West Monroe is a typical suburban town in the northern part of the state, and these guys are typical Louisianans, who love their families, duck hunting, and the Bible.
Back in the eighties, I probably drove past the sprawling home of Phil Robertson, who created the show -- he's probably the most famous duck caller in the U.S. On my way to the theater at the University in Monroe to set up for a performance, I remember how surprised I was to see so many churches -- churches on every corner, and one was bigger than the Holiday Inn where I was staying.
Phil Robertson, 67, is the patriarch of this family of born-again Christian duck callers, which includes his four sons --Alan, Willie Jase, Jep, and Phil's younger brother, Si, a Vietnam vet. Phil proudly has said, more than once, "Yes, we're basically Godly, I didn't think that would work on American television."
The fact is, the 3rd season premiere of "Duck Dynasty" drew the highest ratings the A & E channel has ever seen -- with 8.2. million viewers, it's the most watched program on cable, (after "The Walking Dead"); its April 25th finale beat "American Idol" in the ratings.
Phil is also a bestselling author. His latest book, "Happy, Happy, Happy: My life and Legacy as the Duck Hunter Commander," describes his childhood -- no running water, electricity, outdoor commode, all the kids sleeping in the same bed. Though Phil attended Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship, he ignored future possibilities as a starting quarterback. He went into the duck hunting business, creating a duck caller with a double reed (like an Oboe), with a dimple in each reed to keep them separated, which he sold at Duck Commanders, his newly opened store.
Aside from the show, the Robertsons go hunting and fishing together -- they say, "for food and for souls." They look like hillbillies, but they're not -- Phil patented his duck caller. Last year, along with supplies to the 2.3. million water fowl hunters around the world, Duck Commanders sold 185,000 duck callers.
And other family members are making money on their best-selling books which are published now, and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
"Duck Dynasty" has inspired and is influencing other shows, affecting our culture. I couldn't write about my husband's acting career if I didn't know anything about Shakespeare -- I couldn't be discussing the power of TV today is I hadn't glimpsed "Family Guy," or some of the NCIS shows, or "Duck Dynasty."
The Robertsons -- their beards, the way they talk and what they talk about -- seeing flocks of birds flying free while the humans below are below are having fun shooting them down -- it's not my cup of tea.
Okay, if I sat down with them they'd think I was weird. They are not weird, they just very different from me.
Here are two video clips. I couldn't watch all of the second clip -- maybe YOU can. They're fellow Americans -- good guys, kind of like neighbors we need to respect and like for what they are.