Just recently I wrote about reality shows. Over the weekend I was introduced to Duck Dynasty. I kid you not. On A&E. Self-professed rednecks from Louisiana who have become multimillionaires by selling duck calls. . .and assorted paraphernalia related to the show.
Duck Commander is a family-owned business. There is sibling rivalry, conflict between generations, and some actual hunting. It would not be my first choice for any kind of television watching, but I was fascinated. And not just because each episode ends with the entire family around a big ol' table praying before dinner. And not just because the patriarch is a Bible believin', Bible preachin' man. And not just because Si (short for Silas) is one of the most intriguing characters on TV.
As I watched with my friends, I could not help but think about how some might react to this show and these people. Among the watchers was a down South boy who grew up hunting and knows his way around sundry hunting equipment. Like the men of the Duck Dynasty, he is educated. Yes, two of the brothers are college-educated. One is quite an impressive sales guy.
In some ways, the men of the Duck Dynasty know they are parodies of themselves. There are times what they say and do is just over the top. But one of the brothers seems to be the main cinematographer, so they maintain significant control over what is shown and how it is shown. Which tells me they are perfectly okay with making fun of rednecks, making fun of themselves.
In one episode, Miss Kay, the matriarch of the clan, was able to take over a local restaurant. She prepared the kind of food she's accustomed to cooking, though nothing too extreme for the citified folks. Still, there was someone at a table who announced they were pescatarians and that one of their group needed gluten-free food. The redneck boys mocked the pescatarians for their pretentiousness. Miss Kay fairly soon realized the restaurant business is harder than cooking for a house full of somewhat wild and bushy-faced men.
Papa Phil has serious disdain for Yuppies, which is just about anyone who cannot live in the woods and kill their own food. He is a smart guy. A bit scary. But the guy I'd like to be around when the lights go out.
I like this show. Mostly. I won't go out of my way to watch it, but Si cracks me up and I truly appreciate the self-awareness of the family. The other thing I appreciate is that they are who and what they are, and if you want to make fun of it, they probably already have. And hey! if you don't like who and what they are, they don't care. . .and they are armed, Jack!