Serenity, South Carolina is the home of the Sweet Magnolias, Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen, life-long friends with big dreams. Fans of the books by No.1 New York Times bestselling author, Sherryl Woods are binging the first season that premiered on Netflix yesterday, but alas, I had to work. Of course, I did manage to squeeze in the first episode as I ate dinner last night, so here’s what went down.
The episode begins with Maddie, divorced, and dealing with her ex-husband Bill, and the terrible news that assets must be split so she has to sell the house that she and her children call home. First of all, I have to address the fact that Bill is played by actor Chris Klein. Yes, Chris Klein of the American Pie movies! Chris Klein who is now freaking 41, which shocked the bejesus out of me!
Maddie tells Bill what he can do with his assets, too nicely if you ask me and storms out. Her lawyer Helen gives chase and we discover she’s one of Maddie’s best friends, and has her back no matter what. Helen jokes about getting Bill’s head on a silver platter, and I’m cheering for her to do so. Preach it, sister!
We now meet the kids, well three of them anyway – the much younger fourth materialises later in the show. These kids are clearly good friends, though there’s a hint of unrequited love. The two boys, Tyler and Kyle, are Maddie’s kids, and are pretty normal, except for the obvious angst that comes with being children of recently divorced parents. Annie is the other kid and is the daughter of Dana Sue.
We now get to see the Sweet Magnolias together in the one room – the restaurant that Dana Sue owns – and Dana Sue already has cocktails poured before Maddie and Helen walk through the door. I love Dana Sue already – bubbly, curvaceous, and with a southern twang – I wish she was my best friend!
But after her spat with Bill, Maddie’s in no mood to par-tay, especially when Helen divulges she bought this big ol’ house that she and Dana Sue plan to turn into a spa retreat. They want Maddie to manage it, but the only thing she can manage right then is a blunt refusal and a walk out.
Introducing Everyone Else
We’re presented with a multitude of side stories that will undoubtedly unfold as the show progresses, and provide the necessary drama to keep us watching. In a nutshell, but in no particular order, we learn:
- Maddie has something against bedding and mugs.
- A drunk and thieving chef is fired by Dana Sue and he doesn’t take to unemployment nicely.
- Bill is a doctor and his nurse is the other woman who is pregnant with Bill’s child.
- A silver-lining of divorce means extra wardrobe space.
- Some old folks are quibbling over property.
- Tyler can’t play baseball like he could before his parents split up.
- The McHottie McBaseball coach is the obvious love interest for Maddie.
- Annie is a wannabe photographer who hates the town.
- It gets really awkward when the other woman comes to pick the kids up instead of their father.
- Maddie has a mother who is utterly fabulous.
- One of those old folks is now quibbling with his wife over property.
- The Sweet Magnolias love margaritas, and are running out of happy thoughts and duct tape.
- Up to no good townsfolk are up to no good.
- At Helen’s prodding, Bill gives the house to Maddie.
- Apparently, Maddie makes terrific Chicken parm.
Episode 1 ends with the Sweet Magnolias meeting at the big ol’ house that Helen and Dana Sue want to turn into a spa retreat. The big ol’ house is actually huge, and looks like it came right out from the pages of Gone With The Wind! Thankfully, Maddie gives a damn, though, and looks like she’s going to say yes to her friends as she walks up the path to Helen and Dana Sue.