Duck Dynasty: Season 4

| January 7, 2014

If you’re hoping I’m going to weigh in on the whole Pat Robertson scandal, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.  I honestly don’t have a strong opinion about it.  I was offended by his comments, but that’s the price we pay for living in a country where freedom of expression is enjoyed without limits or conditions.  I would rather have the freedom to express myself while disagreeing with others than waste any energy getting angry at others’ viewpoints.

Mostly I want to take this opportunity to weigh in on this series, which has become a cultural phenomenon over the last couple of years.  I have been sporadically exposed to the series recently because I have friends who watch it and my parents are fans, and while I do find the show to be entertaining at times, I don’t get why people find it so incredibly addicting.  I think I’ve figured out why I resist it so effectively: it is obviously staged.  Yes, these people are all playing themselves, with their real jobs and their real families, and their real money.  However, every situation in every episode feels like a suggestion of the producers rather than what these people would decide to do on their own.  This seasons sees the gang plan a surprise wedding for Phil and Kay to renew their vows, the guys and their wives helping Martin prepare for a big date, and Si insisting on using an electric scooter to get around after a supposed car accident.  Either all of these situations are staged, or the cast so utterly aware that they’re on television that realistic performance (even in their own lives) is impossible.

On the other hand, if Duck Dynasty had ignored this reality show façade and simply made a sitcom about the Robertson family’s exploits, I still don’t think I would enjoy it.  Whatever level of entertainment value this has is drawn from the characters being real people, and as long as the show sticks to non-fiction, it’s very effective.  For example, in the episode where the guys’ wives are training Martin for his date, Willie discovers almost nothing in his fridge except for a box of mustard packets.  These little slice of life moments in the series that couldn’t have been staged are infinitely more interesting to me than the lame sitcom tropes that try to get forced in here by the powers that be.

Special features include deleted scenes and mini webisodes never shown on television.  Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate on January 7.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: TV on DVD

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