Okay, I’m kidding. Sort of. Am I?
You have surely seen, on this site and others, in print and on TV, a lot of words devoted to the phenomenon of Duck Dynasty, the A&E show that has climbed to the top of the cable ratings mountain.
It is the stream of consciousness of the Robertson clan, whose patriarch Phil is the spark behind two things-- a very successful duck call company, and a family engaging and funny enough to draw millions of viewers each week to TV’s most talked-about program.
There have been shows over the years about people of strong faith, and shows about people who are quirky, and there are always shows that succeed and plenty that fail.
But the Duck Dynasty clan has captured a kind of lightning in a bottle that may be the stuff of genuine hope for our society.
The recent Bible miniseries was a huge hit on the History channel. Even heathen Hollywood noticed, greenlighting a number of projects designed to bring us stories from the Good Book. The popularity of such broadcasts will show us that the American public’s tastes sometimes go deeper than family-unfriendly sitcoms and staged reality competitions.
(A brief aside about that genre: real competitions like “American Idol” can be fun, and the currently hot “America’s Got Talent” is genuinely inspiring at times. It is phony garbage like “Big Brother” that earns my deepest revulsion, along with the “Bachelor/Bachelorette” one-two punch that is perhaps the most amoral exercise in TV history.)
I was a latecomer to “Dynasty” fandom. I grew tired of people beating me to death about how great it was. I know, I know, and so is “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire” and “Storage Wars” and dozens of other shows from big-ticket dramas to little undiscovered gems atomized across the landscape of my satellite grid.
But because people raved about the uplifting values of the show, my wife and I checked in about a year ago. We were charmed and amazed, and hooked. So was our ten-year-old son, who can actually watch it without our hands over his eyes and ears for those “gotcha” moments that arise so often in other shows made hostile for family viewing because everything has to be hip enough for the Godless millennials.
Most shows aimed for adults, even some very good ones, have far too many violence, sex and language issues for family viewing. Conversely, while we love watching Disney and Nickelodeon shows with our boy, our brains can only take so much Sponge Bob and “Dog With a Blog.”
So here it was: a show about grownups that grownups can enjoy with their kids by their sides, with everyone “happy happy happy,” as Phil would describe.