Late to the Game
I was not an early adopter of Duck Dynasty.
Honestly, until very recently, I had just assumed the show was a weird Cartoon Network show about a duck king that my students liked. As it turns out, it is not on cartoon network, nor is it a cartoon, nor is it about a duck king. Due to my great misunderstanding about the show, I dodged all recommendations to check it out. A group of our students essentially forced us to start watching the show (they have great influence on our lives).
As soon as we started watching, we were instantly hooked.
If you aren’t familiar with the show (and think it’s a cartoon like I did), Duck Dynasty is a reality show about the Robertson family in the deep south. The patriarch of the family invented a type of duck call decades ago and, when one of his sons took over the business side of selling duck calls, they became very successful. The show tracks the daily lives of a family of Louisiana rednecks running a multi-million dollar business.
While I do find the show very funny, the most fascinating thing to me is how the show runs in absolute contrast to everything else on television. It isn’t politically correct (they seem to be proudly politically incorrect). It doesn’t use sex to sell. There’s no on-going drama in the family. They end every single episode with a family sitting down together for dinner and saying a prayer. The show is actually family friendly, and pro-family. As it turns out, you don’t have to use sex to be funny and popular.
The biggest controversy behind the scenes of the show has related to the family becoming frustrated with the editors of the show for adding bleeps (suggesting the family used profanity when they didn’t) and trying to remove the prayers from the end of the episodes.
If you have ever seen, read, or heard an interview with any member of the family, the thing that jumps out is the authenticity of their Christian faith. This is a family of devout Christians with a deep understanding of their faith. While the show portrays them as simple rednecks, any interview with them gives a very different perspective. Without skipping a beat, they reference and quote scripture, and not Bible 101 verses.
A member of my church recently went to an event were Jase Robertson (the oldest son on the show) was speaking. This was an entirely secular business event. They asked him to speak because of his fame due to the show. Instead of giving a typical business speech, he essentially gave a gospel presentation, and explained how faith is the most important thing to their family.
Much like how this family sticks out amongst their millionaire peers (which certainly drew the producers attention), the show itself is an absolutely anomaly on TV.