So now that we’ve established the basics of the show (Beau’s ranch is in trouble, Beau and Colt don’t get along, Colt is a failed football star), it’s time to start getting into the deep and darkies of this world. The episode didn’t have much in the way of plot. Colt runs into an old flame who’s in a relationship with a hotel manager named Kenny, sending him into a place of morose regret. And Beau isn’t letting him help out around the ranch. These are the predicaments, but they feel incidental to the real focus of the episode: stubbornness and regret on the part of father and son.
Here are some thoughts.
1. Rooster is revealing himself to be more than a punchline
Initially, Danny Masterson seemed to be just the wisecracker; the uncomplicated comic foil to Kutcher and Elliot. But this episode has shown that he misses his brother and wants to rekindle a relationship. Sure, there’s plenty of nut tapping, but that’s just how brothers handle problems. It’s good to see that Masterson will be properly utilized.
2. The startling thing about this show remains to be it’s vulgarity
It’s easy to forget that this show isn’t your momma’s sitcom. As we meander through the plot, it’s still truly startling when an f-bomb is dropped or someone threatens to rub their balls on someones toothbrush (that happens three times). I expect it might grow stale, but for now it gives the show an edge that makes it fun to watch.
3. The show deals with masculinity in an interesting way
Many shows about man-children deal with toxic masculinity and arrested development. It’s a staple of the genre. Those things are dealt with here, but not as points of humor. In fact, the inability to grow up on the part of Colt is the source of a lot of anger from his family. And Beau’s inability to swallow his pride puts him in danger of losing his son. It takes common tropes about men and turns them deathly serious.
4. The women on this show are strong and intelligent
Meanwhile, all (well, two really) the women on the show are tough as nails and are able to cut through the bullshit of the men in their lives. For now, their roles are basically to say to the men “you’re being stupid, go apologize.” Not exactly a feminist bent, but it seems to hold the promise of fully formed female characters. Something that’s still a bit of a rarity on TV.
5. The show doesn’t subscribe to “East Coast values”
By that I mean the show doesn’t value ambition and intelligence above everything else, as most television made by people in New York does. The important values on this show are honest hard work, family, and liquor. Which is what most of the rest of the country agrees with.
6. It meanders, but it’s real
The show takes its time with the narrative. The conflict is minimal, and we walk slowly through the different set-ups. But that’s okay. It feels reals to be taking our time with these characters, where not a whole lot happens. But that’s life. Things don’t happen until they do.
7. Oh, boy will they, won’t they
The old flame who Colt runs into stops by the ranch to tell him that she’s in love… with her boyfriend. And that there will be no shenanigans between the two of them. Which of course means there will be the possibility of shenanigans later. I’m not sure this show needs that added dimension.
8. The show is shot through with melancholy
There is an underlying sadness to the show that feels unusual. Elliot’s character seems deeply tired of the life he’s created and is unwilling or unable to deliver anything other than sourness. It’s arresting, a departure from the usual bubbling attitude of the usual sitcom.
9. Kutcher is surprisingly good
He’s emitting pathos, he’s conflicted. He’s doing a much better job with this character than I would have ever anticipated.
10. The show remains compelling
Very nice. Will keep watching.
+ Rooster coming into his own
+ The women are strong
+ Kutcher doing well
– The show doesn’t need a “will-they-won’t-they”
Check out reviews for previous episodes of The Ranch below!
The Ranch – Where I come From
Tags: Ashton Kutcher, danny masterson, Netflix, Netflix Original, sam elliot, the ranch