Thanks to redneck reality TV, I’m walking on the wild side

Thanks to redneck reality TV, I’m walking on the wild side

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 8:01 pm
By: By Chris Menees

Thanks to redneck reality TV, I’m walking on the wild side | Chris Menees, Just A Thought

I’ve embraced my inner redneck.
It’s time for me to come clean.
I recently bought the complete first season of “Duck Dynasty” on DVD.
There. I feel better.
Of course, I used my husband as an excuse. I said I ordered it for him; but, the truth is, I enjoy watching the famously-bearded duck call-making Robertson clan just as much as the next redneck.
I don’t hunt and I don’t even like the taste of duck.
To be totally honest, I generally despise reality shows and you won’t ever catch me keeping up with the Kardashians, but there’s something down-to-earth about the folksy Louisiana family of “Duck Dynasty” fame. They look like the kind of people who’d be fun to hang with on weekends.
Plus, there’s just something warm and fuzzy when you think about the secret of this Christian family’s success and how it all started with daddy Phil — “the Duck Commander” — inventing, of all things, a duck call. If necessity is the mother of invention, then Phil is the proud papa.
As long as I’m confessing, I’ll also admit that for a while I was somewhat smitten with the colorful Cajun crew of “Swamp People” — which, I reasoned, had to be educational programming since it airs on The History Channel.
I even almost got to see “Swamp People” celebs Junior and Willie — good ol’ Southern names indeed — a couple of months ago when I accidentally stumbled onto their appearance at the mall in Paducah, Ky. My brush with greatness was cut short, though, by a line of far more dedicated swamp lovers who apparently had nothing better to do and didn’t mind a three-hour wait.
But those two offerings from the Bayou State aren’t the only chance to embrace redneck reality in the great outdoors, not by a long shot. The boob tube is filled with ’em — from “Gator Boys” to “Hillbilly Handfishin’” to “Call of the Wildman.”
And there’s merchandise galore to support TV watchers’ guilty little habits — from caps with the “Swamp People” mantra of “Choot ’em” (as in the gators) to the “Hillbilly Handfishin’” T-shirt that proudly proclaims “It ain’t fishin’ if you don’t lose a finger.” Personally, I think that last one is a little extreme, but to each his — or her — own.
There must be some logical explanation to my recent fascination with these shows. I’ve reasoned that maybe I’m regressing to a childhood where I watched more than my share of extreme country corn pone with shows like “Hee Haw” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Dukes of Hazzard.”
Plus, if you really think about it, we were actually exposed to some of the earliest reality TV ever with the popular Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.” I grew up watching distinguished host Marlin Perkins calmly tell us each week to watch as brave sidekick Jim wrestled giant grizzly bears or subdued giant anacondas with his bare hands — all as the endearing Mr. Perkins, every hair in place, watched from the safety of the sideline.
On the other hand, perhaps my 10-year-old granddaughter summed it up best when her 15-year-old sister questioned why she watches the turtle-loving “Call of the Wildman” and the gator-grabbing “Gator Boys.” The younger one simply said, “It’s weird.”
She’ll get no argument from me.
While reality TV may have given me the chance to walk on the wild side, I have my limits. Rest assured, honey, you’ll never-ever find me tuning in to catch the antics of tantrum-throwing pageant contestant “Honey Boo Boo” — but, with no judgment whatsoever, if you feel the need to indulge, knock yourself out.
But let’s face the reality, folks.
As long as there’s reality TV, there’ll always be a little redneck in all of us.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 9.21.12

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