TV Review: ‘Branson Famous’

Branson Famous TV Review

There’s bad, there’s fabulously bad, and then there’s “Branson Famous.” What TruTV is billing as the first “reality musical” – and quietly unleashing, understandably, between Christmas and New Year’s – achieves a certain level of hilarity, though how much of that is intended proves difficult to discern. In this half-hour soap built around a performing family and their Branson, Mo., stage/variety revue, the characters don’t just deliver their direct-to-camera thoughts but sing their feelings, with one silly line rhyming with the next. As for the participants, they’re due to receive a measure of fame, all right, although probably not the kind they envisioned.

At the center of the series is the Mabe family, which performs in the long-running Baldknobbers Jamboree. The act consists of the extended family, minus one sister who desperately wants to escape her lot working in the gift shop but, alas, sings like someone who wouldn’t get invited to Los Angeles on “American Idol.”

Jumping right in, the show picks up with the son, Brandon, and his parents Tim and Patty auditioning new singers in an effort to help fill empty seats. They quickly settle on the pretty and perky Heather Gentry (who is dramatically introduced in silhouette), much to the chagrin of Brandon’s girlfriend and co-star, Megan McCombs, who doesn’t get along particularly well with Patty, mostly because she broke up Brandon’s marriage.

OK, so all that’s equal parts country-and-western song and “Nashville.” Where “Branson Famous” wildly goes off the rails is during the between-drama interludes, where Brandon sings, “I’m chasin’ Branson fame,” and his mom follows that with, “I’m savin’ my family’s name.” Or Brandon’s crooned reassurance that “I ain’t no cheatin’ man,” while Megan sings back at him, rolling her eyes. There’s even a sort-of split-screen duet at one point involving Megan and Patty, which is every bit as silly as that sounds.

Like a lot of reality shows, enjoying “Branson Famous” – or at least, accepting it as “real” in any way – requires ignoring the existence of the show itself, which, presumably, might help solve some of the family’s money troubles, not just through program fees but the attention (good or ill) this exposure will bring to them. Then again, dwelling on such matters would appear to be giving the show more thought than those responsible (and especially those who wrote the lyrics) ever did.

TruTV is undergoing a kind of creative evolution, having relied on heavily staged unscripted shows, and now morphing into a more comedy-driven version of the same. There will be, inevitably, some trial and error during that process.

For sheer kitsch value, “Branson Famous” is so absurdly goofy it might not be a total loss, and if so, it wouldn’t be the first time Southern-fried reality has reaped dividends.

That said, there’s a fine line between being laughed with and laughed at, and if the Mabes wanted to escape this exercise with their dignity, then like many an old-fashioned country song, the producers and TruTV have done them wrong.

TV Review: 'Branson Famous'

(Series; TruTV, Mon. Dec. 29, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Road to Awe Entertainment.

Crew

Executive producers, Anna Rodzinski, Brian Jones; co-executive producer, Stacia Thompson; producers, Lee Christofferson, Katie Killeen; senior editor, Caitlin Davey; musical director, Thomas McGurk. 30 MIN.  

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  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this show !!!! Please give us a second season of Branson Famous !!! Thanks !!!

  2. Ben Markham says:

    Heather or Megan?

  3. Ben Markham says:

    Heather Gentry is damn hot!!!

  4. Rachel says:

    Personally it’s a hypocritical way for publicity…and no the Mabes are not money grubbing backstabbing people this show portrays. The ones I have met are very nice people. if they want to do better in the theater then they need to involve the crowd more. Not just looking at people but bring people on stage go into the audience. Heck the motel is now up and thriving and it’s because the owner has put time money and effort in turning it around. A theater is no different. Besides the Baldknobbers show is supposed to be family oriented and that Branson famous makes them look as if they are not.

  5. Zeph says:

    Omgosh. Came across this tonight and found it interesting but the music in between is killing me. Who thought of this?? Country people might like that but not reality junkies.

  6. Steve says:

    I want to gag…barf…and laugh all at the same time …IS it that hard to pick good shows anymore?? I’m glad it’s so stupid because if it wasn’t it would have nothing going for it….

