Reba has to deal with her divorce from a cheating husband, the new (pregnant) wife he left her for, her oldest daughter's teenage pregnancy and hasty marriage, and being a newly single parent to three kids, all the while cracking numerous jokes at the ex's new wife. Despite its slapstick premise, the show exhibited a surprising amount of genuinely touching emotion.
Ignoring your own partiality (or lack thereof) to country music/culture, the show was popular enough to stay on the air for six seasons, even surviving the destruction of the network that originally aired it.
- Aborted Arc: Part of the first season involved the Harts going to court-ordered therapy after a knock-down drag-out fight at divorce court. This all but disappeared after the first season, until much later in the show's run (the fifth season).
- Absentee Actor / Written in Infirmity: Kyra was nowhere to be seen for the last half of season five thanks to Scarlett Pomers' anorexia battle.
- Lampshaded when she returned:
Reba: Where were you?
Kyra: I went to get something to eat.
- And then hinted at once more:
Van: Where are you going?
Kyra: Just going to get something to eat.
Van: OK, see you next year.
- Actor Allusion: in the series finale, Reba grumps, "Why couldn't I be Dolly Parton??" Reba McEntire, of course, is one of Country Music's biggest stars and is also an actress - exactly like Dolly Parton.
- An even bigger one: "I always thought I'd be a singer." Hi there, Queen of Country...
- Yet another example:
Jake: Wouldn't it be cool to be on TV?
Reba: Nah. I think it would be cool to be a singer.
- Reba's statement towards the minor character played by Kelly Clarkson: "If she goes on TV, America's going to love her." Just about anyone who knows how the first season of American Idol ended would understand the humor from that sentence.
- American Accents: Reba's trademark Oklahoma drawl, naturally.
- Amicably Divorced: Reba and Brock slowly settle into this.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Barbra Jean's account of a private investigator she hired to tail Brock during their separation: "He followed you everywhere you went: to your dental office, to the golf course... to that tanning salon you say you don't go to", much to Brock's embarrassment.
- Also, Reba about Kyra's boyfriend's parents:
Reba: They could be drunks, or convicts, or telemarketers for all I know!
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Van and Cheyenne. They argue often, but there's no question about the authenticity of their love. One episode during Season 5 has each of them two taking turns complaining about the other in a therapist's office, embracing each other when they finish, and then getting told off for arguing soon after (in the waiting area of said therapist's office and at the parking lot outside).
- Berserk Button: Played for laughs, it's not so much "berserk" as "reacting strongly" in this case: In one episode Reba and Van see a therapist,
DaveDavid. It's "David", not "Dave"!
- Blind Mistake: Reba does this in one episode, during which she tries to take care of herself while still recovering from an eye surgery ("tries" being the operative word here, as drinking water out of a potted plant and spreading peanut butter on a sponge doesn't count as proof of the ability to successfully take care of oneself), with Barbra Jean attempting to help Reba without Reba knowing.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Cheyenne (blond), Jake (brunette), and Kyra (redhead).
- Bow Chicka Wow Wow: Spoken as "bow chicka bow bow" as substitute for "sex", but the message still applies.
- Brain Bleach: After the school charity auction held by Reba and Barbra Jean turns out to be a big hit, Brock mentions that tradition dictates a celebration party must be held to commemorate the sponsors, where Reba is obligated to congratulate Barbra Jean and vice versa. Reba tells Brock there's nothing she'd rather do, but waits till Brock leaves before whispering to herself: "Pencil in the eye, that's what I'd rather do."
- Seeing Reba and a man kiss each other had this effect on Jake ("Ah! My eyes!"), though he saw it happen only once.
- Butt Monkey / Chew Toy: Brock, Van, and Barbra Jean.
- Brick Joke: "...I got my gum back."
- Catch Phrase: "Crap" gets stated when a character is forced to acknowledge and accept unpleasant truth. Reba uses it most often, but Brock, Van, Cheyenne, and Barbra Jean each have also used it at least once.
- Barbra Jean has one, though it only happens in one episode: "Yoo hoo! I'm here! And I'm thin!"
- Catchphrase Interruptus: Barbra Jean's announcement upon her entry (though this lasts only one episode) gets cut off by Reba once:
Barbra Jean: Yoo hoo! I'm here! And I'm --
Reba: Oh, shut up and grab a doughnut!
