It must be my East Coast bias that made me think that the new show “Redneck Rehab” was about people who were in mullets and Confederate Flags who were being eased into a more 21st century world.
I was completely wrong. “Redneck Rehab,” which debuted Saturday, was about a guy who moved away from his rural family to live in urban Evanston, Ill., were he fancied himself a metrosexual.
Enter Tom Arnold, the pop up commentator for “My Redneck Vacation” who here is both host and therapist. He lures the unsuspecting subject into a confrontation with his family, bedecked in camouflage and funny hats, who say they want him to visit more often. They want him to come and camp, and zip around in go-carts and drink and get in the mud – you know, the kids of things rednecks do, at least on CMT shows.
The difference with this initial candidate is that he’s gay, which explains everything about him wanting perhaps to leave the rural setting and go to the city, such as it is, become an actor and move in with a life partner.
Yet aside from dressing drag for “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” this is not addressed at all in the episode because it would be too touchy or not germaine to his wearing camo or not.
So he and his partner go out for the camping trip reluctantly, are forced into shooting a fish (and cleaning it), jumping in the redneck hot tub (pickup bed filled with water, bubbles provided by a leaf blower), mud volleyball and assorted food fights. He warms to the experience, or at least everyone is told to say he seems to be warming to it. Enough so he has something he wants them to do: dress up in drag.
See how cultures can get along?
The underscored theme is that family is all you have so everybody should get back to the dirt. Don’t try to be what you’re not. Tom Arnold tries to drive this home by talking about his own Iowa upbringing, but he also has long since flown the coop and lives in Los Angeles and wears hipster sunglasses. I smell a redneck intervention coming for the host.