    • Gail Caldwell says:

      There are SOO many things wrong with this I can’t even list them. But #1, there are more talented folks on the streets of Branson than most everyone of these folks in this show. #2, Would SOMEONE PLEASE teach these women how to apply their makeup and fix their hair! They aren’t unattractive ladies but they DON’T have a clue how to do either of these. It’s VERY off putting. And as a musician of over 40yrs myself, and a fan of ALL true musician’s and singers if you want to “make it” in the business it takes a lot more than the silly childish junior high school actions these folks display. And if you want to see and hear an amazing country show in Branson. Check out Presley’s. And to add to the pile here, there is NO WAY that Megan was “vocalist of the year” at the “Terry Awards. (Branson’s version of the CMA’s). She just doesn’t have the chops to win an award like that. She is just mediocre. There is NO WAY that wasn’t a “fixed award”.

  7. Poo salito says:

    It’s corny as heck but I still enjoy it. It’s so funny.

  8. robt gortley says:

    it’s funny, people post they love the show or hate the show, but mostly they watch each episode. why? cuz as campy and dumb as it is sometimes, it’s ENTERTAINING! i even like the dopey singing interludes; they’re just so… odd… that again, they’re… (wait for it) entertaining! i love this show! my 2¢… thanks

  9. Kali says:

    I thought this show looked interesting when I saw it advertise but my gosh is this family rude as heck! I wouldn’t watch another second of their show just because of how terrible they act. I felt so bad when that one guy wanted to buy 2% of the company and they wouldn’t allow it. They sounded so selfish.

  10. Angie says:

    I can’t believe they think this show is going to bring them business. Our family goes to Branson every year to SDC and love Dixie Stampede, we’ve thought about seeing the Baldknobbers, but after watching how rude the grandma Mabe and the rest of them are no way would I spend money there. Total disappointment thought it was a show about all the different shows you can see in Branson, didn’t know it was about this rude family !!

    • Greg Smith says:

      Just because it’s called reality doesn’t mean it is. I am sure that all these actors are great friends and this is just a draw ploy. I like this show it makes me laugh and makes me drawn in.

  11. saintsfan says:

    I’m a huge fan of reality TV so of course I watch Branson Famous. This would be 100% better if they would stop the singing when anything happens. As for the comment regarding Breast implants, a failed marriage and the ladies strutting their stuff. Really? Grow up. Conservatives still have these issues in their lives. Doesn’t make them less.

  12. Mistletoe says:

    I think Denton is hot. Anyone with me?

  13. grogman says:

    I like Branson Famous. I like the characters and the reality of the town. I feel right at home with Branson and I feel at home with Branson Famous. GL Mabes!

  14. Jason Harding says:

    This show is one of the worst I’ve seen! The singing story lines is lame. But what is worse. Branson is supposedly family friendly. Yet this show is about a young lady wanting breast implants. Another woman strutting her stuff, yet gets shamed for being less conservative. And then the son and his girlfriend, they are the worse. Cheating and ending a marriage. This show has turned me away from ever seeing the baldknobbers!!

  15. Jettexas says:

    I think the mom and dad and grandma are as rude as you get! I see no love amongst them, just who is 1st on the pecking order, is all they seem to worry about. That youngest one Breezy has the best voice!

  16. anna says:

    The show could be interesting to watch IF the SINGING would stop! It appears to be totally scripted and not in good taste to suddenly burst into a rhymed song.

  17. Why can’t Brandon see that Megan is a big part of why the business can’t move forward. IT’S CALL BRANSON FAMOUS not Megan famous she really need to stop acting like a spoiled brat.The color envy is a ugly color. And listen Megan the same way you got your man is going to be the same way you lose your man. Get a grip Megan is not all about you and being a jealous woman is so not cute. And leave Heather alone.I hope Brandon mom keep you in your place.

    • Jettexas says:

      The one meddling is the mom. Megan makes that family look good and they treat her terrible.

