By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Throwback sitcom offers star power, drinking, mild gags.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Characters mock each other relentlessly for their life choices and taste in music, clothing, and love interests, but when the chips are down, family members are loving and supportive.
Positive Role Models
Patriarch Beau is insulting and mocking toward his sons, Colt in particular, but tries to support them, particularly when they're helping him around the farm. Colt is irresponsible and a dreamer but also kind and loving, especially to his family. Rooster is solid and trustworthy, always there when needed by family members. And Maggie can be caustic, particularly toward ex-husband Beau, but she loves her sons and supports them any way she can, including by making special meals and handing out advice.
Violence & Scariness
A character threatens to kick another one's ass, but it doesn't get further than a few pushes and insults.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes about body parts and sex. A man refers to "flashing" a celebrity and explains he was "taking a piss" on an ice sculpture. A man accuses another of marital infidelity; references to a character being sexually indiscriminate. One character says sometimes urinating is more pleasurable than sex; another refers to a one-night affair with a waitress: "She saved the horse and rode a cowboy." A character picks up a young woman at a bar, calculates her age to make sure she's over 18, and then makes out with her; both are in their underwear. Animal husbandry: A cow gives birth as she's graphically assisted by a character; many jokes refer to a character's stinky arm thereafter. A divorced couple sometimes still has sex and jokes about it.
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Cursing is frequent: "hell," "damn," "s--t," "f--k." Frequent vulgar expressions: "taking a piss," "balls-first," "pee-gasm," "boobies."
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Products & Purchases
References to real celebrities: Shania Twain, Wayne Gretzky, Tom Brady, Al Gore. References to real brands visually and in dialogue: Uggs, Bisquick, Crunch 'n Munch, Amazon.com.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man excuses urinating in public by explaining he was drunk. Characters frequently drink beer and whiskey while relaxing at home. One character owns a bar; many scenes take place there with characters drinking beer. Jokes about a character being an alcoholic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ranch is a old-school-style sitcom about a family that lives on a Colorado ranch. Expect frequent cursing ("s--t," "hell," "damn," "f--k"; characters ask each other "what the hell?" or say proudly that their family is "f--ked up"). They also insult each other frequently, picking on each other's choice of profession, taste in fashion or dates, personality, and past mistakes. Vulgar expressions include "boobies," "pissing," and "balls." Characters generally have a beer in their hands while on-screen, and one character owns a bar; scenes are frequently set there with everyone drinking beer or whiskey. A divorced husband and wife are still sexually involved; characters joke about their sex life. Two 30-ish men are single and interested in dating; jokes frequently target the sexual success of one of them, with references to casual, no-strings sex. A man picks a woman up at a bar, and they are seen kissing in bed in their underwear (no nudity). One character threatens to beat up another; they shove and insult each other.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
When Colt (Ashton Kutcher) ages out of his middling pro football career, he goes back to THE RANCH, the Colorado farm where he grew up and the rest of his family still lives. Alas, he soon discovers, all is not well there: His harsh, mocking father, Beau (Sam Elliot), is terminally disappointed in him; his older brother, Rooster (Danny Masterson), has been doing double duty to help keep the failing ranch going; and while his mother, Maggie (Debra Winger), has divorced Beau and moved on, she's still enmeshed with the family, the family business, and even her ex. But Colt hopes that by sticking around he can help his family make a go of it while atoning for past misdeeds. And family are the people who have to take you in when you have nowhere else to go -- right?
Is It Any Good?
In an era when network sitcoms are a dying breed, it's curious that Netflix would choose to make a throwback, multicamera comedy that resembles network output, right down to the laugh track. The Ranch seems like it may have been green-lighted on sheer star power alone: After all, Kutcher and Masterson starred together on one of the most popular sitcoms of the late '90s/early 2000s, so perhaps Netflix hoped their appeal might translate to binge-watching. Alas, though the cast is appealing, the jokes and foibles just aren't fresh enough to wring a lot of laughs from its audience, who probably won't be able to shake the feeling that we've seen these characters and heard these jokes before.
Family members who mock each other but are there when the chips are down was last intriguing sometime in the All in the Family era, while a joke about animals giving birth was the standout thigh-slapper in City Slickers, which was quite popular -- back in 1991. Of course, on this non-network show, the characters feel free to curse, drink, and make jokes about sex, but that's not enough to make the proceedings feel fresh, no matter how fervently the laugh track insists. This type of thing was about all that was available, sitcom-wise, back in the 1990s, but with a vast variety of much-funnier choices now, only the nostalgic should tune in.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
What role does drinking play in this show? How does it affect the characters who do it? Are consequences shown?
What messages does this show send about sex and relationships? How much sexual content in media is appropriate for kids?
Characters on sitcoms frequently treat each other with mockery and disdain. Is that the way people act in real life? Why is it considered funny on TV shows if it wouldn't be funny in real life?
- Premiere date: April 10, 2016
- Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Debra Winger, Sam Elliott
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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