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COMMUNITY VOICE: ‘Duck Dynasty’ — Lessons from the swamp

By Bill and Lynne Quackenbush

“Duck Dynasty,” a family based TV series, opened its fourth season recently and broke records while doing so.  About 12 million viewers watched the season premier, making it “…the most watched non-fiction series telecast in cable TV history.”  It should make you wonder ‘why’ and ‘how’ an extended family of self-admitted “Louisiana rednecks” that makes duck calls for a living could grab and hold the attention of millions of Americans each week.  

First, they are “rednecks” without the negative meaning that some might associate with the term.  But there are also some other very good reasons, along with lessons that many of us might learn.

While this is the fourth season for “Duck Dynasty,” it was just a month ago that my wife and I first saw it.  We had heard of the show and saw a few previews, but we still felt that the program was maybe a bit too silly even for my sometimes warped sense of humor.  But it took just one episode to get us hooked.  The humor is sometimes dry, sometimes slapstick.  But no matter what, it makes you laugh.  

We didn’t focus on “why” this show caused us and so many others to become fans until two unrelated events took place recently.

First, in the opening episode, Kay and Phil Robertson, the mom and dad of this extended family, renewed their almost 50 year old wedding vows via a surprise wedding arranged by their kids’ families.  It was riotously funny, but also very emotional.  

In the midst of the laughter you found yourself pondering their situation and possibly relating it to your own.  After all these years it was blatantly obvious that Kay and Phil are still truly in love and have no qualms about showing it.  And they raised a family of honest, fun-loving, God-fearing boys who are now passing those traits on to their own children.  That’s where the second part of this message comes into play.

Last week a young couple in Pennsylvania was married in a wedding with a “Duck Dynasty” theme.  Both the bride and groom are avid watchers of the show, and they received the shock of their lives when as they completed their wedding vows, they were joined by Willie, a member of the show’s Robertson family.  They were amazed and extremely pleased.  

The media then picked up on it, and the next day they made an appearance on a TV talk show. The questions put to the couple were why the show affected them so much; why they wanted to make “Duck Dynasty” a part of their most special day.  The answer was simple: “It’s the way they are, they’re family.”  

The new bride went on to say that the family members all love each other, they treat each other with respect, and they have regular family dinners where they all eat together after sharing a prayer of thanksgiving.

There was more, but I think these comments truly home in on the underlying reasons for the success of “Duck Dynasty.” The show is an outrageously funny comedy, yet it shows a large family where people love each other, where they know they can depend on each other.  They overcome difficulties (in a humorous way) and manage to produce all of their shows with no trace of violence, no foul language, no sexual situations, and on occasion they even quote from the Bible. It might be a new concept for television: “Entertainment with morality.” 

Advice:

From Willie Robertson to the young couple at their wedding: “Love each other always and learn to forgive.”

From his mother, Miss Kay, at her 49th wedding celebration: “Our marriage is living proof that love and family can get you through anything.” 

This show stirs our hearts in that it represents the way we tried to raise our own family, doing our best to have fun while ensuring that we treated and loved others in the way that we wanted to be treated.  And more importantly, there was always time for God.  We send our most sincere congratulations to A&E Television for sharing this truly refreshing and unique program.