She’s an uber-organized, perfectly groomed, and glammed mother with strict ideals on her family’s behavior. With a long history in the pageant arena, including several top crowns to her credit, in Allison’s mind, presentation is everything. He’s unpredictable, not regimented, and known for making even the most severe topic absolutely hysterical. Everyone who’s ever worked or socialized with Jay is aware that his quick-witted, honest humor defines his personality, and he’s loved for it. He’s experienced every type of accolade during his music career with Rascal Flatts and is an astounding performance artist. But when he’s home, it’s all about being the fun (and funny) dad—and that’s where things get interesting.
The couple’s popular Netflix series, The DeMarcus Family Rules, has been the center of many dinner table conversations within (and outside of) the music industry household. In a fresh but utterly believable way, Allison and Jay show the struggles of what happens when a touring artist comes off the road for any long stretch. It’s an adjustment that all of us in that type of relationship understand well and have become beyond familiar with during the long months of quarantine. They may have filmed the initial season prior to lockdown, but the timing couldn’t be better for audiences to be able to stream something that brings laughter to the situation that’s so relatable to life in the new normal.
If you haven’t put this on your watch list, it’s something you’ll want to plan on absorbing in full during any holiday and winter downtime. Something I learned during chats with the couple (full disclosure—they are longtime personal friends) is that with Netflix, the ratings not only have to do with international popularity with viewership but count on the audience absorbing every single episode. We knew the streaming giant wanted us to binge-watch. It turns out that continuing seasons depend on it, along with capturing viewers in countries across the globe. From a time investment and business venture perspective, this is quite a challenge. Jay says that it’s much easier on a cable network where ratings are measured within the US, which is the target audience for this type of material without a doubt.
The show has gotten all kinds of kudos and comments from fans and even critics reluctant to admit that they really like it. It’s like a well-written scripted sit-com with believable characters who’re great on camera. Jay and Allison are both used to dazzling audiences, so it’s their children who come out as surprisingly impressive on the show. That is especially true for their son Dylan who says things that are so funny it’s hard to believe he came up with it on his own. Jay says the crew has been in stitches laughing over the oddball things he says, and Allison tells me that they have to cut much of it because he says something that just shouldn’t be for public view. The couple shares that they’ve been asked if the more ‘questionable’ statements the boy makes are scripted—and the answer is ‘there’s no way we could or would write this stuff.” He’s just a little funny man, taking after his father- but in my opinion, his irreverence absolutely makes the show.
It’s also a good distraction for the family to have when the entertainment industry is so quiet. Pre-pandemic Rascal Flatts had announced that 2020 was their 20th anniversary together and their last year as a touring and recording band, planning to end it on a high note. Clearly, that 2020 celebration tour didn’t happen with the state of the world, and that’s impacted their household and thousands of others in Nashville. “I’m about three months away from working at Starbucks,” Jays says as a UPS man brings stacks of boxes to their front door. He’s making a joke about Allison’s spending but with a serious follow up discussing the effects of lost revenue from lost performances. “I know a number of incredibly talented session players who’ve been on every famous album out there that are at the level of needing assistance from food banks. It’s that serious,” he tells me, shaking his head. That also extends to all of the people working behind the scenes, handling equipment for tours, and struggling to make it as new artists. While the virus and economic state are one of concern and sadness, the DeMarcus’ stay focused on being positive and having fun, solving daily problems and arguments as best they can with a dose of humor guaranteed. It’s comic relief in its best form and so worth watching, probably more than once.