      • Mae says:

        Megan is a b****, and her singing is so nasal it’s awwwwful. The family isn’t much better, talent-wise or other. The one being treated terribly for no reason is Breezy. Good lord I’ve never seen someone get brushed off and put down by their own family like that.

  18. Ak says:

    I… actually love this show, and I HATE country music. It’s just sooooo bad, but I actually kind of feel for the family. Their money problems and falling attendance is real, so we know that isn’t made up. The singing interludes are too far out to be considered campy but still have a nugget of entertainment – these are showbusiness people after all, so they ramp it up for the cameras. But I will say I hate how they are framing Megan as a homewrecker – from what I’ve read they were both married and left their spouses for each other, so they wrecked each other’s homes. Megan is no more terrible than the man she chose. That said, she’s hilariously passive-aggressive (not in a ‘fun’ way, it’s just hilarious to watch her throw out barbs that fall flat and cause everyone to give her side-eye).

  19. Denswife says:

    This show is like a train wreck, absolutely horrible, but still want to watch the destruction of it. It’s biggest problem is Megan, the home wrecker, who’s afraid of competition. Not only is she the manipulator of Brandon,(nit picking about his mother), and causing not just the break-up of his marriage, but the division of his family, she’s an atrocious singer. She needs to grow up. Didn’t she ever learn, that a man who loves his mother, and has a good relationship with his mother, is a man that you want for your husband. She has a lot to learn about life, and frankly I don’t care to watch her learn it on this program.

  20. marty peters says:

    why would anyone want to go see this bunch after watching this show need to send Megan packing

  21. Deanna says:

    Get rid of cry baby cheater Meagan

  22. Debbie says:

    Get Rid Of. The Blonde She Asks Floosie.

  23. Debbie says:

    Ms. Gentry needs to live the show and give family first dibs in the singing group she sounds better than
    Ms. Gentry

  24. sherr roe says:

    I thought i was in for a music treat but i found that your stuping to a reality show makes you look desperate for attention. You would think you would at least put more music in but instead you air your dirty laundry. I watched and promoted your show for 28 years, i won’t do that again.

    • Ak says:

      That’s interesting – I don’t even like country music but this show makes me want to check them out, if for no other reason than to see if drama erupts lol.

  25. Jim says:

    Honey Boo-Boo with eye candy

  26. memyselfandi says:

    That show sucks. Get rid of that brunette. She’s a pos

  27. Emma says:

    Tried watching a few episodes and I absolutely LOVE Megan she is hands down my favorite character. would have wanted to continue watching the show but I absolutely cannot stand Patty! She shows Heather more respect than she shows Megan. The fact that she has Heather on the stage instead of the little sister should say something.

  28. Wendy SueAnn says:

    I can’t decide whether I like this show or not… it’s like a compulsion to see what happens…. I actually like Megan, I think Brandon needs to stand up to his mother about his relationship with Megan… His mother comes across as a hateful toad. The parents are CONTROLLING beyond belief… Heather is about as fake as they come and for the love of God give that little sister something on stage she’s about the only sane one and cute besides (the most likeable character on the show so far)

  29. Jason says:

    Megan needs to take a step back before she says anything about another singer. She is a whiny conniving person . Brandon would be much better off without her!!!

  30. Ashlee Hernandez says:

    I love Megan, she is my favorite character. I also love that her and Brandon are a couple I think they look cute together and Brandon’s mom is just a pain in the butt, she needs to give Megan a chance and stop favoring heather.

  31. Gina says:

    I can’t stand the show because of Megan. She seriously needs to learn how to apply make-up. Her voice is horrible. If I wanted to hear someone sing through their nose I would listen too Miley Cyrus. Get rid of Megan McCombs. And pretty sure they don’t compare to Branjolina

    • Ashlee says:

      I don’t care what other people say I
      Absolutely love this show and I think heather is someone who is trying to steal the show.😒

  32. Reghan says:

    Are you serious?? This absolutely has to be the most ridiculous show I have ever seen. Who cares about these people (except for the people in Branson). OMG these people act like they are so famous and talented…… wake up people!! The comment about them being the “Bran Jolina” of Branson – you have got to be kidding me – are they truly being serious? ABSOLUTELY the STUPIDEST show I have ever seen. Keep your show and your singing in Branson – no one else wants to see or hear it.

