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Series / The Ranch (2016)
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The Bennett Family

The Ranch is a Netflix original series starring Ashton Kutcher as Colt Bennett, a semi-pro football player who returns to his dad's Colorado ranch when his career goes south. He has to contend with his unambitious brother Jameson "Rooster" Bennett (Danny Masterson), his gruff father Beau Bennett (Sam Elliott), his equally tough mother Maggie (Debra Winger) and re-adjusting to small-town life.

The show uses the traditional, multi-camera sitcom format that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s and is even shot in front of a Studio Audience. But taking advantage of not being on traditional network television, it includes harsh profanity and adult humor.

The show ended up organizing its episodes by "Part" instead of the traditional seasons. The first 10 episodes of Part 1 were released on Netflix April 2016. Part 7 was released September 2019. The eighth and final season was released January 24, 2020.

Tropes in the series include:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Hank, to Maggie. Colt, to Abby at first
  • Above the Influence: When drunk Abby tries to kiss Colt, who pulls away. Immediately after he admits he wanted to but says he didn't want her to regret it.
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Megyn Price, who plays Heather's mom Mary, is only 19 years older than Kelli Goss. Discussed in-universe, as Mary was only 17 when she had her first child.
  • The Alcoholic: Both Colt and Rooster have shades of this. While it's Played for Laughs, it's a little depressing.
    When I sit on the porch and drink alone I'm an alcoholic, but when you're here, it's just two brothers bonding.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Middle America.
  • Amicably Divorced: Maggie and Beau have been living apart for years, still sleep together whenever they run into each other and argue. After a fire in Maggie's trailer, the boys invite Maggie to stay at the ranch until it's fixed. Beau thinks he and Maggie should re-marry, but Maggie likes her life away from the ranch. In the second half of the first season, they figure they spend too much time trying to make it work and decide to get divorced. Their lives are far too intertwined to completely ignore each other, and share a hug after signing their papers.
  • Art Evolution: The first few seasons the show had a standard "outdoor set in an indoor sound stage" design, but it gradually came to use modern CGI to spruce up the backdrop, with birds and cows seen moving in the distance while characters talk. It lead to a sequence in Part 5 where a wildfire approaches the ranch especially striking.
  • Artistic License: In one episode, a calf dies from a bacterial infection and the Bennett men bury it. In real-life, the dead calf would have likely been sold to a rendering plant.
  • Basement-Dweller: Lampshaded by Abby.
    Am I the only one here who doesn't live with their parents?
  • Better than Sex: How Rooster describes a really great pee.
  • Betty and Veronica: Abby and Heather, to Colt. Kenny and Colt, to Abby.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: This exchange between Beau and Rooster:
    Rooster: Wanna watch something on TV tonight?
    Beau: Like what?
    Rooster: I dunno. Something on Netflix?
    Beau: What the fuck is Netflix?
    Rooster: Never mind.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall : Played with, along with some Celebrity Paradox. Colt runs into a woman who's a big fan...of Michael Kelso, whom she thinks Colt looks like.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Happens at least once an episode. Something is mentioned early on, and returns later in the episode, such as Beau making fun of Maggie for reading The Bridges of Madison County and thinking she's a relationship expert.
    • At the end of the episode "Got A Little Crazy", Heather walks out of the Bennett's house wearing only a bra and no shirt. Two episodes later, we find out that the reason is because Abby (who was very drunk) threw up all over Heather's shirt.
    • In the Season One finale, Beau tries on Colt's Uggs, and Colt asks him "What the fuck are you wearing?"
  • Broke Episode: While a backdrop of the series is that the ranch is failing due to the drought, in the tenth episode Beau decides the market is so bad he won't sell the calves. He also cuts the power. At the last minute, a Deus ex Machina disaster befalls the competition.
  • Canada, Eh?: Colt's last job was on the "Saskatoon Cold," which is like the Miami Heat only, you know, cold. Also a bit of Artistic License, as Saskatoon doesn't have a CFL team. The closest would be the junior Saskatoon Hilltops, or the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Colt puts his foot up on the coffee table, revealing his "lady boots" to Beau.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Colt hasn't quite given up football, but three concussions and a sore knee and shoulder (shown packed in ice) have blown his chances at an NFL career.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Rooster.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In the very first episode, Beau barges into Colt's room when he's just about to have sex with Heather.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Rooster's death completely shifted the tone of the show further into drama than comedy, and had long-term impact on the characters and the direction of the story.
