Duck Dynasty has seen a fall in ratings that may herald the end of the A&E show if the ratings don’t improve significantly. But the low ratings have not stopped the colorful Robertson family from being popular characters on the Web and for Halloween costumes. The clan where the men are known for their impressive beards and backwoods Christian values has generated a lot of controversy throughout the course of the TV reality show. From the very beginning the show has divided huge swaths of the public with some people championing the show and some people decrying it. But whether or not the show is fake there is no denying that from the beginning the show has been a lightning rod for discussion of cultural values and the authenticity of reality TV. Reality TV as a genre is infamous for not being real in the way that audiences expect. Most reality shows are coached, if not scripted.
The show initially was simply a reality show based on the Robertsons, a rural Louisiana family who run a family business making the Duck Commander duck call for duck hunting and other hunting calls and products. The family says that they are just a normal Louisiana family whose family business is their livelihood and whose faith is the cornerstone of their family and of their business. But, photos and documents from the past prove that in the past the family was more suburban than back woods dressing in fashionable clothing without beards and encouraging their children to pursue higher education. The backwoods personas of the Robertsons didn’t really appear until recently, as least no in any photos or documentation. Some people have questioned whether or not the entire show was created by the Robertsons, along with their “folksy” personas, to save their dying Duck Commander business.
Audiences were originally fascinated by the family who showed a slice of Americana that most people are not familiar with. Their colloquialisms and old fashioned Southern values fascinated some audiences and encouraged other audiences who felt that at last there were people like them on TV. During this time Honey Boo Boo, the pint sized poster child for the “good ‘ol South” was taking pop culture by storm and networks were scrambling to find more reality stars who would fit that demographic. Those audiences celebrated the success of the Robertsons and tuned in weekly to help boost the success of a family they felt was like their own. Sales of Duck Commanders soared too, which helped the clan become wealthy.
In the beginning controversy over the authenticity of their backwoods Louisiana personas and whether or not the reality show was scripted only boosted ratings. The show was very popular throughout the first three seasons but peaked in the third year. Ratings have been falling for some time, but took a nose dive when the clan patriarch, Si, made some offensive comments during an interview with a national magazine. When the magazine printed the interview and publicized it on social media a firestorm of controversy erupted, which made some people wonder if the comments were made deliberately by Si in an effort to pick up the show’s flagging ratings.
If the comments were deliberate the attempt to boost the show’s ratings failed. Si was removed from the show indefinitely after a massive public outcry that threatened the future of not only Duck Dynasty but other A&E shows as well. There was a huge schism online as self proclaimed rednecks defended the comments made by Si and the lifestyle of the Robertsons while others were offended by what they saw as bigoted comments made by a TV personality. They argued that Si’s role as a public figure meant that he had a responsibility to tone down his extreme religious beliefs in public. Supporters of the Robertson clan disagreed. The rest of the clan took to the media to claim they were victims of A&E. There was talk then and is still talk now of them leaving A&E to start a new reality show on a Christian TV channel. The decision of whether or not to leave may end up being made for them by A&E if the show’s ratings continue to dwindle.
No matter what side of the controversy people are on they are continually talking about the Robertsons and the cast of unique characters in the family remain popular Halloween costume inspirations. Whether people are dressing up as the clan to support them or make fun of them the Duck Dynasty Halloween costumes are flying off the shelves faster than Duck Commanders.
The most recognizable member of the clan after the patriarch Si is his brother Phil, who is married to Kay. Kay’s jet black hair and Phil’s wild backwoods style beard are signature looks for the couple which must be incorporated into any Duck Dynasty costumes. Black wigs and fake beards are must haves for anyone dressing up as this famous couple. In order to fill out the beard you can use spirit glue to add fake hair if you need to exaggerate the look of the beard.
After Phil and Kay the most well-known member of the family is Phil’s son Jase. Jase’s black knit cap and wild beard similar to his father’s and uncle’s beards are signature parts of his unique look. Camouflage clothing and hunting clothing is also a major part of any Duck Dynasty costume along with one of the famous Duck Commander duck calls.
Jase’s brother Willie is also a fan favorite on the show who is often the inspiration for Halloween costumes. Like his brothers and his father and uncle he has a super thick and long beard. He usually wears some type of patriotic dew rag in his wild and unkempt hair. All of the men in the clan grow enormous beards as part of their Fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs. The women are submissive and the family claims to follow a very narrow interpretation of the Bible.