Duck Commander

“Till Duck Do Us Part”: That was the title of the most-talked-about television show in America last week. Was it a revamped version of Looney Tunes? An offering from Animal Planet? No. It was the season opener of America’s favorite TV family show, featuring the women of the extended Robertson clan organizing a formal wedding for the heads of the family, Phil and Miss Kay, who 49 years earlier had only been able to afford a justice of the peace.

Not exactly the kind of plot TV executives would expect to draw a record audience. But that’s what happened last Wednesday night on A&E. The backwoods reality show Duck Dynasty drew 11.8 million viewers, which happens to be the most ever for a nonfiction telecast on cable television.

It’s also 8 million more viewers than the season-five premiere of Mad Men.

It’s nearly 6 million more than this year’s premiere of Breaking Bad.

And it’s almost 3 million more than the finale of The Good Wife.

How did this show about a bunch of bearded men dressed in camo who spend some of their time making high-quality duck calls, and the rest goofing off, beat those shows that media critics swoon over endlessly?

It’s simple. Duck Dynasty didn’t spring from the head of some screenwriter in New York or Los Angeles. It isn’t dark or cynical or ironic. It’s earthy and optimistic and light-hearted and funny, like the Robertson family itself. Like America itself.
. . .
[The Robertson family is] fiercely countercultural. If Woodstock was a rebellion against everything Americans had cherished in the 1950s, Duck Dynasty is the rebellion against the rebellion. A rebellion against the culture of divorce, rudeness, and the sexualization of everything. Duck Dynasty dares to be . . . wholesome.

Till Duck Do Us Part (emphasis added)

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