Entertainment Television

'Duck Dynasty' review: The quack pack is back

After "Duck Dynasty" drew an astounding 9.6 million viewers for its Season 3 finale, I decided I should find out what's got everyone quacking.

So I sucked it up and finally watched a few full episodes of the hit series based on the real-life Robertson clan of West Monroe, La. Family patriarch Phil Robertson invented and patented a duck call that launched the Duck Commander/Buck Commander business. As CEO, son Willie turned the company into a multimillion-dollar sporting goods empire and keeps his also prodigiously-bearded brothers and uncle in line.

I won't be growing a beard or switching to an all-camouflage wardrobe any time soon, but the Robertsons' screwball antics did charm me.

The one-hour premiere (9 p.m. Aug. 14, A&E; 2.5 out of 4 stars) begins at the mansion of Willie and his wife, Korie. Willie is fighting a losing game of Battleship with his "other brother" Jep when Korie and Jessica, Jep's wife, badger the boys about what to get Phil and Miss Kay for their 49th anniversary. When Willie tries to stop any talk of anniversary presents by telling the women that his parents never had a real wedding, Korie turns the tables on him, saying, "We should give them a wedding. ... Good idea babe."

"That's the worst idea I've ever heard in my life," he says, protesting when she says the idea was his. "That's not what I said."

Hooked like the fish he catches, Willie can only complain as Korie, Jessica and Missy, brother Jase's wife, reel the men into the plan. The brothers, their friends and a few employees are stuck executing it while their oddball Uncle Si distracts Phil and Miss Kay. The episode also introduces eldest Robertson son Alan, a minister who takes no amount of grief from his brothers for not sporting a beard. (Alan and his wife, Lisa, join the cast this season.)

I couldn't help but laugh. The show is edited almost like a sitcom to draw out maximum humor, with cutaway interviews of cast members at just the right moments to reinforce their folksy philosophies. One could complain about the gender stereotypes at play, but the roles are so exaggerated here it seems the show and the Robertsons are mocking those biases.

At any rate, it's nice to see a reality show that isn't filled with backstabbing and familial dysfunction. Yet I can't avoid feeling like all the good-ol'-boy cheeriness is at least partly phony, especially knowing that the new season was held up when the Robertsons held out for more money.

As self-aware as "Duck Dynasty" is, maybe that negotiation will find its way into the plot. But I doubt it.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    The four musicians in Marrow know quite a bit about bringing diverse influences to the table. After all, three of them, singer-guitarist Liam Kazar, singer-keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom were in Kids These Days, a now-defunct septet that combined jazz, funk, rap and rock in...

  • The Kids These Days family tree

    The Kids These Days family tree

    From its 2009 beginnings to its 2013 demise, Chicago's Kids These Days seemed like one of the most promising acts the city had seen in years. While the band split up at the height of its hype, its members have since gone on to do bigger and better things—seriously impressive considering the hip-hop/rock/jazz...

  • Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has sued Chicago's former red light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems, for more than $300 million on grounds the entire program was built on a $2 million bribery scheme at City Hall that has already led to federal corruption convictions.

  • Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    After the dissolution of Kids These Days, the much-buzzed about Chicago fusion-jazz-rock-rap septet that split in spring 2013 just a few months after releasing its only album, “Traphouse Rock,” some of its members spent what seems like all of 20 minutes bandless. "We were driving back from the...

  • Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    Technical difficulties at GrubHub and Seamless over the weekend drove hordes of hangry would-be customers to air their grievances on social media. The food ordering and delivery sites, which merged in 2013 and use GrubHub’s back-end technology, errantly accepted payments on Saturday evening without...