'Duck Dynasty: Season 4' Blu-Ray Review: Focus on Family Sets Series Apart from TV Landscape

Duck Dynasty took on a whole new meaning this past year.

After patriarch Phil Robertson spoke in an interview about his religious philosophies which included believing homosexuality was a sin, the show and the man were debated on national television shows, people yelled, fought, etc.

I found the whole thing to be strange. With issues of foreign policy, monetary policy and government surveillance rampant, I figured people would choose to debate something better.

Looking back, it's easy to see that people weren't just arguing about a reality TV show. There were debating freedom of religion, speech and the media's reactionary attempts to attack anything it doesn't understand. I wholeheartedly disagree with what Robertson said, but I would never disagree with his right to say it nor would I ever fault him as a human being for daring to believe something different.

Now that the controversy is somewhat over since Robertson has been reinstated by A&E, it was good to watch the show's fourth season, available January 7 on home video, with a clear head.

Duck Dynasty is about a close-knit family that runs a successful business where they make duck calls (who knew the money was so good in that?) and other Duck Commander products. The show includes Willie (CEO of Duck Commander), Jase (older brother), Phil, Si (Vietnam veteran and VERY funny uncle), their wives and others. It's a show about a very large family and how they choose to connect and spend their time together.

Season 4's 10 episodes included everything from racing a lawnmower and a mini-bike, making beef jerky, shooting bows and arrows, sniffing gas and praying as a family at the end of each and every long day. They certainly cover a lot of ground for a half hour show with such a swift season.

The season's highlights include the extended premiere where Phil Robertson and Kay Robertson get a real wedding after almost 50 years. Watching the patriarch with his wife and family, it's odd to see where the media got its hatred from as they labeled him as everything from racist to a monster.

At its worst, Duck Dynasty can be a show more contrived and scripted than other reality programs. At its best, it can be a hilarious series about the importance of family and cherishing those around you no matter how different they are. With a message like that, it's hard to understand why anyone would take much issue with it.

There's not much like Duck Dynasty on television today. It's a show the whole family can enjoy together, and it unabashedly presents its old fashioned ideas of God, family and individual liberty to the audience. It makes the show feel fresh and vibrant compared to other programs beating to the tune of a culturally safe drum.


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