  • Character Development: Colt came back home hoping to get one last shot at a minor league team, but ended up sticking around to work on the ranch. He has a lot of bad history in his home town and unresolved issues at home, but he resolves to step up and do better. After the first season, most of the problems he gets into is trying to fix the problems everyone else drags him into.
  • Christianity is Catholic: The Bennett, Roth and the Phillips families are all Roman Catholic. They even go to Midnight Mass for Christmas.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Discussed in a quite heavy scene after Heather has a miscarriage. She and Colt are both devastated, as they were preparing to be parents, even if they weren't a couple anymore, and Colt was genuinely excited. However, they both admit to being relieved, since not throwing a baby into the mix solves a lot of problems for them both. This of course makes them both, Colt in particular, feel extremely guilty. But, as Heather points out, they can't beat themselves up for feeling that way forever.
  • Cooking Show: Rooster pretends to be narrating one while he cooks breakfast.
    Making scrambled eggs is like making love to a beautiful woman. You want to gentle, you want to take your time, you want to last. But most importantly, you want to use a shit-ton of butter.
  • Cool Old Guy: Beau can be quite charming when he wants to.
  • Cool Old Lady: Maggie is liked by everyone in town. Running the local bar might have something to do with that.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Neumann’s Hill CEO Lisa Neumann is introduced as being just a shrewed business owner, but eventually betrays herself as being far more ruthless than she needed to be. In Part 7 she put a dam on a stream used by a half dozen independent ranchers, Colt included, which later made them more willing to just sell their ranch rather than fight her in court or spend more money to drill a well. Even though he was one of the few unaffected, Beau is also upset with her behavior.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Colt is genuinely trying to do better and be more honest with others, but nearly every step he takes ends up putting himself into an impossible situations where someone is going to be pissed at him.
  • Country Music: Not only are the individual episodes named after Kenny Chesney songs, but the show's soundtrack features songs by country artists like Travis Tritt, George Strait, and Brooks & Dunn.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Colt delivers a calf who appears to be stillborn. After a few seconds of breathing into its mouth, not only is the calf revived, Colt is so good it's dried and blow-brushed of all its birth goo!
  • Crazy-Prepared: Beau keeps gun racks everywhere, including two in the bathroom.
  • Dad the Veteran: Beau is a Vietnam veteran.
  • Darker and Edgier: After Rooster is killed off.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Abby's parents never liked Colt, according to her even before they were high school sweethearts. They adored Kenny, which made the transition to her and Colt getting together even more difficult. And even that is made much worse with Heather being pregnant with Colt's child.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the cast, but especially Rooster.
    Beau: When you say stupid shit like that all day, do you go to bed proud of yourself?
    Rooster: Yes, I do sir. Then I do something else in bed, and I feel ashamed.
  • Delivery Guy: Downplayed. Colt has to help birth a breech calf, but it's old hat to him.
  • Diet Episode: Played with. In the third episode, Beau is diagnosed with high blood pressure and has to change his eating habits, including giving up alcohol and cutting back on red meat.
    Doctor: What do you do to relieve stress?
    Beau: Eat steak and drink whiskey.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: An In-Universe example. In one episode, Colt steals Beer Pong Billy's taser. Billy does not find it funny at all, and explains that if he loses another taser he'll be kicked off the police force. Which begs the question of how he lost the last one, and how many he's already lost.
    • Colt gives a similar reaction when Hank mistakes(?) Luke for Rooster and compliments him on how he looks without the beard. Colt glares at him and says “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Colt & Abby get back together and he proves that the Trich outbreak amongst Neumann’s Hill’s cattle didn’t start at Iron River, forcing Lisa to drop the lawsuit against him; on top of that, he leverages Lisa into buying his herd for the price of Iron River.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The series starts out with a fairly typical sitcom set, pacing and premise. Near the end of the first scene Beau notices Colt's ugg boots and says "What the fuck are you wearing?" uncensored. Sets the tone for the characters and the format of the show, it's rated TV-MA on Netflix.
  • Ethical Slut: Heather is one of the nicest characters in the show. She also happens to enjoy sex quite a lot.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Tonya Showers is so sexy, even Abby admits to being attracted to her.
  • Everytown, America: The Ranch is set in Garrison, a fictional small town located in southwest Colorado near the famous ski town Telluride. The town's population is only 512 people, it has one stoplight, and a single high school which gets closed down in Part 4.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: The people of Garrison have quite overactive libidos, and the Bennetts more than anyone.