- The Cast Showoff: Surprisingly averted for a sitcom based around one of country music's most famous stars - Reba did sing, but it was rarely a big production. (On the other hand, she did sing the theme song and some of the soundtrack.)
- Celebrity Star / Stunt Casting: Done twice: once with Dolly Parton and the other time with Kelly Clarkson. Both also appear as special guests.
- Christmas Episode: During the second season.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Barbra Jean most definitely, and Van occasionally as well.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In one episode where Barbra Jean goes on a diet. One example involves her making a comment about Jake: "When he runs, he kind of looks like a little chicken, don't you think?"
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Barbra Jean is usually good at cooking, but she falls into this in one episode where she bakes a sugar-free bran cake with cottage cheese as frosting. Van's reaction is: "Do you know what would go well with the cake? A big cup of dirt." Barbra Jean isn't pleased by the comment.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Jake once gripes to Cheyenne about having Kyra as babysitter because Kyra makes him watch "The Wiggles" with his niece. Kyra, standing right behind Jake, replies: "Keep complaining. I got Barney tapes here."
- After Reba wrecks Rhonda, Van gets back at her by calling Barbra Jean to tell her of Reba's temporary blind condition, knowing full well that she would rush to Reba's aid despite Reba's dislike of having Barbra Jean around.
- Cool Car: Van's car Rhonda.
- Cough-Snark-Cough: Van does it once to Cheyenne by saying "* cough* baloney!", leading to an argument betwixt them.
- Cut Himself Shaving: Brock claims this trope regarding a suspicious injury near his right ear in an episode in which Barbra Jean's dog goes missing. It turns out the dog bit him, but he insists he never hurt the dog and is soon cleared of the charge.
- The Cutie: BJ.
- The Danza: Reba McEntire as Reba Hart.
- Deadpan Snarker: Reba and Kyra.
- Death Glare: It is absolutely phenomenal what Reba can convey with merely a quirk of her eyebrow. Mostly "I hate your living guts." Barbra Jean has her moments as well -- see the Cordon Bleugh Chef entry above for one such example.
- The Ditz: Cheyenne, Van, and Barbara Jean.
- Dramatic Pause: Several times throughout the series. Example include Jake's opinion to Van's poem dedicated to Rhonda: "It's great... to a second grader.", as well as Cheyenne's announcement of her homemade meal: "Dinner will be ready in 10 minutes... just as soon as the meat stops boiling."
- Dreadful Musician: Cheyenne (Reba remarks, after hearing Cheyenne's singing: "No wonder Elizabeth used to cry after Cheyenne sang to her.") and Jake (in the Christmas Episode, Reba convinces Jake to sing loudly knowing Brock and Barbra Jean, who would take Jake to go Christmas caroling with them, would suffer from his singing).
- Dream Sequence: Both the second and sixth seasons start with one of these.
- Drop-In Character: Brock and Barbra Jean, especially once they purchase a house around the corner to Reba. One episode even has Barbra Jean open the locked back door to let herself in after Reba tries to avoid her by locking the doors and hiding!
- Dumb Blonde: Cheyenne and Barbara Jean.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first season was noticeably different from the rest of the series. Van was more dumb than crazy. Barbara Jean was also a huge Jesus Freak, alongside her other neuroses. Cheyenne was more Libby than Ditz. Brock wasn't nearly as vain. Reba was much more the Only Sane Man instead of a control freak. Also, the fact that the show took place in Houston was a much bigger plot point, as the Hart family tried to navigate through Cheyenne's pregnancy around ultra-conservative neighbors, school principals, etc. Much like Married... With Children, the show kind of Flanderized into more of a live-action cartoon, and was funnier for it.
- Embarrassing Middle Name / Punny Name: Brock Enrol Hart.
- Expy: A snarky couple with three children: A ditzy blonde who married a doofus, a snarky middle child who seems to be the only verbal equal to the snarky matriarch, and a young son who everyone seems to forget about. It's not an exact expy of Roseanne, but it seemed to be a case of what might have happened should Roseanne and Dan get divorced.
- Fiery Redhead: Reba and Kyra.
- 555: 555-0165, the number for one of Kyra's one-time boyfriends.
- Foreshadowing: In one episode, Reba tells Brock of her worry that Kyra might ask to move in with him and Barbra Jean out of frustration of her not letting Kyra getting her way. A season or two later Kyra does tell Brock of her desire to move in with him and Barbra Jean, though not quite for the precise reason mentioned by Reba.
