Saturday, April 1, 2017

In Praise of "Duck Dynasty"

The television show Duck Dynasty has come to an end.

The Robertson family that it featured and A & E Network decided last year to end the show after 11 seasons.

The series broke A & E records for viewership, though in recent years that viewership had gone done due to some controversies arising from the conservative and very traditional religious values of the Robertsons, and, I think, running out of steam. It's hard to maintain interest and to find original ideas for that long. Plus, some of the cast members got older and were less involved, and the kids who  were featured prominently early on grew up.

But while it was on, it drew a faithful audience because of its emphasis on faith, family, traditional values, and hokey but clean humor the entire family could watch. My wife was a big fan. I was less so, but I did watch with her and enjoyed it.

Yes, it was "manufactured" in some senses. The situations and plots were contrived. The members of the family were in some ways caricatured. Even the long beards that the men featured were part of their act - one wonders if some of the Robertsons will now trim those beards back. Willie Robertson, the CEO of the Duck Commander business the family runs and very much the brains behind the show and all it's marketing ventures (books, clothing lines, memorabilia, even a good Christmas album that topped the charts) is a savvy businessman.

But, despite what some cynics say, the faith of the family members was real. The emphasis on family was real. The Robertsons did reach out to help others - from adopting children to missionary activities to speaking at and promoting various events and causes. When Sadie Robertson, then a teen, competed on Dancing With the Stars, the show had to clean up the costumes and dancing routines in which she participated to conform with the family's ideas about modesty - and she still finished second.

I praise them for all that.

If you haven't seen the show, check out some of the reruns when they start. You might be amused.

Pax et bonum

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