  • Expy: Colt and Rooster are basically grown-up versions of Kelso and Hyde from That '70s Show, and Beau is basically a cowboy version of Red Foreman.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Each Part is generally over the span of only a few months, with a number of episodes covering mere days at a time. Part 1 begins mid summer while Part 2 ends around Christmas. The show ended up using a couple Time Skips to catch up with the real world.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mary Roth as of the episode, "Changes Comin' On," when it was revealed that she had been stealing money from Maggie's bar to fund her drug habit.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Rooster felt he didn't have a choice but to stay and help on the ranch when Colt was accepted into college.
    • Also applies to Colt's football career, in a roundabout way. He's not good enough to be a professional football player, but it seems to be the only thing he can do, so he keeps trying.
    • Colt eventually calls Beau out on raising them like this, that he always berated them for whatever they did as the wrong option, while also berating them ahead of time for thinking of doing anything else, leaving them with nothing to do but fail in his eyes. Sadly he never seems to realize that Abby treats him the exact same way, constantly blaming him for never getting everything done to her satisfaction without giving any suggestion of exactly how he's supposed to do that.
  • Family Theme Naming: Colt and Rooster are both animals; using Rooster's real name then it's Colt and Jameson — a kind of horse and liquor, some of cowboy Beau's favorite things.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: While both Bennett boys drink and sleep around a lot, Rooster stayed on the ranch to work while Colt pursued (and screwed up) a football career. As the series progresses, this is flipped - Colt takes over the Peterson Ranch & gets his personal life in order, whilst Rooster gets fired from Neumann’s Hill for not taking his work seriously & remains in an on-off relationship that ultimately leads to his death after being threatened into leaving town.
  • Foreshadowing: Colt says "Don't worry. I got all the unregistered guns I need." Season 7, Episode 10 ends with a gunshot.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Implied that Beau used to be one as a young man, though it's not clear if he was still a teenager then. Until his dad died after a bad argument they had. That convinced Beau it was time to focus on being a good rancher.
  • Genre Shift: The show was always about comedy and drama, but the show can be split into two sections: parts 1-5 which focused more on comedy with the Bennett family, and parts 6-8 which focused more on the drama following Rooster's death and its long-term impact on the family and their friends. While the first section naturally had dramatic and serious moments it still resembled a sitcom, while the second section noticeably has the characters be in more life-threatening situations as well as dealing heavily with drug abuse and abusive relationships which made it look more like a drama with comedic moments.
  • The Ghost: Beau used to have a hired ranch hand named Pedro that he had to let go due to financial hardship. Pedro is mentioned in a few episodes, but never seen.
  • Gossipy Hens: It is almost impossible to keep a secret in Garrison, on account of how gossipy everyone is.
  • Granola Girl: Maggie reveals herself to be one, moreso than the family even expected. Especially compared to Beau, she's an environmentalist who wanted to do a lot more traveling and even has some tendencies towards being The Stoner.
  • Groin Attack: Colt punches Rooster in the nuts for joking about sleeping with Abby.
  • Happy Ending Override: In the mid-season finale for Season One the Bennett ranch is saved from going under, Colt and Rooster are both happy in their new relationships, and Maggie agrees to move back in with Beau. But in the final minutes of the episode, Maggie skips town and Abby breaks off her engagement with Kenny because she wants to be with Colt.
  • Has a Type: The only two girls Colt has had serious relationships with, Heather and Abby, look so much alike they could be related.
  • Hates Small Talk: Beau. Colt, to some extent
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Whenever the hot weather girl on the local news station, Tonya Showers, is on TV, the Bennett men stop what they're doing to watch her.
  • The Hedonist: Colt. As Beau explains, he's either drank, smoked, or screwed away every opportunity he's ever had. Rooster comments that if Colt inherited the ranch and sold it off, a lot of strippers in Denver would have money to buy new boobs.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Lisa Neumann routinely switches between friendly & serving an antagonistic role. It’s somewhat subverted, as she’s never malicious in doing so, but looking after her company’s interests. Part 7 settles with her as a Heel, as she forces Beau to sell Iron River to her in exchange for dropping charges against Colt for destroying a dam that Neumann’s Hill were using to keep preserve water for their cattle at the cost of the local ranchers not having enough water for theirs.