- Full Name Ultimatum: "Kyra Eleanor Hart, out!"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Saying "a-double-s" instead of "ass" and substituting "bitch" with "the b-word".
- Gilligan Cut: Van temporarily becomes a driver in a pizza joint in order to save up enough money to buy a car. Having no vehicle of his own, he requests Reba to drive him for deliveries. Reba refuses and refuses... and cut to the next scene where she drives him for deliveries, much to her chagrin.
- In an earlier episode, Brock begs her to come with him to help him spread his father's ashes on a golf course. She declares, "Uh-uh! Those puppy-dog eyes aren't gonna work on me anymore!" Cut to the golf course, where she stands next to him holding a rake.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Cheyenne and Kyra.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Reba didn't do this at first, resulting Barbra Jean, who was present at the time, to try to "correct" Reba toward this. In latter seasons Reba is actually doing this rather involuntarily.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Reba. Reba, Reba, Reba.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: A mild example: Brock, in a Flash Back scene, sported a long mustache prior to his marriage with Reba. In a separate episode, Van, Brock, and Cheyenne turn up in a future scene (six decades or so into the future), in which this trope is played straight with Van (balding) and Brock (completely bald with a wig on top) but subverted in Cheyenne's case (she still has her hair, just not blonde any longer).
- Halloween Episode: The one time Reba wants her offspring to pull pranks.
- Helium Speech: Brock talks this way when he happens to be in charge of balloons for a party Cheyenne throws for Kyra.
- Homage: At the end of the episode with the character played by Kelly Clarkson, said character is demonstrating her knowledge about weather forecasting to Barbra Jean (who acts like a host) while Brock, Cheyenne, and Van act as a panel of judges. Does this depiction ring a bell?
- Hot Mom: Reba; Cheyenne after giving birth to Elizabeth.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Barbra Jean claims to be an excellent parent, count on her to have or make some parenting mistake for Reba to call her out on next (for example, if Henry isn't present, Reba would ask "Where's Henry?" and Barbra Jean would realize she left him alone at home and rush back to him).
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Second season on.
- Important Haircut: Played with. Van gets one once in an effort to blend in with his football teammates. Too bad for him it turns out to be a trick from his teammates.
- Lethal Chef: Cheyenne.
- Lipstick Lesbian: a minor character appears as such.
- Loose Lips: Barbra Jean.
- Mistaken for Gay: This happens in one episode with Brock and Van, during which another person mistakenly perceives them as a gay couple. And Reba herself gets stuck with this trope in a different episode. In yet another episode Van assumes a minor character is gay who then gets offended and declares he thought Van was gay. Phew.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Kyra. The statement she gave to Brock below could serve as proof of how painfully aware she is of being left out.
Kyra: In mom's family, it goes Elizabeth, Jake, Van, Cheyenne, and then me. When Jake got a turtle, I moved down 1 spot.
- My Friends and Zoidberg: Brock, upon walking into Cheyenne's baby shower: "Look at all these beautiful women. (Looks at Lori Ann) You must be security." Lori Ann retorted in return with: "I thought we agreed not to hire a clown." In a separate episode, Reba walks into the kitchen, sees Cheyenne, Van, and Barbra Jean, and says: "Hello, loved ones. Barbra Jean."
- Noodle Incident: Lori Ann and Brock's brief relationship with each other. Brock never bothers to mention it, and Lori Ann...
Lori Ann, when Reba touches upon their dating: Must we bring up all our past sins?
- And then there's this exchange between Reba and Jake when both are at the front porch talking about Reba "going out":
Jake: Mom, am I going to have a new daddy?
Reba: Jake, can you keep a secret?
Jake: Sure, what is it?
Reba: I'm not even seeing anybody. I just pretended to go out on dates to get away from the loony bin.
Jake: I hear ya. Dad and I didn't really join the scouts.
Reba: So what have you two been doing all these Saturday afternoons?
Jake: Hey, are we keeping secrets or not? (walks into the house)
- Ask Cheyenne about her experience in competing for Homecoming Queen, and all you'd get to hear would be "I was robbed!!" for your trouble.
- No Sparks: In one episode, Reba is trying to get back into the dating game and goes out with her old college boyfriend. She enjoys the date up until the goodbye kiss, in which she feels nothing. This causes her to remember why she left him for Brock.
