Texas RANCH HOUSE (TRH) is the latest installment in a string of similar reality shows. As a history buff, I've seen them all and like the idea of seeing real, live people coping with situations and scenarios from other centuries. I often wonder what I would do in such circumstances. In the case of TRH, I'd run. Away. Fast.
PBS needs to decide what it wants these shows to be. Are they truly about 21st century people in X century situations, or are they assigning X century roles/tasks to 21st century people who are expected to "play" those roles and perform those tasks in the X century manner? As PBS presents the finished product, they don't seem to be able to make up their minds. TRH shows this fault with abundant clarity.
If there is any psychological screening for these shows, PBS needs to rethink the methodology used. Participant-induced drama with fragile personalities who shouldn't have made the cut for the show does not necessarily make the best reality television, especially when the "reality" is also supposed to be educational. I would expect this from Jerry Springer or Oprah. I don't expect it from PBS.
The only real educational bits of this programme were those artificially forced in along the way by the producers. If the PBS mission for this show was "Let's get as much whining, complaining, backbiting, and sniping on the air as possible", then Mission Accomplished. Otherwise, no.
The show does have heroes and villains, sometimes the same people, and there are some interesting moments. But much of the programme is dominated by whining and complaining.
The last hour (episode) of the programme has some genuine entertainment value, and I'm probably not the only one who said "Oh yeah!" out loud when the cowboys do their thing, but that means sitting through seven hours of tedium previously to get to it.
In the end, as regards the Texas ranch house experience, one is better off reading a real book with some real history to it.
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