HN Movie Critic Amanda Ronan gives her two cents on A&E’s controversial new reality series, Rodeo Girls.
OK… so I’ve been specifically avoiding Rodeo Girls for a reason, more than one actually, but since the full episodes are about to expire from A&E it’s now or never. Brainchild of Darcy LaPier, famous for marrying the founders of Hawaiian Tropic and Herbalife not to mention Jean-Claude Van Damme, the TV show follows her rodeo season as well as the lives of four other barrel racers, two seasoned professionals and two rookies.
So, this is the part where I usually give you a play-by-play of Episode 1 but, honestly, I’ve got better things to do with my time then transcribe catfights and booty calls.
To sum things up… Darcy bought a $200,000 horse and the other ladies have varying levels of jealousy over the issue. There’s a lot of what’s called “mattress hopping.” None of the show’s cast placed well in the first rodeo. Boom. Done.
I think the important thing to remember here is that this is NOT a documentary about barrel racing. We rarely see the horses (which is a shame because Barb’s grey is lovely) and were given only the briefest of descriptions about the sport itself. So what the heck is this show about? Well, this is a reality show about five women who just happen to compete in rodeos… think Keeping up with the Kardashians or Real Housewives of Orange County. With that in mind this series is mildly entertaining in an “I need a mindless escape” sort of way.
You’re probably as shocked as Darcy in an orange bikini right now. Now I’m not sayin’ it’s good. I am not. saying. that. What I’m saying is if one of your horses has an abscess and your other just dumped you over an 18 inch crossrail in front of your trainer, so you’re sitting around cleaning tack for penance and there’s a raging blizzard outside and your dog just upchucked in the middle of the living room… put on an episode of this show and think, “Wow, my life is so great and I’m such a balanced, confident, well-educated individual!”
Technically, the show runs on the now familiar reality format of (1) something melodramatic happens in 60 seconds then (2) we discuss “the event” for the remainder of the show. I’m also willing to bet there is an astounding amount of what in the biz is called frankenbiting, where an editor/producer edits together conversation excerpts or sound bites to create a whole new dialogue. The soundtrack is a mix of pleasantly catchy pop tunes. The best moments of the entire series are the brief slow motion captures of the horses running the barrel pattern. Slow motion video + horses = awesome no matter what discipline.
Content wise the series is cringeworthy. Believe it or not there are a few real issues discussed that all horse women can relate to, like Jessica’s money woes while trying to earn her professional card, how to deal with unhealthy rivalries with other competitors, or Barb’s internal conflict about leaving her husband and farm for weeks at a time to tour on the circuit. Unfortunately most of that is overshadowed by hurtful comments and drunken disorderliness. Like how ‘bout when Ty dumped Sadie in the pool…
On that bombshell, I give Rodeo Girls ½ a Golden Horseshoe.
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