  • Hidden Depths: Heather at first appears to be The Ditz who Really Gets Around and merely a Romantic False Lead getting in the way of Colt being with Abby. Abby tries to convince Colt to break up with her because she is so much younger (He's 35 and she's 22) and are barely even dating. When he tries to break up with her, she takes it maturely and they start to actually talk to each other, with Colt finding she's actually a championship rodeo participant and participated in 4-H. By the end Beau likes her more than Colt.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • All of the episodes in Part 1 are named after songs by country music artist Kenny Chesney. (See entry for Expy)
    • All of the episodes in Part 2 are named after George Strait songs.
    • For Part 3, the episode titles are named after Tim McGraw songs.
    • In Part 4 the episode titles are Garth Brooks songs.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Described, but not seen. When a wealthy Hollywood celebrity buys one of the ranches in Garrison, Berto mentions that the owner's wife frequently relaxes in the hot tub while topless, and she doesn't mind if the ranch hands look at her.
  • Ironic Echo: Colt repeats his mom's words.
    If it helps, we weren't facing each other.
  • Jaded Washout: Colt. Technically many of the cast members could fit this, but Colt's the one who had the most promise in high school. And played with, as Colt did manage to earn a championship ring as a 3rd string quarterback, but he screwed himself over with his poor behavior more than just not getting a chance.
  • Jerk Jock: Colt. He's also very much a Dumb Jock.
  • The Last DJ: Part Two explores this as Iron River Ranch is among a dwindling number of family owned ranches, and Beau refuses any sort of deal with a corporate group because they would lose all bargaining power selling their livestock. Subsequently, the struggle of keeping Iron River afloat in the face of Neumann’s Hill expanding their monopoly is one of the core conflicts of the rest of the series.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: In the second half of season one, Colt and Heather have a sexual encounter after breaking up. At the end of the season finale, we learn that Heather became pregnant from that encounter.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Colt usually wears a hat backwards along with a t-shirt and jacket. Rooster typically wears flannel. Beau wears denim and long johns. Maggie often has a shirt with Native American styling on it.
  • Local Hangout: Maggie's Bar seems to be social hub of Garrison. Truth in Television, by the way; in small ranching and farming towns, the town bar is often where everybody gathers to unwind after hard day's work.
  • Long-Lost Relative: In part 6 the Bennett family is visited by Luke Matthews, the son of Beau's brother who died years ago.
  • Love Triangle: Colt is still interested in Abby, who's dating Kenny.
  • Manchild: Both the Bennett sons are this, in different ways.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: All three of the Bennett men enjoy hunting (and so does Maggie).
  • Manly Tears: Colt has a heart-to-heart with Beau in Episode 3. Quickly subverted when Beau tells him he'll end up eating quinoa, "whatever the fuck that is."
  • Mathematician's Answer: Used as a running gag in one single scene, where Beau answers several of Maggie's this-or-that questions with "Yes", all of them showing his grumpy old man personality being heightened. Colt also (ironically) gets in on this when Abby asks if Colt was sorry she saw Heather at his house during a hook up or if he was sorry he hooked up in the first place.
  • May–December Romance: Played with. Colt is 12 years older than Heather. Then Rooster picks up Heather's mom Mary, but points out that they're closer in age (4 years' difference) than Colt is to Heather.
  • Metrosexual: Colt is critical of others' fashion choices (though he dresses like a fratboy himself) and is awfully attached to his hair care regime.
    Colt: They're Uggs. Tom Brady wears them.
    Maggie: They look like Marcia Brady wears them.
  • Mirror Character:
    • Colt and Beau are both stubborn, proud, and unwilling to admit being wrong. This frequently leads to heated arguments between them that almost turn into physical fights.
    • Beau meets Lisa Neumann, owner of the Neumann‘s hill corporate ranches. They turn out to have a number of things in common, as Lisa also grew up on a ranch. She started her business because of an opportunity to buy the neighboring ranch, which was what Beau was looking to do with the Peterson Ranch.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Beau's relationship with Maggie started falling apart, he befriended a widow named Brenda Sanders. Although their relationship never turned physical, rumors began circulating that the two of them were having an affair.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Rooster.
    If I avoided every girl I tried to kiss, I'd have to avoid the bank, the dentist, middle school. (Beat) Relax, you pervert, it was the crossing guard.
    Colt: You tried to kiss a woman holding a big red stop sign?
    • It's creepier when he asks a high school girl if she's a senior, and seems interested in a young woman who had her prom a year ago. He's 35.
    • Pre-empted by Colt, when he is trying to have sex with Heather he confirms her age as 22. When his Dad barges in the first thing he exclaims is "She's 22!"
