Jun 14, 2022

"Malibu Country": Reba McIntyre Stars in the Most Startlingly Homophobic Piece This Side of "Chuck and Buck"


In the days before streaming, American tv shows had to run for at least 100 episodes (about four years), or they wouldn't go to syndication and you would never see them again.  Today the streaming services, hungry for new content, are grabbing up shows that were yanked after a year or two, or even after a few episodes, and selling them as masterpieces. And as new!

Today Hulu tried to sell me Malibu Country as a newly-aired masterpiece -- it actually ran for five months in 2012-2013.  Several years after Reba, country music legend Reba McEntire returned briefly to tv as a  country music legend who moves from the South to Malibu ("swimming pools...movie stars").  Let me guess -- homespun down-to-earth family-friendly wisdom will triumph over big city greed, yawn.  But it has a gay character, Jai Rodriguez as a record label executive, and in an interview with The Advocate, Reba assures us that other gay characters will appear: "I've got a huge gay following, and they've always been supportive," she explains.  So I'll review the first episode.

Scene 1: A gossip tv show fills us in on the premise: 15 years ago, country-western singer Reba dropped out of show business to be a stay-at-home mom.  But the media just discovered that her husband, country music legend Bobby (Jeffrey Nording. top photo), had an affair.  During a press conference, he apologizes "to God and his family," and forces Reba to say that she forgives him.  Instead she yells: "You're a moron, and I'm divorcing your lying, cheating butt!"  

Scene 2:
Reba in the car with her elderly mother, teenage daughter June, and teenage son Cash (Justin Prentice, left), fielding questions about why they're moving from the South (Nashville) to Malibu ("swimming pools...movie stars").  Cash is excited about getting a new, hot girlfriend to augment his girlfriend back home.  Hetero-horniness established in the first words out of his mouth!  Boo! 

This is obviously a Beverly Hillbillies homage, with Reba as Jed, Cash as Jethro, June as Elly Mae, and Mom as Granny.

Scene 3:  They are shocked by the elegance of their new house.  As the family of a country music legend, they must have had a nice house back home, but they act as if they were living in a cabin in the hills, like the Beverly Hillbillies.  Cash's second line: "Hey, we're right on the beach,  I can't wait to see some girls in bikinis, because they put boobs in bikinis and I'm heterosexual and obsessed with boobs."  

Next door neighbor Kim introduces herself.  Reba is a hero to all of the wives in Malibu because of her bravery in broadcasting her husband's wrongdoing.  She would like to hold a press conference and announce "My husband likes to wear my panties!"  Her second line is a transphobic joke. She's standing right next to Mom, played by Lily Tomlin, a lesbian who has been out in Hollywood for 40 years. 

Her third line is a suggestion that Reba get a plastic surgeon to augment her boobs, so she'll fit in with the other wives in Malibu.  Mom asks "Did you used to be a man?"  Trans women didn't "used to be men," you transphobe. They were always women.  They get gender affirmation surgery to make their bodies correspond more closely to their actual gender.

Scene 4:  Afternoon.  Reba comes in with groceries and asks Cash how his first day of school went.  Not good -- his girlfriend back home dumped him, and not many Malibu girls want to show him their boobs.  But shy, friendless wallflower daughter June likes it here because she made a friend!

Reba is shocked when the friend turns out to be a boy, Sage (Hudson Thames), the son of Kim next door.  It's ok for teenage boys to have sex with girls, but teenage girls must never look at boys,  talk to boys or interact with them in any way, ever! 

Daughter June reassures her: "It's ok -- he's gay."  Reba is shocked again: "But you don't seem gay -- you seem normal." She means that he's not swishy.  She thought all gay men were hairdressers who said "fabulous" a lot. 

Scene 5: Reba has an appointment with record producer Mr. Bata to talk about re-launching her country music career, but she runs afoul of his swishy, limp-wristed assistant, Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez).  See, all real gay men swish!  He tells her that Mr. Bata is planning to set up appointments because her ex-husband is very important, and then cancel them because he isn't interested in helping her.  She's not young and sexy, and she has no "hook."  Couldn't she sing in live venues instead of cutting a new record?

Scene 6: Back home, Reba discovers that Mom has a new prescription for marijuana edibles.  "No drugs" she shrieks.  

Discovering that her teenage daughter is at Sage's house, Reba shrieks "We don't even know him!" and runs over to stop her daughter from having male friends.  They're kissing!  Apparently Sage just tells girls that he's gay so they will say "I'm so good in bed, I'm sure I can change you back to normal again."  How would that work?  Maybe girls in Nashville still think that you can change from gay to straight, but surely girls in California know that you can't.

Reba calls out Kim, the mother, to tell on Sage: "He's telling girls he's gay to get them into bed!"  Kim is oblivious: "You have a problem with homosexuals!" How would she be still using that outdated, offensive term, in California, while thinking that her son is gay?  She offers to teach Reba how to be more tolerant, but Reba is having none of it.  She rushes out in disgust.

Scene 7:
Everyone is gathered in the kitchen.  Reba rushes in.  She hates Malibu, with the fake homos and the real homos, and the girls making friends with boys.  They're moving back to the South, where no one is gay or fake gay, boys have sex with girls, and no girl ever talks to a boy.  Hey, Reba, they've been celebrating Nashville Pride every year since 1988.

Son Cash is thrilled: "I'll be able to have sex with girls again!"  Mom, not so much. "You can get your country-music career back out here.  Not in Nashville."  Not in the country music capital of the world, where she must have dozens of contacts in the industry from her famous husband?  Reba decides to try to make it work.

Scene 8: Reba working on a song: "Getting out of the saddle in my pickup truck." Do pickup trucks really have saddles?  "I love everything about my new life, especially the part where I'm not your wife."

Scene 9:
Back to the music producer's office to encounter swishy assistant Gregory.  She announces that she now has a hook.  She doesn't say what it is, but I'm guessing Malibu Country?

Scene 10: Everyone in the kitchen again.  As Reba struggles to make things work, Cash talks about football (not girls?), and June announces that she has made another new friend, Charlie.  Reba starts to yell, but June reassures her: Charlie is a girl -- and she's a lesbian.  "That's ok, right?"  Reba grits her teeth.  "We got some rough sledding ahead, Mama." The end.

 I am astonished at the overt homophobia of this character, and the series in general.  Surely with two gay actors in the cast, someone said something?  Surely Reba said something.  She's got a "huge gay following,' after all.

My Grade: Chuck and Buck level.

See also: Chuck and Buck, the Most Homophobic Move Since Cruising/

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to 2022. Include bigotry, get a fanatical fanbase who will watch your movie several times.


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