© By Othmar Vohringer
I will focus on my favorite: “Duck Dynasty”. The show is about the lives’ of a Louisiana family that have become famous in the hunting community for their duck calls which they market under the name “Duck Commanders”.
The company is operated by the Robertson family which consist of the family patriarch Phil, his wife Kay and their sons Willie, Jase, Jeb and Phil’s brother (Uncle) Si. The show plays out in the family’s native home of West Monroe, Louisiana. Almost every episode has a “plot” that revolves around family and work relationships with all the tensions it can create when ‘kin-folk’ have to work together.
Whether it is sibling rivalry, marital or parenting problems, it’s all played out before our eyes but with a noticeable difference when compared to many more mainstream reality shows: the Robertson’s all act surprisingly decent and respectful toward each other. While the show has no shortage of zany antics and disagreements between the members it always remains civil and in good humour.
With over 6 million viewers each week the show is one of the most popular reality TV shows currently on air. I believe that part of this huge success is the result of the show’s emphasis on strong family bonds and values. Each show features segments where the whole family shares time together, be that at the family’s big dining table, sharing a family barbeque on a lake or undertaking a trip into the countryside. Arising problems are not swept under the table, or worse, pretending they don’t exist; they are attended to and solved in a civil and humorous way.
TV viewers today are inundated by TV shows focussing on dysfunctional people. We’re exhausted with “relationships gone wrong”, “teenage pregnancy”, “drugs and family feuding”. Duck Dynasty with all its “redneck” antics is like a refreshing oasis that reminds us that “old fashioned” family values still work and that differences between people still can be overcome without vulgarity or resorting to violence. A family with strong bonds is a healthy and nurturing environment in which children can grow to become independent rational adults. Or as Phil Robertson put it, “A functional family is the fountain of individual strength and a good environment for children to grow up.”