Malibu Country: Is the New Reba Sitcom Worth Watching?

Reba McEntire’s last sitcom, Reba, ran for six seasons on the WB and CW networks. Will Malibu Country, her new TV series, last as long or will it be quickly cancelled instead? Is it even worth watching?

Malibu Country revolves around the wife (Reba McEntire) of a country music star. After catching he’s caught cheating, she moves the rest of her family from Nashville to the beaches of Malibu. As Reba tries to pick up her own singing career, the family discovers that sunny California is a very different world. The sitcom also stars Lily Tomlin, Sara Rue, Juliette Angelo, Justin Prentice, Hudson Thames, and Jai Rodriguez.

Does that sound like a hit sitcom? Here’s what some of the critics are saying:

LA Times: “The deal you make with a series like this is, if it doesn’t ask too much of you, you won’t ask too much of it. For your half-hour, you get a few laughs, some pleasant company, and a reliably smooth ride with no unpleasant shocks. There are worse things.”

Miami Herald: “The ostensible comedy in Malibu Country stems from culture clash: McEntire has moved her two teenagers from Nashville to Los Angeles while she tries to rekindle the singing career she gave up to have them. But even if you buy the premise that 2012 Nashville is a redneck hellhole barely familiar with indoor plumbing (big laugh in episode one: Reba meets her first gay person!), the show’s performances and punchlines mostly fall flat. The single exception is Lily Tomlin as McEntire’s cranky mom, who inadvertently discovers the joys of medical marijuana — definitely a two ringy-dingy job.”

USA Today: “Whatever they’re paying Reba McEntire, Sara Rue and Lily Tomlin, it’s not nearly enough… Cast against her normal, brainy type, Rue makes the most of what little the material provides, and even manages to make this under-written character feel momentarily real. As for Tomlin, no material can defeat her. She even gets a laugh out of an extended pot lollipop joke, which must have surprised even the most optimistic of the show’s writers. Somewhat surprisingly, rather than rising above the problems, McEntire adds to them… Maybe paying her more would help — though really, for a show like this, ABC should pay us.”

NY Times: “In addition to Ms. Tomlin, Sara Rue also supplies some comic spark as an oversharing neighbor. Ms. McEntire, who brought a spunky, dogged energy to Reba, looks tired in Malibu Country — in the pilot, at least, she isn’t selling the tired jokes and situations. Maybe the drive from Nashville took it out of her.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “The pilot for Malibu Country isn’t the very worst show of the new season. But it’s easily the greatest waste of talent, with a broad, fish-out-of-water treatment that makes the distance between Nashville and L.A. seem a lot greater than it does on, say, ABC’s own Nashville and portrays a woman who has reason to know something about show business like a country-music bumpkin.”

Newsday:Malibu Country is nothing great. But its studio-shot sitcom style sure suits Reba. She’s got clockwork timing and throws off double (and triple) takes like a modern Lucy, with self-possessed guts and gumption. Emotion doesn’t elude her, either. She’s got sincerity, and soul.”

Boston Globe: “My affection for Reba McEntire, the Orange Wonder, Milady of the Orange Heavens, She of the Orange Everything, knows no bounds. OK, actually it does know bounds, and Malibu Country may have found them. Her new ABC show… is a traffic jam of culture-clash cliches, numbing laugh track cackles, and fake stage-set lighting. About a Nashville family that moves to California, it’s the country-mouse-in-the-city trope, it’s Green Acres in reverse, it’s tired and offensive sitcom stereotypes all over again.”

Entertainment Weekly: “I can’t say I laughed a lot, but I like the premise and kind of dig the sheer novelty of a show that doesn’t have characters forever addressing the camera. Nor do the folks here spend gobs of time coming up with cute euphemisms for their nether parts, with that being passed off as joke writing. Viva la throwback! B-”

What do you think? Does Malibu Country sound like it’s worth watching? If you’ve already seen it, will you watch again?

Canceled and renewed TV show

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