Reba: The Complete First Season
gathers all 22 episodes of the popular WB sitcom's 2001 debut, an unusual and likable comedy about a family meltdown that results, over time, in stronger ties between principal characters. The pilot episode's opening scene puts it all on the table: A court-mandated, family therapy session in which one learns that Reba Hart (Reba McEntire) and estranged husband Brock (Christopher Hart) have broken up after 20 years of marriage, Brock's mistress Barbra Jean (Melissa Peterman) is pregnant, and the Harts' 17-year-old daughter, Cheyenne (Joanna Garcia), and her high school football hero boyfriend, Van (Steve Howey), are also expecting. From these overlapping disaster come many fireworks, but Reba
is really about the gradual reinvention of the Harts and the qualities of mercy, understanding, and rebuilt faith.
At the center of everything is Reba, who put Brock through dental school, had a trio of kids with him, then loses him, inexplicably, to sweet but simple-minded Barbra Jean, a hygienist. Yet he isn't really gone: Brock's emotional ties to Reba remain powerful, and he is often full of regret over whatever is driving him away. More challenging is Barbra Jean's needful attachment to Reba, which gets particularly difficult when the former keeps turning up at sensitive times, such as a visit from Reba's parents (Barry Corbin, Dorothy Lyman) and during Cheyenne's Lamaze classes. While coping with her own divorce, Reba keeps busy helping Cheyenne and Van set up their lives as newlyweds, a tricky business since both are still in high school and so many people--the principal, Van's parents, Reba's neighbors--disapprove and assume the worst about the Harts' morals. Still, every episode ends with the feeling that everything is going to be okay in Reba's world, even if she has no idea where so much change is taking her. Country superstar McEntire proves a very capable and attractive comic lead, and the rest of the cast, including Mitch Holleman and Scarlett Pomers as Reba's youngest kids, are caught up in Reba's appealing chaos. --Tom Keogh