Review: MTV’s ‘The Busch Family Brewed’ falls flat

'The Busch Family Brewed' follows Billy Busch Sr. and his wife Christi, the former owners of Anheuser-Busch brewing company, and their family. (Photo via YouTube)

Nothing says “reality show perfection” like a rich family legacy. Throw some beer into the mix — a lot of it — and you’ve got The Busch Family Brewed, MTV’s bubbly new reality show.

The series follows Billy Busch Sr. and his wife Christi, the former owners of Anheuser-Busch brewing company, and their seven children. The family was known for producing Budweiser, the “king of beers,” until they lost their company to InBev in 2008. The series, which recently concluded its first season, follows the family’s efforts to get back into the industry with a new brewery. And of course, it gives a glimpse into the craziness of their daily lives, too.

The Busch Family Brewed is unlike many other MTV shows. Instead of life in a house filled with hot 20-somethings looking for love, it shows the dynamic of a real family. And clearly, this family is made for reality television.

Before InBev took over the corporation, the Busch family was St. Louis royalty. They were treasured for years, which allowed five generations of family scandals and tragedies to brew. The Busch Family Brewed shows how they handle the legacy drama and their everyday shenanigans.

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But the show progressed slowly through its first season. Each episode is about 20 minutes long but often felt like an hour. Despite seeming perfect on paper, the show would have been dry — without one key family member.

Gussie Busch is a loud son of a beer-brewing dynasty and the embodiment of bro culture. He could be the president of the Busch family fraternity. In his first introduction, he pours beer down his naked chest to prove he is in fact a “ladies’ man.” While he does occasionally take his persona a bit too far, he really is the main source of laughter throughout the season.

For example, later in the season, Gussie moves into his family’s farmhouse with his brother Billy Busch Jr. to get away from his parents. In an especially memorable moment, the two christen the home by funneling a beer from a second-story window. As a college student quarantined at home, sometimes, I wish I were Gussie.

The series relies on this unlikely hero to keep season one rolling. The other family members don’t have the same appeal — some of his sisters’ storylines barely go beyond their boyfriends. However, despite the fact that the Busch family is far from ordinary, the series does not set them apart from other outrageous television families. Instead, it drags out petty drama for several episodes, the same way less successful MTV shows do.

MTV is known for making “families” — bringing strangers together and allowing them to ultimately form a strong bond after living and fighting with each other for months. But even those manufactured groups feel more genuine than the Busch family. In the past, MTV has done a better job of faking drama.

The Busch family’s authenticity is found in their messes. Despite their fame, their lives are still complicated in a way that still feels more relatable than the Kardashians. They are entertaining, but not enough to warrant a second season. Gussie, you will be missed.

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