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Oct3ThuDuck Dynasty's Robertson clan may look like the cast of Deliverance, but there's more to them than meets the eye. October 3, 2013 by Jayne Thurber-Smith
The verdict is in: TV watchers would rather keep up with the Robertsons than the Kardashians.
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- Faith & Friends
And they're voting with their remotes. A&E's Duck Dynasty—about a family who went from rags to riches by creating and marketing a high-quality, handmade duck call—is now the most-watched reality show on cable TV with 8.4 million viewers.
Duck Dynasty features the entire Robertson clan, from patriarch Phil and matriarch Kay, their sons and wives, right through to their many grandchildren. It shows all the good and bad of a close-knit clan in West Monroe, Louisiana, that works and plays together—in Season One, for example, Willie, Jase and Si discover a wild bee hive while hunting and hatch a plan to capture it—and live to tell about it.
The series has exploded in popularity over its first three seasons, and no wonder. This feel-good show is one of the few left on TV that families can watch together and all enjoy. It's a show they can laugh with instead of at.
From Church to Warehouse
For the fourth season this fall, enter the missing Robertson brother, Alan.
“I'm much more level-headed than the rest of my brothers,” he laughs, then adds, “that's not too hard to be.”
Up until this year, Alan had been too busy with his day job to join his three younger brothers on the family show. He had been preaching at Whites Ferry Road Church of Christ, which all the Robertsons attend, for the past 20 years.
Alan's ready to join his extended family as they live out a Christian life in front of millions of people. And while there's no preaching on the show in any form, there's no doubt as to what their beliefs are.
“I view working on the show as an even bigger and broader ministry opportunity,” he says. “I will still preach at my church but it will now be for free! We moved here in 1975 when I was 10 and this church embraced us. Although they're very happily married now, Mom and Dad were separated at the time and the church was a huge help to us. My brother, Jase, and I both graduated from the church's preaching school. I stayed on with the church and, although he preaches on occasion, Jase went back to our warehouse.”
The Weird One?
Jase and third-born son Willie have been making a few guest appearances across Canada. Jase is next scheduled to appear at Farmtown Canada's Funny Farm Ministries' major fundraiser at the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., on October 12.
“I am very excited to welcome Canada's favourite duck-hunting family to Elgin County,” states MP Joe Preston on the Gardens' website. “For three seasons, the stars of Duck Dynasty have captivated audiences across Canada, especially here in rural Ontario.”
Jase is the “duck-call-making guru” and is also the comic voice of observation on the show with gems like, “If youcombine the time you waste mowing the grass with the time you waste shaving your face, you could go to Venus.”
Other than clean-shaven Alan, the Robertson men's perfect-for-hunting appearance seems menacing—with their camo gear, facial hair, rifles and dark sunglasses, they look like they've been dropped off the set of Deliverance—and yet they are the antithesis of that on the show. They live out their real lives of being loving husbands, fathers, sons and brothers while enjoying every second of it.
“A lot of people compare us to The Waltons or The Andy Griffith Show,” says Alan. “That's a great tribute to us, but I jokingly compare us to The Munsters now that I'm on there. I relate to Marilyn Munster, who thought she was the weird one because she didn't look like the rest of her family. I am the Jacob in a family of Esaus.”
Every show closes with the entire family gathered around a long table laden with delicious Southern cooking. Phil always says a heartfelt grace over the food such as, “Father, we love You and we are grateful that You love us,” then they dig in while simultaneously teasing or laughing. It's a picture Norman Rockwell would love to have painted. Willie, the CEO of the company, does a voiceover in the background with his personal words of wisdom to tidily wrap up each episode.
“Mom still cooks a lot of that food you see,” says Alan. “We're all so busy that when you see us getting together for dinner on the show, that is often the only time we can do so now. Off-air, we all still try to eat together at least once every several weeks. It's our opportunity to laugh and have fun as a family. What you see is exactly the way we are. When they were still alive, our grandparents sat with us at the table as well. That's where we've always talked about God, religion, politics—everything. It's always great.”
Alan's camo-covered book, The Duck Commander Devotional, will be released October 15. Many of the Robertsons contributed to the compilation, hoping to encourage people to read the Bible daily, as they strive to do.
“We know the success of our show has wholly been because of God, and we need to remember that,” Alan says. “I find my role as both a pastor and the oldest brother is to constantly remind all of us that we started from humble beginnings. God has given us a great opportunity to do great things—and the last thing we want to do is let pride or a diva attitude derail any of us.”