Finally, after a nearly four-month wait, during which we had salary disputes, cast additions, weird guest star appearances and rumors of Willie seeking political office, we can just relax and settle in for another Duck Dynasty recap.
The Robertson family gets back in action with an hourlong episode that seeks to correct an oversight of nearly 50 years ago, when Phil and Miss Kay got married not in a church with all their friends and family, but down-and-dirty style at the Justice of the Peace. Well, as their anniversary approaches, the family — OK, the wives, namely Korie and Jessica — conspire to throw the couple the big wedding they never had.
Willie and Jep don’t really think this sounds like a good idea, fairly certain that Phil would much prefer a knife, a gun, or both. They’d rather sit there continue playing Battleship, which Willie is apparently no good at whatsoever. But Korie quickly turns it around and plays the whole thing off like it’s Willie’s idea, and despite his futile protests, pretty soon they’re planning a wedding.
Our first peek at the Duck Commander warehouse finds Si spinning more stories while Jase is struggling to keep up with Missy’s constant texting about, yes, the surprise wedding. Willie comes in, exhausted, leading the rest of the bunch to accuse him and Jase of being a little bit whipped by their wives. He tries to protest, but then Korie comes in almost immediately afterward and asks (er, sorta asks, sorta demands) for his credit card, which he promptly hands over.
Phil and Kay are just going about their business doing some fishing, She lets Phil know that their 48th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, and he muses about it as though it’s at least a little bit interesting. But he does get serious enough to let Kay know that she’s his “best buddy,” one of many genuinely sweet things he will say to her before the hour is over. She agrees that there’s never been a dull moment.
The wives — Korie, Missy and Jessica — sit the men down and tell them how they are fitting in to the grand nuptial plans. In addition to informing them that they’re all going to have to wear tuxedos, they come up with the idea that Si will play an integral part. It’s his job to distract Phil and Kay while everyone else sets up the wedding at their land. The phone call seems headed for disaster when Phil says they have a surprise planned for them, but his strategy is that if he says there’s a surprise, then Kay is less likely to get suspicious. He will take them out for a drive down memory lane revisiting some of the important places in their lives. Oh, and ice cream.
Of course, Si doesn’t really have much of a real plan, or apparently much real knowledge about Phil and Kay’s past. He takes them to a rundown house where he believes they first met. Phil disagrees, saying he’s never been in front of this “crackhouse” before, and that he and Kay didn’t meet at a house but on the football field. Oh, and Si insists the house belonged to a Debbie Gibson. Yeah, you immediately start thinking about ’80s teenybopper hits, and it’s impressive when Phil seems to be aware of this, too, saying the only Debbie Gibson he knows “sang on a record one time.” But hey, I am thankful for them putting in my head the image of Phil dancing in his bedroom to “Shake Your Love.”
The wedding setup goes about as smoothly as you might expect, with the men acting like every second of decorating — or more accurately, not decorating and waiting for the wives to decide what they should tell them to do — feeling like torture. But then things pick up when a truck pulls in with long church benches in the back, and who should the driver be but Alan Robertson, that fabled fourth Robinson brother we had heard so much about. With an affable, “Hello, bearded brothers,” he enters the show, spouting some of the more unnatural-sounding dialogue in the show’s history. Is this really how this guy talks to his family? Anyway, just a nitpick. Alan is around to perform the ceremony.
Truthfully, the whole wedding setup sequence is a little torturous for the viewers as well. None of it is very funny — unless you like watching bored men getting bossed around by wives with high-pitched voices — and it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Seems pretty obvious they were just padding out the hour with this filler material. Moving on.
Si takes Phil and Kay to a couple other places that turn out to be busts, and they contain no real memories and, perhaps even worse, no ice cream to be found. They do, however, end up with a bunch of fireworks. Which of course screams romance.
A pleasant surprise during the wedding prep is Mountain Man, whom Korie has hired as the … arborist? He’s supposed to make the cool centerpiece for the wedding, but doesn’t seem to be on the same urgent timeline that the ladies have in mind. But wouldn’t you know it, the slow-talking Michelangelo ends up actually doing a pretty good job. If I ever need an arbor, I know who to call.
But the episode really picks up in rather unexpected ways when we get to the actual wedding. Phil ends up not being too put out by the whole fuss being made over the anniversary. In fact, he seems genuinely moved, if you can believe that. From here on out everyone is pretty dang sincere talking about their feelings, and how special they are to each other. It’s especially moving to hear Miss Kay talk to Phil, saying she’s loved him since she was 14. “I loved you when we was poor and you were not so nice. Now you’re really nice and kind.” It’s one of the few times the show has alluded so starkly to Phil’s previous troubles with alcohol, and it works beautifully, enough that we’re more inclined to side with Jep, who starts to tear up, moreso than his brothers who mercilessly tell him to keep it together.
Phil brings it, too, telling Kay again that she’s his best friend, that she helped him raise four healthy, godly men, and that he loves her dearly. It’s about as sweet as Phil gets, but gives you a hint of the kind of man he is underneath. Even Si gets in on the action, delivering a characteristic oddball benediction, filled with humor and heart.
Like any wedding, I guess, there’s a lot of dull setup, but you sorta forget that by the end once the couple walks off happy and in love. And with that, we’re off to what looks like another solid start for Duck Dynasty.
“How do you have kids with all these blanks you been shootin’?” — Jep, taunting Willie during their game of Battleship
“There’s really only one way to convince a Robertson man to do anything. All you gotta do is make him think it’s his idea. Actually, there’s two ways, but I save the other one for special occasions.” — Korie
“Text messaging between males and females … it’s not a fair fight.” Jase
“Butter is whipped. Cream is whipped. Horses are whipped. Willie ain’t whipped. If anything, Korie is whipped by me. … Wait, that came out wrong.” — Willie
“You’re asking me, cheese has no business being on a turkey sandwich.” — Si, complaining about having to wear a tuxedo
“Silas Robertson. He’s the logic vacuum.” — Phil
“It may be odd to call a pastor the black sheep of the family, but that’s what he is.” — Willie, talking about his beardless brother Alan
“That smooth-faced man of God has a black belt in purple nurples.” — Willie
“Si, I think you’ve taken a hard right turn off Memory Lane.” — Phil
Best Segment Titles
Quick Sinkin’, Willie
Texting While Wiving
Photo: © 2013 Credit: Karolina Wojtasik