Quack Addiction: Family-Run Duck-Call Business on ‘Duck Dynasty’

"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson (Photo: A&E)

And now, another one of our periodic warnings to endangered wildlife — in this case: Catfish, beavers and bullfrogs. And, of course, ducks — but more on them in a moment.

Why alert the catfish, beavers and bullfrogs? Well, if they’re anywhere in the vicinity of this “Duck Dynasty” family in and around West Monroe, La., then they had better swim, run and hop for their lives because these Robertsons (that’s the “Dynasty” family name) really enjoy killing them.

Two of them — the catfish and the bullfrogs — are captured and killed for food, while the beavers are killed because they’re a nuisance.

I just learned all about the Robertsons and their love/hate relationship with nature by watching the pilot episode of this new reality series “Duck Dynasty,” which is due to premiere on A&E this coming Wednesday (March 21) at 10/9c with two back-to-back, half-hour episodes. They’re an exuberant, likable clan who are unapologetic about the squishier aspects of their Louisiana bayou lifestyle.

And when I say “squishy,” I mean that literally. It’s a reference to one scene in particular in which family patriarch Phil Robertson blithely prepares a load of live bullfrogs for cooking by beheading each one of them with a long, curved knife while they’re still alive. “Squishy” is as good a word as any to describe the sound the critters make when this happens. What’s it like to watch this procedure? For me, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever seen on TV, but I also tend to give wide leeway to the preferences and habits of other people and their lifestyles when I see them on TV. Now, if I was a frog and I came across this scene on TV, well, that’s a different story . . .

Seeing is believing: Here’s the pilot episode of A&E’s new eye-catching “Duck Dynasty” reality series:
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Duck-Dynasty/175137/2209983899/Family-Funny-Business/embed 580 476]

“Duck Dynasty” tells the story of a family of “wealthy rednecks” (their words, not mine) who have made it big in the business of marketing a unique accessory for hunters: Duck calls. Yes, somehow, these Robertsons — a group of men and a couple of close friends with beards like ZZ Top — stumbled upon a niche that has made them millionaires, owing to the quality of the duck calls they manufacture and, it stands to reason, the effectiveness of these instruments in attracting ducks for hunters to shoot.

So this reality series shows you how their business works (or doesn’t work) and how the various family members interact. In the pilot episode, ducks are the one species of animal that comes out unscathed, ironically, while catfish are dredged up from the bottom of a river by the bushel for the Robertsons’ freezer, and beavers are hunted because the dams they build are apparently a danger to other wildlife, both flora and fauna (according to one of the Robertsons, that is).

“Duck Dynasty,” it should be noted, is yet another in a lengthening list of swamp-based reality shows that have come out of Louisiana in the last few years, thanks to the Louisiana state government rolling out the red carpet for TV producers with various financial incentives such as tax breaks.

And there’s no harm in that, unless you’re a frog.

“Duck Dynasty” premieres this Wednesday night at 10/9c on A&E.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


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