Monday, July 7, 2014

TV on DVD Review: Reba - Season 5

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Still laughing at these funny characters
Cons: I really miss Kyra's jabs
The Bottom Line:
Step down from others
But still providing the laughs
Reba leads the way

The Year Without Kyra

Sooner or later, every show stumbles.  At the time, fans can really be vocal and complain, but sometimes in retrospect, it’s not that bad.  With my recent viewing of my season 5 DVD's of Reba, I found that was exactly the case with this show (minus the complaints from the fans at the time).

Season 5 finds the extended family of Reba Hart (Reba McEntire) pretty much where we left them.  Still living at home are Reba's daughter Cheyenne (JoAnna Garcia) and son-in-law Van Montgomery (Steve Howey).  As Cheyenne tries to deal with her realization that she is an alcoholic, she starts helping the homeless, something that may change the focus of her college studies.  Meanwhile, Van is working with Reba as a realtor.  Also living there is Cheyenne and Van's 4-year-old daughter Elizabeth (who is played by Alena and Gabrielle LeBerger for the few episodes where she appears) and Jake (Mitch Hollrman).  Meanwhile, just a couple houses down the street are Reba's ex-husband Brock (Christopher Rich) and Barbara Jean (Melissa Peterman), the woman Brock left Reba for, aka the woman who thinks of Reba as her best friend.

Over the course of this season, Van gets jealous of Cheyenne's attractive sponser at AA.  He and Reba also fight so much as work they are required to attend counseling.  Barbara Jean struggles with her weight and turns to Reba and Cheyenne for help.  Reba is signed up for a dating service against her wishes.  Brock winds up having to stay with Reba when he gets kidney stones.  And an audit from the IRS leaves everyone's finances in jeopardy.

As you can see, the show mixes the serious with the more comical and manages to find humor in all of them.  My hazy memory (I haven't watched this season since it first aired almost 10 years ago) was that this show lost some of the comedy in favor of the serious, but while watching it again, I found it to be fairly funny.  It's not up to the earlier seasons, but it is better than I remembered.

Much of that lies in the one character who is absent.  Reba's middle child, daughter Kyra, is only in the season opener and in a brief scene of another episode.  Sadly, that's because Scarlett Pomers, the actress who played her, was being treated for an eating disorder.  Frankly, I spent most of season 5 wondering where she was since the character's absence is never mentioned.  And Kyra has always been my favorite character.  She has the wit and sarcasm to tell the characters the truth in a way that brings the house down.  I really did miss her character, although I applaud the show for keeping her in the credits and letting the actress get the help she needed.

Melissa Peterman was also pregnant this season, and the show only dealt with it in making Barbara Jean fat.  She was only in a small portion of a couple of episodes as well as a result.

Late in the season, they begin a story line with Cheyenne and Van that brings some of the trouble in their young marriage to a head.  I've always loved them as a couple, so I was sorry to see that.  Frankly, several stories, including this one, get short changed by the desire to not leave the season with a cliffhanger since it wasn't know if the show would make the transition to the new CW network.  (It did for a shortened 6th season, but only because it would have cost more to cut it completely.)

The acting and comedy is still wonderful.  Everyone was at the top of their game, and the laughs do definitely come.  I found myself laughing hard at multiple episodes, sometimes even at a variation of the same joke they've used for years.

Season 5 consisted for 22 episodes, and all of them are present in this two disc set.  Each disc is double sided to get them all in.  They are presented in their native full screen and full surround.  There's nothing in the way of extras.  Sadly, that includes an episode listing or guide of any kind.

So while season 5 of Reba might not be the show's funniest, it certainly still brings the laughs.  I'm glad I watched it again and recommend it to any fan, new or old, of this fun show.

Season 5 Episodes:
1. Where There's Smoke
2. Reba and the One
3. As Is
4. And God Created Van
5. No Good Deed
6. Best Li'l Haunted House in Texas
7. Have Your Cake
8. Grannies Gone Wild
9. Invasion
10. Issues
11. Brock's Got Stones
12. Parenting with Puppets
13. Don't Mess with Taxes
14. The Goodbye Guy
15. The Trouble with Dr. Hunky
16. Money Blues
17. Reba the Landlord
18. The Blonde Leading the Blind
19. Here We Go Again
20. Red Alert
21. Two Weddings and a Funeral
22. Reba's Heart

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