‘The Pioneer Woman’ is the Kind of Show They ‘Play in Hell’ According to Fans

Some Food Network shows have a love it or hate it vibe, and The Pioneer Woman is certainly one of those. The program, about a former “city gal who moves out to the sticks” inspires almost as many five-star reviews as it does one-star reviews. 

On one particular forum, the fan hate seems to have evolved over the show’s 15 seasons. People seemed to have at least liked it at one point, but more recent episodes have struck some views as too much to take. 

What is ‘The  Pioneer Woman?’

Ree Drummond 'The Pioneer Woman'
Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Pioneer Woman is sort of like an expanded version of the Pace Picante sauce ad that shows a bunch of cowboys eating a sauce they don’t much care for, and one of them says the sauce was made in New York City. The cowboys all exclaim ‘New York City?” 

Ree Drummond is the “New York City” of the show, as she transplants from Los Angeles to Chicago and marries a rancher, settling where the winds go sweeping down the plain in Oklahoma. Geographically, the move actually wasn’t much of a stretch — Drummond was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. 

The official synopsis of the show on Food Network reads:

“Take one sassy former city girl, her hunky rancher husband, a band of adorable kids, an extended family, cowboys, 3,000 wild mustangs, a herd of cattle and one placid basset hound and you have The Pioneer Woman …The series, set against the incredible story of life at home on the range, is the next best thing to actually sitting on a stool in Ree’s kitchen.”

Why do some fans hate the Pioneer Woman? 

RELATED: Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond is an Awful Cooking Show Host, But Her Recipes Are Still Unforgettable

Some fans on Reddit make it clear that the stool in Ree’s kitchen in quite uncomfortable. The topic starter writes, “I just noticed the pioneer woman is ALWAYS smiling She literally is constantly smiling when she speaks, when she’s not talking, there is always a smile on her face and now I can never watch the damn show again because it’s all I can pay attention to you.”

One fan was even more blunt, writing that Pioneer Woman and the similarly themed Girl Meets Farm “are the kinds of shows they play in Hell.”

More than one fan said the show was just too over-the-top happy, and whether Drummond means it or not, she strikes some viewers as insincere. 

Still, not everybody hates The Pioneer Woman, which has pleased enough people to last 15 seasons and 180 episodes. Some fans think she’s made lemons out of lemonade with the pandemic, and they find her quarantine shows charming, harkening back to the charm of earlier seasons, which seemed more genuine and less forced. 

One person said: “I’m really liking her home shooting with her kids. She seems more silly and quirky. I need the distraction from all the meanness going in.” 

‘Food Network’ ratings have increased amid the pandemic 

Like The Pioneer Woman, its host network has benefited from so many people being stuck at home as they try to avoid Covid-19.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter how the ratings are, executive Kathleen Finch said, “The uptick is very, very significant. I would say the whole trend is that people are watching a lot of our networks, especially in daytime. Daytime numbers have, in some cases, doubled — often as high as our primetime numbers.” 

As for The Food Network specifically, Finch said, “Everyone is at home cooking. Where are you going to go for information? You’re going to go to the Food Network. The talent in that community is doing a service. They really want to help people.”