The new family television comedy led by Katharine McPhee brings nostalgic memories of The Nanny with a contemporary audience and a country twist.
Netflix reimagines the life of a young woman turned nanny with a dash of Southern charm in their new show Country Comfort. Created by Caryn Lucas, a producer of the hit comedy The Nanny, the sitcom follows aspiring country singer Bailey (Katharine McPhee), who takes a job as a nanny for rugged cowboy Beau (Eddie Cibrian) and his five children.
Like our beloved nanny Fran Fine, both Bailey’s career and personal life have taken a turn for the worst. After ending things with her boyfriend and getting kicked out of their band, Bailey, like Fran, somehow ends up on the doorstep of her future employer. Unlike Fran’s NYC-inspired wardrobe of couture, we first see Bailey rocking jeans, a black leather jacket, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat. We’re not around the upper east side, but rather the Nashville-inspired South. With southern accents, a popular honky-tonk bar called Tootsie’s, and a horse stable, Country Comfort is a refreshing take on the classic nanny trope. The show is filled with silly gimmicks, heartwarming moments, and some adult jokes that may go over children’s heads.
Bailey faces a family of various wild personalities as she cares for Beaus’ kids. There’s the charming playboy Tuck (Ricardo Hurtado) and his shyer younger brother Brody (Jamie Martin Mann). Next, is the child turned professional music manager Dylan (Griffin McIntyre) and outspoken but deeply compassionate Cassidy (Shiloh Verrico). Chloe (Pyper Braun) is the youngest child, and the cutest, but most mischievous out of the bunch.
McPhee plays Bailey with layers of sweetness, perseverance, and bouts of energy as she works the nannying ropes for the first time. Even with Bailey’s big heart, her lack of experience and naivety leads her to mess up during the process. She and the kids get into many shenanigans throughout the season ranging from a missing guitar, a stranded bride, and a botched bar performance. Her need to meddle in family affairs also proves disastrous after attempting to get Brody and his childhood friend, now crush, Jo (Kirrilee Berger), together.
Thankfully, Beau steps in as the family’s level-headed figure to balance out Bailey’s clumsy mistakes. While the father may first come across as a little rough around the edges, his walls come down as we see him care deeply for his children. Cibrian, also seen in CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds, plays Beau as this strong character, but we see him begin to crack from his grief from losing his wife.
Every character shifts Bailey’s world from her tumultuous relationship with musician boyfriend Boone (Eric Balfour) to run-ins with Beau’s uptight approval-seeking girlfriend Summer (Janet Varney). One of the standouts of the series, though, is Shiloh Verrico as Cassidy.
Still coming to terms with her mother’s death, Cassidy presents herself with this harsh and cold demeanor when first meeting Bailey. Verrico balances Cassidy’s sadness and anger, as her rage turns into tears when she believes her family is trying to replace her mother. The most significant parts of the season are the moments between Cassidy and Bailey. Acting as each other’s support system, they can connect on a deeper level, struggling with a lost love.
The series continues to embrace more complex topics like death, love, and faith. It’s not patronizing, though. Instead, it breaks down those difficult themes through humor and understanding. Who knew a conversation about Elvis could be the great segway into a discussion about religion?
The show also adds a musical spin with talented performances between all the comical and emotional elements. We even get an iconic cameo from the legendary country star LeAnn Rimes!
The most special performances lie in McPhee’s hands. She’s no stranger to the stage, from her days on American Idol and starring in the hit Broadway TV show Smash. With a bit of country twang, McPhee’s rich vocals sing along to the melodies of hits from artists like Rascal Flatts, Anne Murray, Tammy Wynette, and even some original songs. As she performs with a guitar in hand, McPhee seems like she could have always been a country singer. It’s this natural talent that heightens the musical moments with her warmth and passion.
While the show successfully establishes each family member and their relationship with each other and Bailey, it would be cool to explore more in-depth backstories of specific characters for the series’ future. For instance, there’s a glimpse of Bailey’s upbringing as she repeats how her mother left her when she was two years old, but that’s all we know about her family life. It could be interesting to see how Bailey grew up to be the woman she is today.
Country Comfort may be inspired by shows and movies like The Nanny and The Sound of Music, but it’s a series with its own perspective. It gradually opens up families to the sights of Nashville and the sounds of country music through quips, tunes, and uplifting scenes. Overall, it’s a show about love in a time when all of us need it most.
Catch all episodes of Country Comfort on Netflix, premiering on March 19th!