitely there throughout these situations, especially between Colt and Rooster, but there is so many dramatic moments I feel like the tempo is all over the place.
The two main dramatic story lines that slows this show down is between Bo and his wife Maggie (played by Debra Winger) as they try to patch things up while they live separately; and Colt and his ex Abby who is in a serious relationship with another man. The story between Bo and Maggie isn’t that bad actually, it makes sense and it’s funny to see how two complete opposite characters try to work with each other. The story between Colt and Abby however is so cliche it’s very hard to watch. Colt plays his part by showing his feelings for Abby, while Abby shuts him down at first but ends up flirting with him all the way until the very end when…what do you know she doesn’t want to be with her man anymore. I like Kutcher in his role because he’s funny and plays the dumb card really well, but I wasn’t very impressed with the actress in this show.
Besides the slowed down drama throughout the ten episodes, the humor can be pretty great sometimes. Kutcher and Masterson together on screen again is hilarious. They feed off each other and make the best insults and jokes in any situation. The dialogue is pretty fun, especially when it comes back around at the end of a scene from a joke that started in the beginning of the episode. Some episodes are better than others, but the mocking of Colt and Rooster is definitely worth pushing through and watching. I’d also like to give praise to the strong performances to both Sam Elliot and Debra Winger as they both try to put all they can on screen which ends up working.
Between the western country setting, the predictable plot that follows, great laughs, and some good dramatic scenes, I’ll have to say that The Ranch isn’t something I was totally expecting and I’m not quite sure how I stand with it by the end. I’ll say give it a shot to watch the acting and prepare for a few good laughs, but if you get bored I wouldn’t be too surprised. This was part one of two, and after the two cliffhangers that it leaves us with, I’m still really unsure how much further it can go with its story. I give The Ranch a 6/10.