Billed as a comedy, there are actually as many quite dramatic and serious parts to The Ranch. With eight seasons, the strength of the show just keeps going from strength to strength. I confess that when I started watching it I wasn't sure what to make of it. With Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson in the lead roles, I assumed it would be laugh out loud funny. And it is in parts but it does have a darker side.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience The Ranch follows Colt Bennett (Kutcher) and his return home to the family ranch following a failed career as a pro footballer. Gone 15 years, Colt isn't exactly welcomed with open arms. His father, Beau Bennett is a seasoned rancher with little patience for those who shirk their responsibilities. His brother Rooster is equally annoyed as he was left behind to help run the ranch.
The family dynamic is really interesting. Sam Elliott plays Beau so well that at times it is very difficult to even like him. He's an old-fashioned, hard as nails cowboy. Almost devoid of sentiment, his no nonsense approach to work and life is a constant source of friction. His sons are a constant source of disappointment and he's not shy about letting them know that. And while sometimes they stand up to him, more often than not, they just take the abuse and carry on.
The comedy aspect comes mostly from the interactions between Colt and Rooster and the stupid antics they get up to. Clearly friends since their '70's days, Kutcher and Masterson are absolutely hilarious together. It would be easy to peg their characters as red-neck hillbillies. But the constant woman chasing, whiskey drinking and foul mouthed exchanges between them are just for fun. Deep down they genuinely want to make the ranch work and lead decent lives.
With eight seasons, The Ranch is a gem of a show. It flips from hilarity to drama in a nano second. To the point where some of the more serious moments are really difficult to watch. It is a story about the highs and lows of middle America today. Working all the hours in the day just to scrape by. Trying to raise and provide for a family when you can't keep the lights on. But the Bennett clan struggle through with grit and determination and plenty of laughs along the way.
The Ranch is a binge-fest. 60 episodes are now available on Netflix so clear your diary. Once you start getting into it you won't want to stop.