    • Krista says:

      I enjoy this show but, would like to see less friction between Brandon`s mother and Megan, they should try to get along with each other and be more pleasant for Brandon, seeing as how they both obviously love him. Reghan you really woke up in the wrong side of the bed huh? If you didn’t really like the show, then why do you even bother to write an extremely long and negative comment about people whom you don’t know personally. Granted, this is not the best reality tv show I have seen but, I would save the nasty comments for a show like Lizard Licking Towing!

  33. Brenda says:

    I live an hour from Branson and get season tickets to Silver Dollar City every year. Ive been to the Baldknobbbers and watched their show when I was a kid and haved signed autographs. After seeing Branson Famous theres no way I would go see their show. To much DRAMA & Megan is a HOME WRECKER & Brandon is a CHEATER & the song confessionals of their DRAMA is HILLBILLY SILLY. The Mabes made a BIG mistake by doing Branson Famous. The show made them look BAD. I will NEVER go see this HILLBILLY show.

  34. Mike says:

    Brandon needs to grow some balls and tell Megan to quit causing so much drama … what a bitch !

  35. Jeff ellis says:

    I have been going to this show for 50 years in and off it has gotten terrible feel sorry for the 4 original Mabe brothers

  36. Jeff ellis says:

    Meghen McCombs comes off being a complete b…. They should fire her

  37. Martha Wright says:

    In all the years I went to Branson, I never saw the Baldknobbers. But someone told us we should go because it was the funniest show on the strip. So we went. Only Jim Stafford made me laugh harder. The music was like all the other shows, but the comedy was worth the too high price. My impression of the Mabe family was so different from what this tv show portrays and we hung out with one of them after our free pie at the restaurant, he was genuinely delightful.
    I had a feeling Branson was declining, but this show makes me not want to go any more.

  38. Joelle Stiles says:

    I watched this show for the first time today. I feel really bad for Branson, Missouri. I also feel bad for the new girl Heather. This family, I take that back. Brandon, Megan and the other young guy. They are all touched in the head. Megan is a total joke. BranJolina, what a joke. She looks like a clown wearing to much make up and thinks her singing is fabulous. There’s a reason she’s not in Nashville!

  39. Rhonda Johnston says:

    I love Branson and have seen the Baldknobbers many times and loved them. After watching this show, I’d never go see them again. And Brandon, I think I have a marketing strategy for all Branson shows to make more money. Lower the price of tickets considerably and you will fill the auditoriums to capacity and make more money in the long run. You will sell more concessions and gift shop items. People will be able to see a lot more shows and everyone benefits. And please don’t lower yourself to do shows like this one.

  40. Ann stoner says:

    I have been to Branson many times, but if this trash is the way they want to present their wholesome family image, then I won’t go back. A son eager to get rid of his family for an husband stealing, no talent witch, ambition and greed, not what I want to see. And the singing, that is terrible.

  41. Charlie says:

    Here in Branson we call these people rejects. I can name at least 6 shows you would enjoy better, even Barry Williams has a better show and I never liked the Brady Bunch. Tru Tv must be really desperate for ratings to show the want to be famous of Branson. The entire hospital is laughing over this show and It has already become an embarrasment to Branson. The Baldknobbers show fell from grace years ago and is doing anything it can to return to some form of glory. Brandon’s parents have to be totally embarrased. If you only knew some of the things we know here in Branson about these people. Now that would be a good show!

    • Nicole says:

      Please do tell, I absolutely love Branson and have seen the Baldknobbers several times. I always enjoyed it and they seemed like great people but I have to say that yes the tv show is a huge embarrassment for the city of Branson and that’s a real shame, Branson’s a beautiful city, the whole area is.

    • Ak says:

      You just made me want to visit Branson lol.

