Duck Dynasty: Season Two, Vol. 1

June 17, 2013

In Season 2, Volume 1, of the hit series “Duck Dynasty” on A&E, Louisiana’s bearded, camouflage-clad millionaires continue to live out the American dream while staying true to their rugged outdoorsman lifestyle and Southern roots. Ask anyone in Louisiana and they’ll tell you that the bayou state’s favorite first family doesn’t live in the governor’s mansion but in the backwoods, where the Robertsons’ rags-to-riches story is still unfolding. A homegrown mom-and-pop operation, Duck Commander has become a sporting empire by fabricating top-of-the- line duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood. This newly-minted multimillionaire family is kept in line by business-savvy Willie, who runs Duck Commander with the help of his brother Jase, their respective wives Korie and Missy, patriarch and founder of the company, Phil, and uncle Si. Together they run a booming business that employs half their neighborhood, but at the end of the day you can find the whole family around matriarch Miss Kay’s dinner table. Each episode brings a new set of challenges, met with a special brand of Southern know-how and a down-home sense of humor.These are heady times for the wild and woolly Robertson clan, stars of Duck Dynasty, A&E’s “redneck reality” series. Willie, CEO of the family’s duck-call manufacturing business, reports that he was able to hire 40 new employees after their successful first season. When pop singer Morrissey, calling them “animal serial killers,” refused to appear on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show with the Robertsons and their copious beards, it was him, not them, who got the boot, and the debut of season three in February 2013 attracted 8.6 million viewers, A&E’s biggest-ever audience. Meanwhile, there are these 13 episodes from season two, released on two discs (along with bonus footage “never before seen on TV”). Truth is, this show isn’t what you’d call action packed. Most of the episodes deal with pretty mundane matters: building a “redneck water park” to cool off in on a particularly humid Louisiana day, teaching one of the youngsters to drive, playing Ping-Pong, betting who can devour the most donuts (and savoring the differences between hot ones and all the others)… and, yes, doing some actual work at Duck Commander headquarters. Duck Dynasty is principally a character-driven show, and four characters in particular continue to be at center stage: Willie, who’s forever complaining that his employees, family members included, don’t work hard enough; his brother Jase, the cracked philosopher who’ll hold forth on pretty much any subject (“When you put large quantities of digested donuts in motion, your body becomes a ticking time bomb”); his uncle Si, the eccentric, burned-out Vietnam vet; and paterfamilias Phil, Mr. Happy Happy Happy, the now-retired founder of the company and the family’s conscience (their wives, kids, and coworkers also get some face time, as does NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer in one episode). There are those who suggest that the show’s surprising popularity is due to condescending hipsters laughing at it, not with it. If so, they’re not the only ones having a laugh; it’s a safe bet that Willie, Jase, and the rest are chuckling all the way to the bank. –Sam Graham

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