The Set-Up: Jase is having his house renovated. This of course means he and his kids must stay over at Willie’s place. Si, Jep, and the Duck Commander employees continuously make “gentlemen’s bets” of one dollar on increasingly ridiculous situations.
Hilarity Ensues: Jase staying at Willie’s house leads to a classic sitcom trope of taking advantage of a family member’s hospitality. The family member who’s providing the hospitality then feels like they can’t throw the other one out. Jase takes his backwoods boorishness to extremes, gutting fish in Willie’s kitchen, bringing a dead beaver into the house, and filling the hot tub with live crawfish.
Major Themes: Brotherly love; offending the sensibilities of animal rights activists.
Is This for Real? No. Most of this episode’s scenes seem pretty set up. From Jase and Willie’s sibling rivalry to Si’s physical antics during the different sports-related bets, this is textbook situation comedy staging.
There’s one scene that seems very real – a classic moment of Louisiana absurdity. The Duck Commander boys and Uncle Si have to help Phil get a crawfish skiff out of a tree after Hurricane Gustav. This is perfectly believable in the world of swamps and hurricanes. Strange things just seem to happen around here.
One element of the show I’d like to know more about is the labeling of “favorites” within the family. The brothers have made it clear they know the youngest brother, Jep, is their mother, Miss Kay’s, favorite son. At one point during this episode, Korrie reminds Willie that Jase is his favorite brother. Is this acceptable in a large family? Is it simply understood that with so many people to love, someone will find themselves someone else’s favorite?
The Christian Angle: In 2010—pre-Duck Dynasty days—Phil Robertson gave a sermon at the Berean Bible Church of Pottstown, PA. Interestingly, the event was a “Wild Game Supper” and included a prize for best taxidermy. Phil came to the event in his best swamp man getup: camouflage from head to toe; none of the sunglasses and bandanas that Duck Dynasty has made trendy.
It’s not surprising that in the course of the sermon, Phil places himself in the line of the Founding Fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, whom he says were all “Godly men,” and founded the United States on Biblical authority. He goes on to denounce abortion, homosexuality, big government, animal rights activists, and takes at least a sideways whack at Obamacare.
Here’s a link to the sermon. (You can hear all of it by clicking on the Berean Bible Church’s Youube channel.)
Articles and Web sites have made it clear that Phil sees his involvement in the show as a chance to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An interesting point for further consideration is how Phil’s preaching lines up with his character as portrayed on the show.
I’ll be posting more on Phil’s preaching and what I think it means for the Duck Dynasty phenomenon at a later date.
The Wrap-Up: Duck Dynasty is on every Wednesday at 10PM Eastern, 9PM Central on A&E.