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Reba McEntire's Reba celebrates its 20th anniversary

  • The country music star's six-season 2001-2007 The WB/The CW sitcom premiered on Oct. 5, 2001. "Her roots were planted in the past," says LaToya Ferguson. "Though her life was changing fast, who she was was who she wanted to be. Twenty years ago, the now defunct WB network introduced a family sitcom starring country music icon and American treasure Reba McEntire. Appropriately titled Reba, in the multicamera sitcom, McEntire plays Reba Hart, a recent divorcee who now has to handle being a single mother who worked too hard — but who also loves her kids and never stops." Ferguson adds: "From the moment the series opened with the whole Hart family in therapy together, failing miserably to pretend they weren’t a messy family, it was clear what audiences were going to get out of the Reba character: the practical matriarch in a family that was spiraling out of All-American, middle-class family control. Like the series theme song (sung by McEntire in all of its iterations) said, Reba was a survivor. When Reba premiered in October 2001, it was an integral part of the start of The WB’s attempt at making a comedic Friday night family line-up...Looking back at Reba, the first season of the series was actually particularly subversive, playing to a number of clichés and stereotypes — from teen pregnancy to hypocrisy and double standards in the Bible Belt — in a setting that, for all intents and purposes, should’ve been more Norman Rockwell than Jerry Springer. The Harts were a 'perfect,' All-American, middle class family, but from the moment the series began, the reality of that type of concept was constantly undercut. Only in a comedic way that, looking back, honestly made the series the Roseanne of The WB generation."

    TOPICS: Reba, Reba McEntire, Retro TV