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DeMarcus Family Rules Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Jane Alderson, Chris Chambers, Allison DeMarcus
Netflix’s newest reality show is DeMarcus Family Rules, a look at the daily life of country music superstar Jay DeMarcus and his rowdy (and very telegenic) family. The show is thoroughly Nashville, which is a plus for everyone outside of Tennessee that’s jonesing to go anywhere else right now. But are the Music City vibes enough to make DeMarcus Family Rules a must watch, or is there more going on here?
Opening Shot: Inside the DeMarcus family home, Jay and Allison DeMarcus are going through a little role reversal exercise with their highly entertained therapist. Jay’s version of Allison is a high stakes momager, running kids from theater to gymnastics in between pitstops at JOANN Fabrics; Allison’s Jay just wants to get up close and personal—but mostly she’s bewildered by Jay’s sassy, stressed out take on herself.
The Gist: DeMarcus Family Rules follows the daily adventures (and misadventures) of Jay DeMarcus, the bassist and hit-making musician for country supergroup Rascal Flatts. By his side is Allison DeMarcus, a legit beauty queen and the family’s highly-organized matriarch. Of course you can’t have a family show without the family, and theirs includes two kids—Madeline and Dylan—and a murderer’s row of in-laws. There’s Allison’s freewheeling mom Jane, her down-to-earth sister Amy, and a few family friends that drop in (and steal scenes).
The format—wherein the DeMarcus family navigate a kooky conundrum and provide narration via quippy to-camera interviews—is similar to the kinda reality shows you’d see on TLC… except this time around, the format’s gone totally country.
Our Take: DeMarcus Family Rules sure is a show that exists, y’all. Listen: I’m a gay TV critic in New York City that was born and raised and came of age in the Nashville area. I feel compelled to give my one-line bio because it seems like context needs to be given for the complex swirl of conflicting emotions that a show Netflix literally categorizes as “goofy” has kicked up within me. On the one hand, I fundamentally do not understand why shows like this exist. Call me cynical, but I can’t watch any show in this sub-genre of “reality TV” with a commentary track running through my mind calling out all the things that are completely unreal. Just watching the first episode, I kept telling myself “the producers planned this lunch date” and “the kids are not preparing for a real musical” and “Jay is not actually suddenly trying to bond with Allison.” Shows like this feel like sitcoms written by people who aren’t writers and performed by people who are not comedians. Who falls for this?
But then again… I—against my harsh, critical eye—fall for it. Begrudgingly. But upon rewatching the first episode—y’know, you can see why the DeMarcus family got this gig. Even though there’s not a professional actor in the bunch… they’re good on camera. Naturally so. And however produced literally every single setup on this show is, Jay gets in these in-the-moment zingers that make the show feel… well, real. He’s naturally charismatic and funny and, dare I say it, charming.
Allison’s the same way, too; these two feel like they could be the leads of a scripted sitcom. And knowing that you really can’t control kids in the age group of Madeline and Dylan makes their moments fun to watch, too; it’s the Kids Say the Darnedest Things effect. Even Jay’s scenes with Allison’s sister Amy have an effortlessness to them, even as the story producers try to force their banter into an unnecessary “Jay wants to surprise Allison” subplot—one that doesn’t really go anywhere. These people are all fun to watch. Let us just… watch them!
Then there’s the content of the show itself. DeMarcus Family Rules is, without question, some straight nonsense—and I mean that literally. There’s an undercurrent in all couple-based reality TV that, honestly, makes me—a gay—wonder if straight people are doing okay. Just look at all of the freak outs the straights have over low-hanging beams on Property Brothers and tell me that these people aren’t being crushed under the weight of a ton of gender norms. DeMarcus Family Rules is a show about a country musician and his beauty queen wife in Nashville, Tennessee, and the first episode is basically all about Jay wanting to get busy and Allison being like, “I have to go fabric shopping.” Straight couples: can they ever make it work?
But as by-the-numbers as Jay and Allison’s ready-for-CBS relationship is… lord almighty do I love their supporting cast of characters. Allison’s mom is a southern spitfire who loves Willie Nelson and has perfect comedic timing. Even better is her bestie/assistant?/Jack-to-her-Karen Chris, a man that is definitely a daddy (ask your gay friends). I love them, they are collectively Gay Canon, and I will put up with all the straight nonsense just to get more of them. And I haven’t even mentioned Allison’s best friend Paige; more on her below.
The thing is, I know shows like this are comfort food. They aren’t supposed to change your lives or minds. Even all of the family rules that punctuate the episode offer zero surprises. Seriously, Jay’s #1 rule? “In a marriage, it’s crucial to keep the romance alive.” … yeah…? And…? So to go into DeMarcus Family Rules expecting a radical reinvention of the formula would be as dumb as poking your head into a Cracker Barrell and being stunned there’s no Michelin star on the wall next to a decorative basset hound throw. In fact, I recognize it is fully ridiculous that I’ve devoted this much space to critiquing a show that, I reiterate, Netflix intentionally calls “goofy.”
Honestly, here’s where I’m at: I’m six months into quarantine, I haven’t been back to Nashville in God knows how long, and DeMarcus Family Rules reminds me of home—and lord knows I would love to go anywhere outside my apartment right now.
Parting Shot: Jay promises Allison that the antics are just getting started—and a montage of wacky clips from upcoming episodes prove his point. How the hell does camping, a dog’s nutsack, and a life-size gingerbread man factor into the DeMarcus family equation? You’ll have to binge Season 1 to find out.
Sleeper Star: Allison’s bestie Paige is everything. She’s a tornado of sparkles and she delivers the wisdom of a highly-curated Pinterest board through a voice that sounds like if Blanche Devereaux downed a Red Bull and was ready to go. I love her, and I immediately followed her on Instagram.