  • Mood Whiplash: Although the show is primarily a comedy, it has moments where it becomes surprisingly dark and serious, usually in situations involving family conflicts or falling short of your goals.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Heather spends most of her scenes running around in cute underwear. It's even lampshaded by Colt.
    Colt: What happened to your shirt?
    Heather: Do you really care?
  • Never Found the Body: After Rooster is run out of town, the police find his motorcycle at the bottom of a cliff after hitting a guard rail. They found his wallet and some clothing down the river, which made them declare him dead even though they never actually found him.
  • Never My Fault: Colt won't accept responsibility for his screw-ups.
  • No Smoking: Averted in Part 3. Abby starts smoking again to deal with stress. The more aggravated she gets the likelier she is to smoke a cigarette.
  • Not So Stoic: Beau has his moments of being more sensitive than he likes to let on. When Maggie left town he was more angry than anything else, but by the end of the episode was crying for her. In the first season finale he tries on Colt's Uggs and finds himself rather liking them.
  • One-Steve Limit: Subverted. Rooster dates two girls named Linda.
    Colt: Linda Miller? Is that Cute Linda or Pregnant Linda?
    Rooster: They're both cute.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Abby, who's played by Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert, says "aboot" when agitated.
  • One Head Taller: Colt is a whole foot taller than Abby and a little over 8 inches taller than Heather.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Rooster’s disappearance & presumed death at the start of Part 6, with Beau & Maggie having to face the possibility of outliving their eldest son.
  • Rancher: Beau, who's struggling due to the drought and depressed economy.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The strained finances of the Bennett and their ranch play a central role in the story. The only point where they are flush with cash is just after selling their calves at market.
  • The Peter Principle: Rooster was hired by a corporation to run one of their ranches because he is an experienced rancher. Unfortunately he is from a family ranch and not accustomed to running an actual business. He puts off paperwork, ignores e-mails, brushes off project deadlines and tried to use company money taking employees to a strip club. He is eventually fired just as he starts trying to take the job more seriously.
  • Police Are Useless: If "Beer Pong" is any indication. He leaves his gun in the refrigerator at one point.
  • Product Placement:
    • Maggie's trailer is always referred to by its brand name: Airstream.
    • If somebody is drinking a beer, it's going to be Budweiser (which is a little strange because the show is set in Colorado where Coors is king), and if they're drinking whiskey, it will probably be Jim Beam.
    • In Part 3 Colt gets a job as a stock-boy as Safeway.
  • Put on a Bus:
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In the pilot, Beau delivers one to Colt, who has squandered every opportunity he's had.
    They'll put that on your tombstone: Here lies Colt Bennett. Next time, it'll be different.
    • In episode 15 of Season 1, Kenny gives one to Colt after Colt confesses that Abby dumped Kenny to be with him.
    • Colt finally gets to return the favor to Beau in a later season, calling him out for the fact that while he was always quick to shout at the boys for failing, he not only didn't acknowledge it when they succeeded, but refused to give them an option for success, blaming both Colt and Rooster for the mere existence of unwinnable situations that Beau himself often created.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Colt and Rooster are quite cavalier with their guns, shooting at bottles with a revolver while drinking. A ricochet almost hits Beau and ends up wrecking the living room TV.
  • Redemption in the Rain: When Beau and Colt are arguing, about to come to blows, it suddenly starts raining (for the first time in a year). Colt claims to have brought the rain with him.
  • Running Gag: Abby's snide remarks about Heather's age every time she runs into her and Colt.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: A long lost cousin, Luke, got back from Iraq and is affirmed as having PTSD, being very quick to jump at sudden noises. Beau can relate, as he is reminded of Vietnam whenever he fills up the tractors with diesel.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: An in-universe example. Heather tells the story of a calf she owned called Dairy Potter. The calf became very sick and nearly died, but Heather managed to nurse it back to health. Shortly afterward, the calf was killed by a mountain lion.
  • Shown Their Work: The Animas River Spill, a real-life event that happened in the summer of 2015, is incorporated into the plotline of the show.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Colt and Rooster's relationship is mostly this.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Frequently happens when Beau and Rooster are talking to one another.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Ranch is perhaps the first television sitcom since Roseanne that seriously deals with the plight of working-class Americans instead of affluent urbanites (although unlike Roseanne, The Ranch has a conservative slant rather than a liberal one).
