It’s no secret Hollywood doesn’t exactly cater to agriculture in the few stories it tells on the sliver and small screens, but it becomes even more frustrating when they choose to produce a TV show set in a rural area, which features farmers and ranchers, then fumbles the facts.
I’ve been watching the TV series Bless This Mess, which airs on ABC, since the show started two season ago. When I first saw the teasers for the series, I thought YES!, a show with agricultural ties and maybe a chance to bridge a little bit of the gap between agriculture and consumers.
The plotline for this show is that a young couple from New York City inherit a farm in Nebraska and quit their jobs to become farmers, but when they get to the farm, the house is falling apart and they realize they know nothing about farming. It’s a comedy in which they struggle through their new life with some help from the locals. It’s a cute story, but I guess the producers decided to save some money and not hire an agriculture consultant, because most of the agriculture related parts of the show are totally wrong.
I like they show because it’s lighthearted and I’m always up for anything that stars Dax Shephard, but it’s frankly hard to watch sometimes. It’s no wonder we have such a disconnect, at one point one of the characters kept referring to an angry bull, but in reality it was a horned cow with the utters clearly visible. I just about changed the channel, but decided to forgive that mistake, however the errors kept coming.
In the most recent episode, the two main characters, Mike and Rio, are making a pros and cons list for why they might want to start a family now that they live in the country. One of the pros Mike gave was now that they are farmers they have more time for children. That one I laughed at, even though it wasn’t a joke. It just goes to show how far removed some much of the world is from agriculture.
At times, I think the show is on the verge of triumphing rural lifestyle, but it always seems to fall short by the portrayal of the locals. Many of them are weirdos, out of touch, and sometimes just plain ignorant. For example, in one episode a character didn’t understand how to say “YouTube”. Yes, I’m aware this is a comedy and meant to funny, but I really feel Hollywood misses the mark just about every time with farmers and ranchers.
What they don’t understand is that farmers and ranchers have to be some of the smartest and bravest people in the world. They are entrepreneurs who live or die by the decisions they make, they forgo a fixed yearly salary and roll the dice on what the markets allow and they gamble their family legacies every year, banking on decades of lessons, land and livestock passed down by their forefathers.
Hollywood might see us as “country bumpkins” who don’t know how to watch a YouTube video, but in reality farmers and ranchers are running their own companies, using complex mathematical formulas to feed cattle and employing GPS systems to drive our tractors. It seems to me some method acting would go a long way toward conveying how much respect should be paid to those who work in agriculture. And scene!
Lacey Newlin can be reached at 580-748-1892 or email@example.com.