  42. Jared says:

    If i wanted to see an annoying brunette complain and be jealous of a pretty blonde with a good voice, I would take my fiancé over to my ex girlfriends house. My next door neighbor can sing better than these ignorant, overpaid idiots, and that is no joke. And what is with the singing in the video confessionals? We get it, singing decently is all you can do, but you do not have to narrate your life in musical form. Just please, for the love of god, make a show with actual people. They have nothing to complain or worry about for the rest of their lives, so most people are only tuning into the show to see the bullshit problems they make for themselves. Cancel it.

  43. connmac says:

    If they act this way behind the curtain, then it will carry out onto the stage. Megan is 100% biotch, & I would get rid of her. Brandon needs to grow “a pair”, & support his Mom & Dad. Heather is happy, smiling , & acts like she is proud to be there. They need more people like her. The Baldknobbers show use to be one of the best, so sorry to see it going down. I can see where “price” could be an issue with alot of older people, and that is there main crowd, so they should consider that, even though the reason for this reality show, is to get more people to go to it. After watching this reality show, I would have to think twice before wasting my money to go see it ,as the whole time I was watching, I would be thinking ” what a biotch Megan is”

  44. Callaway Cosper says:

    I totally agree with you. This show is so horribly weird and wrong that’s it’s almost entertaining! And I really wish they would stop singing. Being a singer myself and seeing how the dark headed chick thinks she’s just Gods gift to the world, hating on Heather (who is better than she is) and THEN hearing her sing, is almost sad. Seriously, find another job. None of the singers on the show are awesome… They are mediocre at best. Sorry Mabe family, but this show makes you look like a total joke!!!!

  45. Niecee says:

    I just love how self-righteous the homewrecker is. She’s worried that the blonde’s shimmying is going to tarnish the reputation of the show while she’s doing the owner’s son (after breaking up his marriage). Hillbilly Kar”trash”ians!!! LOL!!!

    • Pat says:

      I saw The Baldknobbers show in Branson in late December, 2014. Liked the show, especially the family-friendly comedy. Then, I watched Branson Famous. The reality show made me regret spending my money on The Baldknobbers! I feel really bad for Tim and Patty!

  46. Jessica says:

    Well I just watched your show and felt like throwing up!!! What a pathetic way to portray Branson and it’s shows. I know without a doubt I look better and would bet money that I sing better. While living there I was told I was too good for the shows. Guess I should have been a blonde. Show sucks plain and simple. Wanna make it interesting give me a call!!!

  47. Michael gilley says:

    Seams branson is dieing a slow death. This show will only open the eyes of those still coming an deter those who might have thought to come. We who work in branson see what’s happening. It’s a shame it takes such a low blow as this show to kill what little branson had to offer. All the stars r gone now an it won’t n Be long an branson will b gone too. This show only proves that this family is grasping one last straw to save what use to be great family entertainment. People have stop coming to branson an this show just proves my point. A good show would have helped! but this is just trash at its best.

    • John Logan says:

      My only trip to Branson was in the late ’80s. I found it to be nothing but an expensive tourist trap, not much different than the Wisconsin Dells. I’m surprised its lasted this long.

    • Martha Wright says:

      Related?

    • Tammie says:

      I agree Michael. Being a Branson girl myself I feel this show makes people think all “hillbillies” are like this and it just isnt so. What Branson needs to do is cater to the under 100 year old crowd. Get some younger acts in and bring this town back to what it was 20 years ago. There are some great acts still in Branson…Six is one of them. I have lived in PA for the last 6 1/2 years but am moving back home in April. I am a bit afraid to come back and see what has happened to my beloved hometown.

  48. robt gortley says:

    entertaining! weird how they sing along to plot developments; kinda compromises some of the “reality,” but the dittys are catchy and the songs decent, so what the hay—?! looking forward to more episodes

  49. Mr Moregunes says:

    I just watched it and thought it was great… cant wait to see more!!!

  50. Teresa Frisby says:

    I thought of the Mabe family as a wonderful family. These two at each other is not what the Mabe family wants to produce or be a part of. If they need a singer bring back Joy who is family anyway. Leave the drama at home where it belongs.

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