Reality Bites: Duck Dynasty
Up until about 15 minutes before watching this show, I had almost no idea what Duck Dynasty was about. I half hoped it was nothing but 30 minutes of following the famous ducks of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. How they'd scamper and cavort to the delight of that venerable hotel's guests, as well as an appreciative TV audience.
Yeah, not so much. I'll give the folks of Duck Dynasty this: While they may embody some of the more...colorful Southern stereotypes, they don't fail to entertain. And of all the terrifying shows I've been subjected to since I started "Reality Bites," this and Full Metal Jousting are the only two I'd consider putting in regular viewing rotation.
Sorry, Ghost Adventures.
The Robertson family made a fortune on duck calls. That's really the only background you need. Duck Commander, formed in 1973, sells duck calls calibrated to sound like different waterfowl. I was mildly surprised to learn this would be enough to lift the Robertsons out of poverty, but when you're charging $130 for a "Mallard Green Acryclic," it adds up.
This rags-to-cleaner-rags story is quintessentially American. Where else but in the US of A could a family of hirsute outdoorsmen sell birdcalls to thousands of fellow firearm enthusiasts, giving said family the financial independence to shoot critters and blow shit up full time?
Willie, the second son of four (oldest son Alan left the family business to become a pastor), is CEO of Duck Commander. He's an easygoing and affable fellow, and I'd be willing to lay good money on the odds he's the only Chief Executive Officer in the Western hemisphere with a beard down to his chest.
The rest of the male family members make up the bulk of what passes for Duck Commander's executive board. Father Phil, the founder, needles his sons incessantly, but not without affection. His brother, Uncle SI ("You can't spell 'squirrel' without 'SI'") is another surprisingly laid-back sort, and both he and Phil are off-kilter in the way I suspect spending the bulk of one's life surrounded by swamp tends to make you. Two of Willie's younger brothers also share screen time. Jep doesn't talk much, which tends to happen with the youngest sibling, while second youngest Jase is an honestly funny dude. He's at his best when needling Willie for being, in essence, a "suit man" (re: frog hunting, both the boat driver and frog catcher must be accomplished sportsmen, "but the ice chest man can be any human being, so that was Willie's job").
And did I mention they're all hairy? [Seinfeld]What's the deal with all those beards?[/Seinfeld] Watching the DC production meeting is like being backstage at a My Morning Jacket show.*
The "production meeting" in the episode I watched ("Redneck Logic") was mercifully short. Hell, most meetings should end with the CEO's father coming in and telling them his brilliant plant to replace an old duck blind. In this case, with a refurbished RV hoisted into the trees in its place. Naturally, they have to get rid of the old blind first. With extreme prejudice.
Willie may not be a conventional Chief Executive Officer, but ask yourself this: Would you rather play a round of golf with the head of Wells Fargo while discussing whether or not Steve Forbes should get into the Presidential race in between throwing quarters at your non English-speaking caddy, or pack an old duck blind with dynamite and send it to hell (or the lumber equivalent thereof)? That's what I thought.
["Redneck logic" refers to the best way to take something away from a redneck, which is to blow it up so he'll be distracted from the loss by the pretty flames. I've lived in the South long enough not to laugh too much at this assertion.]