“Duck Dynasty” airs at 10pm ET Wednesdays on A&E.
Who knows if tonight’s pair of Duck Dynasty episodes will equal last week’s unfathomable 8.6 million audience, but if not, it won’t be because of quality. “Shot Thru the Heart” and “Here Lizard, Lizard” were both prime examples of what continues to make this down-home show a hit, with likable characters, genuinely funny lines and an irresistible charm. Well, maybe Morrissey can resist, but I can’t.
It’s not that Duck Dynasty is my favorite show, by any means. But it’s nice to see that reality shows about families — even if you get the sense it’s all a bit less than “reality” — don’t have to be exercises in buffoonish dumbassery.
“Shot Thru The Heart”
Miss Kay is furiously trying to clean the countertop when Phil comes along and oh-so-helpfully recommends she use turpentine. Turpentine is a magical substance, he claims. Heck, it can take care of rust, stains, rabies, scabies … Phil then gets all metaphorical (he does have a master’s in education, let’s not forget), saying the whole U.S. of A needs some turpentine, starting with “Hollyweird” and working toward New York City. Willie then barges in and informs his parents that for Miss Kay’s birthday he got them a session with high-profile pet photographer Seth Casteel. Phil is predictably incredulous at the notion of a “pet photographer,” saying that’s the degree you get when you’re rejected for aromatherapy. He can only shake his head and say, “America.”
Willie heads home where Korie is attempting to cook spaghetti. While her husband likes to tease her about her cooking skills, or lack thereof, she insists that while she may not be up to Miss Kay’s level in the kitchen, she’s more than capable of making spaghetti. Still, her negligence in taking the wax off the cheese before she grates it doesn’t instill us with confidence. Beyond what they’re eating that night, the household has a bigger crisis brewing, that being John Luke’s recent breakup with his girlfriend Emily. Yet Willie doesn’t immediately grasp the gravity of the situation as he’s preoccupied with opening a very stubborn jar. But once John Luke comes down and says a quick hi-and-bye to the family as he’s heading out the door, they all seem to agree that he’s heartbroken. When Willie lets the guys at the warehouse know the situation, they decide the best thing for John Luke would be a trip out to the woods with the manfolk. Jase is a big believer that nothing lets a girl know you’ve moved on than seeing a dead deer you just shot. The woods was where he always headed he was “wounded,” he says, to which Willie quickly replies, “You spent a lot of time in the woods, didn’t you?”
At the canine photoshoot, the photographer shows up looking like he stepped out of a Hipsters Monthly catalog, which Miss Kay doesn’t seem to mind, but Phil can’t help but notice. How’d you get that hair to stand up like that, Seth? Lots of hairspray? Uh huh. I also notice you’ve got two watches on your arm there, each a different color. Jeans look a little skinny, too. … Yeah, Phil is skeptical from the outset. But despite his initial misgivings, the photoshoot with Miss Kay’s beloved rat terriers J.J. and Bobo turns out pretty well. Sure, Phil has fun with Seth, especially when Seth tries to tease the dogs to a certain position with some organic treats, prompting Phil to bring out his own version of an organic treat — a squirrel he’d just shot (“Don’t get more organic than that”) — but in the end he respects Seth’s ability as a photographer. The money shot ends up being Phil’s recliner being taken outside while the doggie takes his rightful place at the top of the chair, and Miss Kay leans over with a radiant smile and a delicious dish.
Out in the woods, John Luke good-naturedly insists he’s just fine as the Robertson men bombard him with platitudes meant to cheer him up. The most lively discussion occurs when Jase and Willie get bogged down in arguing the specifics of the old “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” saying. With probably 3 billion women in the world, Jase says, John Luke’s odds are pretty good. But Willie says hey, don’t tell the boy there’s 3 billion women he has a shot with. OK, how about 2 billion? 1 billion? Then Si gets in on it, actually naming every kind of fish he can think of.
To add insult to injury, after all that advice and effort, John Luke ends up getting back with Emily via a simple text. “I got a good fish,” he says. “I’m going to keep her.”
Si: “I’ve been happily married for 47 years.” Willie: “Is she happy, too?”
Jase: “Most people would assume that blowing a duck call is easy. But after 30 years of customer service, you would think it requires a master’s degree.”
Miss Kay: “I’m not burying my dogs in my flowerbed.”
Jase: “Nothing tells a girl more that you’ve moved on than a deer in the back of your pickup truck.”
Si: “This is getting a little uncomfortable. Let’s go kill some nutria rats.”
Best Segment Title
“When Nutria Calls”
“Here Lizard, Lizard”
Willie starts off the episode on an important call with a local cop, brushing Si aside as he tries to get his attention. Si is a bit put off by this, saying Willie’s always talking to somebody “important,” as if whatever comes out of Si’s mouth shouldn’t be everyone’s top priority at all times, right? But Willie’s best efforts can’t keep Si from overhearing the officer’s offer for a ride-along, and promptly insinuating himself into the situation.
Elsewhere in the warehouse, Martin has brought in a live specimen from his master’s study, a lizard from Indonesia that they have taken to calling Josey Wales Jr. They get joy feeding the critter some crickets, until the box of insects gets turned over, spilling crickets all over the floor. That won’t be the last creature that runs loose in the warehouse before the day is done.
The ride-along gets off to a rocky start when Willie sees Si show up sporting a flak jacket, and treating it like a custom-made tea glass holder. Si then butts his way into riding shotgun, leaving Willie in the back like a common criminal. Not only is the view not as good, but Willie starts to notice a not-so-nice odor, which Officer McGrew tells him is probably from a perp having let loose some sort of bodily fluid that they hadn’t been able to completely clean. But Willie is willing to endure the indignity, and Si’s obnoxiousness, if it means seeing some real police action. Unfortunately, the most excitement they can muster is using the speed gun to catch some people going 28mph in a 25mph zone. Things perk up a bit, though, when one of the nasty speeders they spot is Missy, Jase’s wife, whose lead foot has her doing 27. The cop is a good sport, saying sure, they can stop her and mess with her a bit. Willie gets on the bullhorn and tells Missy to please step out of the car, then gets out and has a little fun with her. She is relieved and furious at the same time.
The real action is actually back at the warehouse when the guys notice that Josey Wales Jr. has escaped. Despite being expert hunters they can’t find the scaly son of a gun, so they call in Phil, who can’t resist the chance to track some exotic game. Though he’s disappointed this is a capture and not kill mission, he gets into the hunt. He employs the old Louisiana Flour Trap, which involves spreading flour all over floor of the warehouse to track the lizard’s (actually, Martin informs us it’s a rough-necked monitor) steps. Eventually they do find him, and Phil is less than impressed with the size, and the other guys’ fearful reaction to it.
Si: “Look here, when somebody puts me on hold, don’t blame me when my mind starts to wonder.” (After which he begins lifting dumbells and singing “Kung Fu Fighting”)
Willie: “Police officers work in teams of two. They’re partners. Starsky and Hutch, Cagney and Lacey …”
Jase: “Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re smart.”
Si: “This lizard has a chance to do something primal. He needs to draw blood on something in the circle of life. Hey, Hakuna Matata.”
Godwin: “You know what kind of drink Bigfoot orders at the bar? A Fuzzy Navel.”
Si: “We need to put the lethal back in non-lethal weapons.”
Martin: “We can’t kill him. He’s my school project.”
Phil: “These boys couldn’t find their butts with both hands and a flashlight.”
Best Segment Title
“Si Hard With a Vengeance”
Photo: © 2011 Credit: Art Streiber