Netflix, Meet Your Next Cash Cow: Colony Ridge

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File

Floribama Shore, Tiger King, and The Bachelor have nothing on America’s next reality TV smash hit: Colony Ridge. Netflix executives, you’d do well to get on this opportunity now before TLC beats you to it.

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Let me set the stage for you: Two Texas brothers buy a bunch of land and sell the Colony Ridge plots to people without credit, social security numbers, money for a down payment, or the ability to afford a mortgage with 15% interest. The unincorporated settlement brings everyone from Pentecostals to meth dealers, giving a neighboring Plum Grove Karen an excuse to Karen-out. But, wait, it gets better because Texas elected officials take sides! It’s the most politically incorrect love triangle since Bert, Ernie, and the Rubber Duckie.

FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2001 file photo, original muppet characters Bert, left, and Ernie, from the children's program

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to the Texas delegation of Congress today that contains “the Office of the Attorney General’s findings and analysis” of a Colony Ridge investigation. Texas taxpayers, congratulations on financing an inquiry on a subdivision. Colony Ridge is a real unincorporated settlement 40 miles north of Houston that, per Paxton’s office “has drawn far too many people and enabled far too much chaos for the current arrangement to be tolerated by the state.”

That’s some scary language, isn’t it? For as much as Texas boasts about its growth and prosperity, you’d think the Land of Milk and Honey stretches from the Red River to the Rio Grande. It turns out, the Come and Take It Freedom™ is only available to certain types of people.

Lee Ann Penton-Walker of neighboring Plum Grove has made it her personal mission to not only destroy Colony Ridge but also any thought that she is a sane and reasonable person.

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I do not like illegals in any form. I don’t like illegal Albanians. I don’t like illegal Israelis. I don’t like illegal Canadians. I don’t like illegal Mexicans. I don’t like illegal Croatians. I don’t like illegal El Salvadorians. I. Don’t. Like. Illegals. That’s it.

That’s it, as it were. That is the quote she gave to Forrest Wilder at Texas Monthly. Penton-Walker ran for Plum Grove City Council in 2015, and the little town of 1,600 people voted her in because why not? In fact, why stop there? Why not make Penton-Walker mayor? In 2017, they did. Who do you think could pull off this role? I vote for Amy Poehler.

We’re never going to allow school bonds. I’m not building infrastructure for people I intend on returning home.

What do you think that campaign was like? “Gee, sorry, kids. We can’t renovate your elementary school because, well, we wouldn’t want any illegals in it, now would we? Now, go drink your Ovaltine, sport.” Yikes.

Anyway, one of Penton-Walker’s first acts as mayor was to sue the Colony Ridge developers for failing to properly drain their properties, which resulted in sewage going into area creeks and waterways. Her second act was to authorize an investigative reporter to find dirt on Colony Ridge; when the reporter couldn’t find any dirt, he just made some up in the form of videos wherein Colony Ridge authorities and representatives called the reporter some names.

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Over the course of three years as mayor, Penton-Walker caused enough of a hassle that Colony Ridge sued her and the Plum Grove City Council for harassment. Colony Ridge lost. Can we get James Van Der Beek as Jonathan Moxon cast for the role of judge? It would make for a great Season One Finale, with the bad guys winning and viewers wondering who would win in the end.

Season Two would focus on Colony Ridge itself, now a peaceful mosaic of mobile homes, corrugated metal buildings, and McMansions. Local hero Cynthia Silva (played by Lana Parrilla, of course) is Colony Ridge’s goodwill ambassador, bringing new neighbors plates of cookies and organizing community events.

She loves Jesus, her kids and Puerto Rican abuelos, and Donald Trump. She went so far as to establish a GOP club in Colony Ridge. “I’m just so confused,” she said to Texas Monthly, “I feel so let down by the Republican Party. I don’t even know what I am anymore. How can you say that this country was founded on God and on the principles of Christianity, but not love your neighbor no matter what his papers are?”

Trump Border
Brandon Bell/Pool via AP

Cynthia, we’re all confused. Also, did you know Trump and MAGA are not in favor of letting your neighbors stay because of what his papers are aren’t? Not only did Trump-era immigration judges hear more cases, but they also deported higher ratios of those cases. Texas had a law against sanctuary cities in 2017, requiring state and local law enforcement to comply with detainer requests and federal immigration laws or face fines of up to $25,500 per day.

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While not everyone wears disdain on their sleeve the way Penton-Walker does, they have found ways to sabotage Colony Ridge:

  • Rumors of cartel activity, drug and gun running, human trafficking
  • Tying increases in illegal border crossings to increased populations in Colony Ridge
  • Whispers of Santeria ritual cleansings and animal sacrifices
  • Allege there are “No-Go Zones” so dangerous law enforcement won’t enter.

While all of these things may be happening, it’s circumstantial at best. Colony Ridge has three officers on shift at a time, which is not enough, but show me a city that is full-staffed with cops, and they claim they go absolutely everywhere. Liberty County Chief Deputy Billy Knox told The Texan that Colony Ridge has cartel members, along with Bandido motorcycle gang members and Aryan Brotherhood members “just like anywhere else in Harris County [Houston] or elsewhere.”

Interestingly, a cartel member has not been arrested in Colony Ridge since 2021. Can y’all imagine spin-off vignette episodes in this series? Because I can. Maybe the elotes guy can go undercover and infiltrate the Aryan Circle, charming them with his street food — I am positive it’s that good. In fact, that’s where Season Two ends, with a Santeria amulet and covert corn operation.

The final season (maybe?) of Netflix’s Colony Ridge will center on the State of Texas wandering around in its self-created quagmire of immigration policy. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (can someone get David Morse‘s number? Thx) and a smattering of other lawmakers have taken helicopter tours of Colony Ridge. They survey the size, living conditions, traffic patterns, piles of trash and skid steers, and stray dogs. Attorney General Ken Paxton launches a formal investigation that results in a four-page report, wherein the primary complaint is there is not enough government in Colony Ridge — a little ironic for a party with a “small government” platform. Granted, Paxton is a Republican, not a Libertarian.

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Texas legislators are in the throes of another special session, this time with Gov. Greg Abbott placing Colony Ridge on the docket. Who knows how it will all end, but it’s quite the drama that I would most assuredly binge episodes of again and again. Look at it this way, Netflix, it can’t be your biggest flop — that’s reserved for these two.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File

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