As I have stated many times before, nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool and nostalgia is the only reason why I initially showed interest in Netflix’s new comedy The Ranch. The stars of the show, Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson both starred together on That 70s Show which became one of my favourite sitcoms during the past two years. Luckily for any That 70s Show fans looking for a reunion of shorts can stream all 10 episodes of The Ranch.
The show is a multi-camera comedy which features a laugh track as well as a live studio audience, much like That 70s Show although this is where similarities between both shows end. While That 70s Show had a lot of insinuations of profanity, The Ranch goes straight to the jugular with a flurry of sex jokes, swearing and toilet humour. Well, what would you expect from a show set on an old school, blue collared American ranch? In the show, Kutcher plays Colt Bennett, a faded high school football star who has returned home after a long stint of semi-professional football. Colt was practically made for Kutcher; he’s a goofball, a little bit of a smart ass with an ego façade. He’s a little bit like a slightly grown up Kelso. Masterson plays his brother Jameson, Debra Winger as their mother Maggie, and Sam Elliott as patriarch Beau Bennett. Elisha Cuthbert (from that awful show Happy Endings) also shines in her role as Abby, Colt’s ex-girlfriend.
One of the most striking elements of The Ranch is how much heart is at the centre of the show. Based on what Kutcher and Masterson have previously told the world about their new show in regards to them being able to swear as much as their want etc. The Ranch aims to create a heartfelt, love/hate relationship between its characters that act terribly towards each other most of time but love each really. Even based on the opening titles which are suspiciously emotive, more emotive that you would expect a multi-camera comedy from two ex-CBS writers to be, while the opening shot tracks Beau’s workman boots as he arrives at his front door before discovering his son has unexpectedly arrived back home. That’s not to say The Ranch does not have its raunchier moments. Colt and his young 22 year old booty call Heather are caught in the act by Colt’s father before Colt finds his arm up the backside of a cow as he delivers a calf/argues with his father for the next five minutes.
The Ranch is a promising show which has a strong cast and a healthy batch of characters that will hopefully grow better than the grass on Beau’s Ranch. Despite the show being quite familiar in format, there is something different about this show, which is why you should check it out on Netflix!
UPDATE: The Ranch has been renewed for a 20 episode second season which will premiere in 2017.