- Only in It For the Money:
Reba, after watching a recorded clip of Barbra Jean with her dog: I feel bad for the poor sap who had to tape through all of this.
Kyra: Eighty bucks is eighty bucks.
- Playing Sick: Both Kyra and Jake try to do this once, and this trick fails for them both.
- Poor Predictable Rock: Van's "system" when he plays Rock-Paper-Scissors.
- Put on a Bus: Lori Ann (Reba's friend) and Eugene (a rival dentist to Brock).
- Reality Subtext: Melissa Peterman's weight loss and Scarlett Pomers' eating disorder are both written into the script.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The theme song was a partial rewrite of Reba's 2002 single "I'm a Survivor."
- Really Gets Around: Barbra Jean, before her affair with Brock resulted in pregnancy and marriage.
Lori Ann, upon learning of Barbra Jean's past: The woman's a tooth tart!
- Running Gag: "Have I told you you're my favorite?"
- Screaming Birth: How 'bout two of 'em?
- Screwed by the Network:
- Reba was the highest rated show on the WB, but when it merged with UPN to form CW, they were going for a different demographic, and it wasn't sure if the show would make it through the merge. Due to financial penalties (see Uncancelled below), The CW ordered 13 episodes for a sixth season.
- Despite a promising performance in its sixth season (the show was the highest rated sitcom on the new network and increased the ratings from the shows previously slotted there), the show was cancelled since it was felt that it didn't hit the right demographics.
- And such moves seemed to have not gone unnoticed, if the following exchange was of any indication:
Van: If you take away loyalty and ethics from business, do you know what you got?
Reba: Television network?
- Shower of Awkward: Poor Reba goes through this once when she accidentally walks into Brock taking a shower -- which doesn't help her to relax, as her next sentence makes clear: "What is that orange manatee doing in my shower?!"
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: both Lori Ann and Eugene are this towards Brock.
- Standardized Sitcom Housing: Twice around: Barbara Jean and Brock's house is a mirror to Reba's.
- Slasher Smile: Van's "winning smile" is incredibly creepy, and he's completely oblivious to that fact.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Reba's default expression.
- Teen Pregnancy: This happened to Cheyenne shortly prior to the series' start.
- Thanksgiving Episode: Two episodes are related to this holiday.
- Theme Tune Cameo: We catch Barbra Jean singing the eponymous chorus line of "I'm a Survivor."
- Theme Tune Title Drop: The last line of the series is "Cause we're survivors."
- There's more. During the fifth season finale, Reba is faced with the prospect of a surgery. Van consoles the worried Cheyenne with: "She'll be all right. She's a survivor."
- This Is Reality: Lampshaded by Van in one episode ("That speech Cheyenne gave was great, but we don't live in a speech. We live in Houston.") and Brock in another ("We don't live in a utopia. We live in suburbia, where life is cheap!").
- Uncanceled: The show was effectively (though not officially) cancelled after its 5th season upon the merger of UPN and The WB into The CW. However, finances saved the show - The WB had renewed the show for two seasons the previous year, and the new network would be on the hook to the producers if a sixth season was not ordered.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Reba and B.J. Poor B.J. tries so hard...
- And when Reba actually refrains from insulting Barbra Jean, she takes offense, and mentions how, as "The Other Woman," she's always victim to gossiping and false friendliness from everyone else, and prefers Reba's rather harsh (but honest) jokes and teasing instead of the false sincerity from everyone else.
- Volleying Insults: This is how Brock and Lori Ann communicate with each other. The My Friends and Zoidberg entry, listed above, has one such example.
- What Happened To The Dog: Broq, a small dog Barbra Jean adopts, shows up in several episodes, only to become a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
- Why Waste a Wedding?: Subverted. Brock and Barbara Jean decide to renew their vows at Cheyenne and Van's vow renewal to stall for time while said young couple is having a fight (and then Brock quickly tries to backpedal when Van mentions splitting the cost with them,) but an extremely stressed Reba faints from high blood pressure before that happens.
- You Look Familiar: The minor character who was Mistaken for Gay by Van and a sales clerk in a jewelry store are played by the same guy.
- This may have been intentional. In the episode "For Sale, Cheap," where Van mistakes the man (Terry) for being gay (and vice-versa), Terry explains that he runs a jewelery store along with his wife and another business partner. In fact, his previous reference to him as his "partner" is one of the reasons why he was Mistaken for Gay in the first place.