Reality Time: Getting in Touch with My Redneck Roots via Duck Dynasty

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’re watching the Talladega Sprint Cup. We don’t usually watch NASCAR, but it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and we’ve done just about everything else we needed to do this weekend, so it seems like a suitable pastime at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon.

I’m only watching it because they have a Ricky Bobby car (no. 51). You do know about Talladega Nights, right? One of the greatest movies ever made? Actually, anything with Will Ferrell is the greatest thing ever made. I could watch that doofus in anything and pee myself laughing.

But in today’s race, someone apparently has lost his sponsorship and has painted the Ricky Bobby cougar on his hood. And his tail says “ I Wanna Go Fast.”  I’m loving it. AND he’s currently in second place. So I’m yelling and cheering him on.  *UPDATE: Dangit, my boy just crashed at 4:43. I’m quite despondent. But he’s not going to go out quietly, no sir. He’s now driving the wrong way down pit row, in true Ricky Bobby spirit. I swear if he jumps out and starts yelling he’s on fire, I’m going to fall off this couch.

It’s actually got me thinking about some other rednecks I am currently loving – the folks on “Duck Dynasty.”

This is an amazing show on A&E. A&E used to stand for Arts and Entertainment television. In its early days, A&E was kinda like a cable version of PBS. It had documentaries on the arts and shows like “Sherlock Holmes,” “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” and “Biography.”

But these days, they’re catering quite a bit to the lowest common denominators and showing some mighty fine reality programming.  “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Billy the Exterminator,”  “Lady Hoggers,” “Hoarders,” and my personal favorite, “Storage Wars” (original and Texas editions.)

But “Duck Dynasty” might be A&E’s greatest triumph. The show follows the Robertson clan, a family from West Monroe, Louisiana. Now, I’m a bit familiar with that neck of the woods – I have an aunt who lives in the tiny little town of Bernice, which is nearby. I even spent a summer there in high school. In true white-trash fashion, I was dropped off by my mom’s truck driver boyfriend at the beginning of summer, and picked up in the same fashion at the end of it.

I spent the summer running wild with my boy cousins and their extended family on their dad’s side, riding ATV’s, pestering wild animals (mostly frogs and crocodiles) in the dense woods surrounding their property, and fishing in their lake. In the evenings, I would help my poor beleaguered aunt out by shucking purple hull peas and helping fry hush puppies. It was a really good summer.

Anyway, “Duck Dynasty” follows the shenanigans of Willie, the CEO of Duck Commander, a multi-million company that makes duck calls and duck decoys; his brother Jase, who works for the company, as well as his other brother Jep, who you see a lot less of. But the real characters are Willie’s father and the Duck Commander founder, Phil and his brother, Si.

They all look like ZZ Top, and they have unbelievably hot wives. The older generation is plumb crazy. Si is a former Vietnam Vet who I’m pretty sure still thinks he’s in the midst of the war.  Phil has tons of folksy wisdom to dole out, most of it regarding how to deal with womenfolk.

The whole family kills beavers, frogs, ducks, bees, just about anything that might attract their attention. They have a lot of anger towards the animal kingdom, but especially beavers. Pretty much every episode ends on a preachy note, with the family gathered around a dinner table for a big family dinner and a voice over of Willie telling us what we were supposed to learn out of the episode. It’s the one thing I don’t like about the show.

Actually, the other thing I’m not too fond of is that some of the show is definitely faked and revolves around some sitcom-like situations. For example, Willie buys a winery, but knows nothing about wine. Hijinks ensue. Phil’s wife Kay wants to open a restaurant, so a local restaurant let’s her set up shop for one night. Hilarious mayhem results. It’s a bit forced sometimes.

But back to that folksy wisdom. One of my favorite things about the show is some of the quotes these guys throw out. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

First it’s pretty tires, then it’s pretty guns…next thing you know, you’re shaving your beard and wearing capri pants. – Si

I believe what Si is saying here is that you have to be very careful not to be sissified. It’s true. You must maintain your manliness at all times. Si and company are quite, quite worried about sissification, especially among the grandkids.

She may be an ugly woman but she if cooks squirrel and dumplings, that’s the woman you go after – Phil

This was Phil’s recommendations to his grandsons on how to find and pick a suitable wife. He is quite concerned that his grandsons might marry one of them “city girls.”

“When you don’t know what you’re doing it’s best to do it quickly” – Jase

Ah, yes. Fake it till you make it. And fake it fast.

“Mainly I use the grandkids, when it comes to crawfishing, as a labor pool” – Phil

Yep, been there, done that. I’ve been free labor.

“What Willie needs to do…if he wants to be more productive…is fire all of us” – Jase

Similarly, you definitely get what you pay for.

Ducks are a lot like women…they don’t like mud on their butts. – Phil

Well, that’s just a fact.

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