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How to Fix “Duck Dynasty”

December 4, 2012

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I’ve recently gotten hooked on A&E’s TV show Duck Dynasty. The show chronicles the daily lives of the Robertson family of Louisiana, famous for their duck call. This duck call revolutionized duck hunting and has turned into a multimillion dollar business owned and operated by the Robertsons. Having watched most of the first two seasons, the novelty of the show is starting to wear off and its flaws are starting to become apparent to me.

First of all, the show seems painfully scripted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type that’s naive enough to believe that any reality TV show is truly reality, but in my opinion, this is a show that doesn’t need to be. Its obvious that all of the wacky hijinks that the Robertson clan gets into couldn’t just happen to occur while the cameras were in the Duck Commander warehouse. Rather, I think the show plots must come from past occurrences that are passed around the family as Robertson legend, and were simply recreated for the show.

While that is hardly a cardinal sin in television these days, it leads me to my second complaint. The scripting severely limits the show to a static portrayal of a Louisiana redneck family. Some of the situations seen on the show are far too ridiculous to be believable. It seems like every day the guys in the warehouse are up to no good, and I just don’t believe that this business is staying afloat when its only workers are never working. Likewise, Willy can’t possibly have the time to meet with big, national retailers to sign contracts for his duck calls when he’s always having to keep an eye on his warehouse workers or give his daughter terrible driving lessons.

At this point, I get that the Robertsons like to go hunting. I get that they like to catch frogs and eat them. I get that they have crazy, redneck ideas, but as somebody from a somewhat rural part of North Georgia, I don’t think this is anything novel enough to merit a new TV show. What is novel is the fact that these people were able to come up with a top-of-the-line product and turn that into a wildly successful business.

That even seems to me to be the very premise of the show. However, it seems like the writers have gone off on the “rich redneck” tangent. I would be much more interested in learning more about how the business got off the ground and how it operates now. I would like to see more of Willy meeting with representatives from the stores that sell his product. I would like to see more of the guys in the warehouse actually working efficiently. I would like to see less of the guys racing on lawnmowers because they’re rednecks with the means to do so. The Robertsons are inherently interesting people. As soon as the writers realize this and stop trying to fabricate what they imagine will be humorous scenarios, then the show can really delve into how fascinating the Duck Commander story truly is and the show will have enough authentic material to stick around for quite a while.

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