The Universe and Me

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's just that mean old Texas sun

Texas Ranch House: another installment in the PBS House series. The premise is to go back in time to an era, in this case 1867, and live as they did then. But in interviews, several participants stated that they were told to bring their 21st century values with them. Either they misunderstood or the show’s producers wanted to defeat the entire purpose. Which they sure did.

Most of the Cowboys seemed immature and I hate to say lazy because when they worked, they worked well, but they sure needed to wake up long before 9 o’clock, especially to avoid some of the day’s heat. They childishly resented their first foreman, The Colonel, for his strictness. Lucky for them The Colonel was fired over an altercation with Nacho the Cook, perhaps provoked by Nacho’s whining and lack of cleanliness. Cowboy Ian left before the halfway point, using the death of a friend to get out while the getting was good. I don’t want to sound uncaring, but what else could he do besides attend the friend’s funeral? Guess if I was a fellow Cowboy, I’d have felt hurt and abandoned. Before long, Nacho’s filthiness & sickening all the Cowboys got him fired. If only it improved from there.

The ranch owner, Mr Cooke, is the henpecked wimp of his “bloviate” wife Mrs Cooke. They live in the Big House with their three daughters who seemingly did little besides eat and make a couple corn husk dolls. Only a few times did Mr Cooke go on the cattle roundups and then didn’t last long, which couldn’t have commanded respect either. The Cooke family seemed to keep themselves separate and above the Cowboys, not sharing enough food, causing further resentment. Especially since they had a garden full of veggies they neglected because they “weren’t vegetable people.” If I’d been a Cowboy, I’d have snuck in the garden during the night, taken produce and blamed the Comanche’s who had no problem spiriting away several horses.

The girls shouldn’t have been surprised when the Cowboys showed little interest in dancing with them at the Fandango. And when the Cowboys returned from the cattle drive to find four lazy women hadn’t done dishes for eight days or picked up a shovel to move manure from the front door so they wouldn’t be infested with flies, they must have been livid. I was. The maid of all trades living with the family seemed superfluous since the three daughters should have taken care of the house. (Then again, see above.) Maura said she was told she’d be allowed to ride with the Cowboys and I don’t understand the producers thinking behind this because it wasn’t done then and she needed to live within societal restraints, not try to prove herself as some hero with a personal agenda.

The participant who seemed to most understand his role was the Comanche chief Michael, although he was far too lenient on everyone. Any Cowboys riding up to him and saying “Howdy” would not find themselves taken in to play the flute. I was hoping when he returned to the ranch to negotiate, he would take the Cooke women, as they sure deserved it. For not defining the terms of the negotiation, Mr Cooke was negligence to the point of stupidity, then in the final episode blamed Jared who seemed to be the most easy going, straightforward Cowboy. Simply appalling behavior of Cooke. I was glad all the Cowboys stuck by Jared and said adios to the ranch. Back in 1867 word would have spread about Cooke’s actions and he would have found it nearly impossible to find anyone to work for him.

Final word: praise must go to Shaun who took over Nacho's duties and showed diligence & patience & maturity beyond his years.


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