  • Stacy's Mom: Mary, hot mom to both Heather and her sister Darlene, Rooster's blind date.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: The show plays with it, as a lot of sets are in outdoor locations. Although parodied somewhat in one episode where a gas company employee came by to talk about a business opportunity, we first see her enter through the normal entrance as she wraps up talking with Beau, says her goodbyes and walks to the far end of the set, and the boys mention how weird it is for someone to use the front entrance of the house.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Mary, along with her two daughters Heather and Darlene, are all very attractive blondes.
  • The Stoner: Maggie, who tried to microwave a frying pan while high.
  • Studio Audience: The show is shot in front of a live audience because it helps energize the actors.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Dax Shepard joins the cast as Long-Lost Relative Luke Matthews after Rooster was written off due to legal problems with Danny Masterson. The series tries to temper it by waiting a few episodes and including a Time Skip, but you can still catch the similarities.
  • Take That!: To Al Gore.
    • Also to Barack Obama, and Democrats in general.
    • In an interview with E! Entertainment News, Danny Masterson (who plays Rooster) mentioned "It's usually Hollywood making fun of Middle America and we wanted to be Middle America making fun of Hollywood."
    • Colt defends his Ugg boots by declaring that Tom Brady wears them. Beau’s response: "Yeah, well, Tom Brady gets away with a lotta shit."
    • A real sly one to a fellow Netflix original show. With regards to Rooster staying at her place Mary tells him "I already have a Full House, I don't think I can handle a Fuller House." It's actually rather innocuous, but the Laugh Track indicates it's intended as a dig. Part 5 outright mentions the show itself, saying it was like a disaster you can't stop watching.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Beau isn't interested in marriage counselling.
  • Time Skip: The second half of the first season takes place in the winter, several months after the end of the first half of the season.
  • Tough Love: Beau thinks he is doing this to his boys as they have a long history of bad behavior, but it always results in a big argument that takes weeks to resolve and no lesson is really learned. This comes to a head in Part 5, as he tells Lisa Neumann not to drop charges on Colt for stealing a generator (which Rooster actually stole, Colt was caught trying to get rid of it) and is also ready to sell the Peterson Ranch away from Colt all in the name of "teaching him a lesson." As it could result in jail time and he has a baby on the way, Colt is furious and calls out Beau on how instead of encouraging him to do better all he sees is his father seemingly tormenting him. Beau ends up taking it to heart, and comes to admit how horribly he's treated his sons.
  • Trolling Translator: Colt tries to get Abby to break up with Heather via text. She sends a text telling Heather they have to meet in person.
  • The Unfair Sex: Colt realizes he is being strung along by Abby while she says she was trying to break up with Kenny. After an altercation he thinks they are done for and ends up backsliding with Heather. Abby finally breaks up with Kenny and goes to Colt to tell him the news, and both girls end up meeting. They turn all their anger on him and he accepts it, when in truth he was making an effort to do right by everyone and had horrible timing.
  • The Unfavorite: Both the Bennett boys seem to be this, depending on who's talking.
  • Unperson: Due to Danny Masterson's controversial departure from the show, all of Rooster's photos are covered up in the Part 6 intro, replaced by photos of Abby and her daughter with Colt.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: Colt likes wearing Uggs, and accidentally tries to put on Heather's.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Beau refers to the cow's "address."
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: All three of the Bennett men are assholes, to each other and to everyone in town, even their friends.
  • The Vietnam Vet: It's mentioned that Beau fought in the Vietnam War.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The fact that Heather and Beau both used to belong to a 4-H club is brought up without explaining what the 4-H is and expecting the viewer to know.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Both Colt and Rooster long for their father's approval.
    • Subverted with Beau, who says that while his dad was tough on him, the family was just glad he'd made it out of Vietnam alive.
  • Wham Episode: The Part 6 episode "Reckless," where it is revealed that Rooster's motorcycle was found at the bottom of a cliff, with no sign of Rooster.
    • Season 7's 10th episode ends with a gunshot.
  • Wham Line: In the first season finale. Heather: I'm pregnant.
    • Rooster ends up drawing Colt and Umberto into a Bar Brawl and are taken to jail. Beer Pong tells them Umberto will be deported for being an illegal immigrant.
    • In part 8, we have this regarding Nick's death:
    Heather: I did it.
  • Wham Shot: In the first season mid-finale. Beau goes behind the bar to see Maggie only to find that Maggie left town with her RV.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The show is set in Colorado, yet the main cast seems to have vague, disappearing Texan accents.

Alternative Title(s): The Ranch