Saturday, December 21, 2013

Not Quite What They Expected.....From Us Or Them

Duck Dynasty is not the show that A&E wanted,
it is the show that got away from them.

In a sense Duck Dynasty is a modern day Beverly Hillbillies. Those Hillbillies had lots of money too, a love of family, and exotic tastes in food – eating possum and gizzards and all sorts of things that we regularly see the Ducks cooking – such as squirrel and frogs. The Hillbillies series started out mocking the family that called their luxury swimming pool a “cement pond” and outsmarted by simple technologies such as phones. America however wound up falling in love with the Beverly Hillbillies and especially with the tough and zany Granny. Soon enough the joke backfired as the series converted the mockers into fans and the jokes increasingly came at the expense of the city slickers.

Duck Dynasty has Beverly Hillbillies backfire written all over it:

"It seems what the producers intended and what A&E envisioned with the show is much different than the show that they ended up with, but they didn't do anything about it because it was so wildly popular and so wildly profitable. But even with all the money, they have never really been comfortable with what happened.
 The whole idea of the show was to parade these nouveau riche Christian hillbillies around so that we could laugh at them. "Look at them," we were supposed to say. "Look how backward they are! Look what they believe! Can you believe they really live this way and believe this stuff? See how they don't fit in? HAHAHA"  
 When the producers saw the way the show was shaping up, different than they envisioned it, they tried to change course. They tried to get the Robertson's to tone down their Christianity, but to their eternal credit they refused. They tried to add fake cussin' to the show by inserting bleeps where no cussword was uttered. At best, they wanted to make the Robertson's look like crass buffoons. At worst they wanted them to look like hypocrites.
 They desperately wanted us to laugh at the Robertsons. Instead, we loved them."

Watching Phil Robertson shoot, disembowel and skin  various animals then watch Mrs. Kay cook clearly discernible squirrels and ducks and otherwise engage in a cuisine that is foreign to us is part of the Ducks “charm”. You don’t have to enjoy the cooking to appreciate the lifestyle and love the Robertsons enjoy. You don’t have to agree with the religious opinions or even like all the cast members to enjoy the company of the Duck Dynasty crew and family.

As with the Beverly Hillbillies the Duck Dynasty is all about family. This family has had trial by fire. The patriarch Phil was a drunk and all around nogoodnik who abandoned his family and caused all sorts of trouble for himself and those that loved him. Eventually Phil, because of the love and persistence of his wife, corrected course. Today, it is clear that the family not only loves but respects Phil.

When a lizard escapes in the company warehouse, it is Phil that is called. When business pressures build up after a large order that cannot be fulfilled due to lack of workers it is Kay that comes though by organizing family and friends to the rescue. At every turn, in every situation, the parents are looked up to and respected. It is something shocking to see because that is a long gone narrative on American TV.

American TV today tells only one story when it comes to family: the kids are smart and the parents are idiots. That story is told in every entertainment show, movies (ever see Home Alone?), and commercials. The parents are dopes unable to function without the wise guiding hands of the children.

And that notion even reached into 2008 presidential politics, as Barack Obama’s campaign organized the young to lecture their elders on the wisdom of electing Barack Obama.