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.
Season five sees Rebecca return from her internship in L.A., Si ironically deciding to film his daily life, Willie hiring a new assistant, a burger cooking competition, and a Robertson family reunion. The season is only ten episodes long, and does have some legitimately funny moments, but I still wouldn’t go out of my way to watch more of the series. Still, it’s exactly what you’d expect, so if you’re a fan of the show and haven’t seen season five already, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this little collection.
Special features include behind the scenes featurettes and deleted scenes. Available now on DVD from Lionsgate.