Here is a TV Review: Branson’s Baldknobbers Complete First Season of Hit-Reality Series. If you did not know, Branson Famous has been a sensational first run at the drama filled reality entertainment that America has grown hungry for. Tune is for a dose of Branson reality TV. Or just enjoy Beth's write up on it.
Ratings are through the roof and the viewers have spoken! The first season of Branson Famous kept audiences glued to their TVs for a total of 12 episodes. Composed of southern harmonies, theatrical family feuds, and sequined outfits, the musical reality sensation Branson Famous on truTV chronicles the domestic struggles of the hit-Branson country variety show Baldknobbers Jamboree. The show is known for its family-friendly variety ranging from gospel and country hits to classic comedy, this best-selling performance plays every night at 8 pm Monday through Saturday.
Like the rest of Branson, the Baldknobbers Jamboree show took off in popularity in the late 1950’s as the must-see attraction with the construction of the Table Rock Dam. Lasting strong during all the ups and downs of the economy, the Baldknobbers Jamboree has managed to pack their seats and captivate audiences season after season. Their massive theatre that stands today off Country Boulevard is a far cry from their humble beginnings when the Mabe brothers played as Branson’s first country music show almost 50 years ago in Branson’s old city hall. Today, along with their impressive venue, the Baldknobbers also have a restaurant (Baldknobbers Restaurant) and hotel (Baldknobbers Motor Inn) conveniently located onsite alongside the theatre.
Throughout the decades, the Mabe family has enjoyed success entertaining visitors with their highly successful music and comedy act. Tim Mabe and wife Patty currently produce the show. They along with two other Mabes act as “legacy” members of the cast. Like every show in Branson, the Mabe family faces a moral tug-of-war between updating the show with fresh comedy and edgy costumes, and sticking to their sometimes-dated, yet trusty methods of entertainment. With years of experience and unquestioned talent amongst the veteran cast members, collisions with the new ideas and values of the young performers are unavoidable. The older, more traditional way of planning the show clashes constantly with the obvious need to revamp their act. Can the Mabe family dynasty remain true to its grassroots culture and keep a “God and Country” image? Or will the updates to the show for the new season ruin the “wholesome family” feel? With the battered economy forcing the shows in Branson to up their games after a few lackluster seasons at the box office, the competition for the entertainment dollar grows fiercer with each vacation season. Branson Famous symbolically represents the city’s “bigger-picture” vision to update itself and broaden its vacation appeal to a younger and more diverse audience.
The musical reality series takes you backstage as the family debates how to turn a profit in the cutthroat entertainment world of Branson while still attempting to function as a normal household. Cast members break out in song during confessionals and family talks in true Branson-fashion! Some of the older members of the Mabe family, in particular, prefer the Hee Haw-style humor pervasive to the show and to Branson for so many years. The younger generation, by comparison, insists on racier costume changes and wittier humor more relevant to a pop culture-savvy audience.
The talk of the town is of a young, sexy new blonde singer fresh to the scene, Heather, and she’s looking to spice things as up as she tries to fit in with their tightly-knit Ozark family! Brandon Mabe, the young man of the family, attempts to establish his role as a leader with his takeover of the production. With his crafty co-star girlfriend, outsider Megan McCombs, this couple is a true metaphor of Branson’s larger attempt to fuse the old with the new. Difficulties are on the horizon with radical updates and different tastes mixing both at home and behind-the-scenes of the Baldknobber’s Jamboree. Viewers are kept guessing. Will Brandon’s dramatic on-screen relationship with Megan result in the two getting engaged? Sip fine wine and rub elbows with the Mabes in their luxurious mountain homes when others begin to question if Brandon even loves Megan, as he noticeably avoids her at parties and tries for the attention of others. Regardless, plans are being made, as the parents openly talk about their future marriage and wanting grandchildren. No pressure!
Not to mention the drama that has leaked its way out from the dressing rooms into the Baldknobbers Jamboree gift shop with an aspiring yet shy singer (younger sister to Brandon) and her dreams of one day being a star on stage alongside her talented relatives. Will her musical abilities ever be validated? Does she have what it takes to become the next hot new female vocalist on the Baldknobbers Jamboree, or will she forever remain in the shadow of her own family’s success, selling t-shirts and coffee mugs at the gift shop?
Although the Mabe family may have their cable TV-worthy issues behind the scenes, their award-winning music and comedy act remains a fixture in Branson, selling out more acts year after year. The soap opera musical series runs each 22-minute episode on truTV Monday nights 10 pm EST. Full episodes of Branson Famous (12 altogether) can also be found online at facebook.com, On Demand, sidereel.com, amazon.com, and trutv.com. Their TV show soundtrack can also be bought at itunes.com.