Country Comfort

The Feisty Indian Aunty Watches… Country Comfort

Dept. of Aunty Analysis

What is Country Comfort about? An aspiring young country singer (Katharine McPhee) finds the band she’s been missing when she takes a job as nanny for a musically talented family: a rugged cowboy (Eddie Cibrian) and his five children.

Hello again, it is I, your Feisty Indian Aunty, who actually prefers listening to classical Western or Indian music as opposed to hoeing it down to funky country fare. Give me Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, or Handel’s Messiah and I am a happy camper. Now don’t get me wrong, I love music and can appreciate it in all its forms, but country music just doesn’t do anything for me.

Which is why it was so surprising that I enjoyed Country Comfort as much as I did. This series really caught me off guard and I binged the whole thing. I wasn’t just lost in the theme of this show, I was also completely engrossed in the lovely, catchy beats of the various songs that were featured in every episode. I think a part of it had to do with how much it reminded me of two of my favourite things: The Sound of Music and The Nanny. Clearly a source of inspiration, though not nearly as great.

Country Comfort is a family sitcom. It isn’t deep or thoughtful in any way. In fact, so many of the contrivances in these 10 episodes are things you’ve likely already seen, many times before, in everything from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. You know exactly what’s going to happen. Katharine McPhee will eventually fall in love with Eddie Cibrian (and his five children), and whether their happily ever after comes at the end of this season or 10 seasons down the road, you’re not really watching this for its riveting storyline. For me, this was a show with a lot of heart, and that is precisely what I was in the mood for.

It also made me think a lot about raising children. And how much harder it must be for an outsider.

Country Comfort

Would you be a nanny if the circumstances came your way? I would. As a trained teacher, I would fit in very well as a nanny, albeit a strict one. But what if you had a dream that was taken away from you? Would you settle for a job taking care of other people’s children? Being a nanny means being on call 24-7, with no respite. The older the children are, the tougher the job will be. The younger the children are, the more clingy they will be if you prove to be good at what you do.

If you think that being a nanny for older children is easy, think again. They have teenage problems, they have “growing-up-with-elder-siblings” issues, and “taking-care-of-younger-siblings” issues, love issues, and school issues, and studying issues. What’s even harder is being a nanny for children who may have lost a parent due to death or divorce. They can be miserable and their problems can be difficult. They may be too young to understand what’s going on and unable to deal with their pent up emotions. A situation that would be made even worse if not dealt with properly by the remaining parent.

Being a parent is hard enough. Being a nanny takes it to a whole new level. You are not a parent. You are not a relative. You are not a counsellor. You can learn the trade but the difference between being Nanny McPhee and Cinderella’s stepmother is all about the children and how you look after them. A great nanny will slowly but surely gain the respect, love, and regard from their wards. Children will never want that nanny to leave them or not be a part of their lives.

Country Comfort is a family sitcom. So I wasn’t really expecting a deep exploration of these issues. It did, however, skim the surface of most of them. Just enough in fact to trigger a meaningful conversation.

Country Comfort

As for all of you rolling your eyes at the premise of the series, have I got a story for you. Many years ago we had a family friend who studied in the United States but came back home to a dead end job. She was underpaid and unhappy. One day, she found and advert in the New York Times for a nanny. The job involved looking after three children who had lost their mother. She applied. She got the job and moved to New York. She became their nanny and eventually married their father. It can happen. Those sorts of happily ever afters can come true. And God knows sometimes you just want to escape into a fairy tale.

You can read all The Feisty Indian Aunty’s previous columns here.

Country Comfort is now streaming on Netflix.

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