As much as I try to avoid shopping at Walmart, it is inevitable. There is just no getting around it. Shopping choices and selection are rather limited in this town and becoming more limited by the week — there’s literally like 7 empty store fronts in our downtown area. Every time I try to swear off the Death Star of box stores, I find myself once again perusing its aisles. The choice to try to stop shopping there was made when I came across the following quote: “You create the world you want to live in by every dollar you spend.” Man, I really do not want to live in the United States of Great Value Honey Nut Spins!
That is my long winded way of trying to justify why I found myself buying some footie socks for June at good ol’ Wally World this morning. And while I was there, I couldn’t help but notice these four faces everywhere:
I, not being much of a TV watcher or subscriber to cable, am only peripherally aware that Duck Dynasty is a reality show. But apparently, it has become THE reality show. It’s latest season premiere in August drew 11.8 million viewers, the most ever for a reality show (that’s 8 million more than the Season 5 premiere of Mad Men). No other “docu-series” I am aware of — with the exception of perhaps Keeping Up with the Kardashians – has managed to parlay the show’s success into such a marketing bonanza. I’m surprised these guys don’t have their own line of butt slimming fitness DVDs yet.
I recently asked a friend, who had seen the show, why it is so popular. What is about these guys that make them more endearing and entertaining than other popular reality show characters (I’m thinking specifically of shows like Swamp People, Amish Mafia, Deadliest Catch (is Deadliest Catch even on anymore?))? She said that not only are the characters — family members — genuinely funny and eager to laugh at themselves but they also embody values largely missing or ignored by other popular reality series. The Duck Dynasty guys, she implied, are presented as backwoods-y philosophers, a sharp departure from the usual script in which rural characters are played as rubes and dolts. These guys are all keenly intelligent, right-leaning, straight talking, ultra independent, anti-PC, anti-big government, hilarious, proudly Christian and, oh yeah, self made millionaires. My friend, who is about as liberal, left leaning and secular as they come, watches the show not only for its humor but because the show occasionally makes her think. Okay, not enough to change her beliefs and positions, but she does at least think about them, which is a lot more than one can say for Swamp People. No wonder Duck Dynasty has cornered half of my local Walmart.
Intrigued, I went ahead and put Season 1 on my Netflix queue. Have you seen Duck Dynasty? Have you purchased an accompanying coffee mug? Are you wearing a DD tee shirt right now? And how long is your beard?