Dear ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fans: You Do Know It’s All Fake, Right?

Duck Dynasty Premiere Ratings

Like other sitcoms, the Robertsons we see on TV are shaped and edited characters

Amid the turmoil caused by the suspension of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson in relation to an interview he gave with GQ, an outpouring of support has emerged from those defending the bearded A&E star.

Which only prompts one to wonder whether these people really know whom exactly it is they’re defending.

However real and natural it might appear, “Duck Dynasty” is a sitcom. Not all the dialogue is written, but as even the Robertsons freely admitted on the “Today” show, “They come up with ideas and we just get to be ourselves in the situation.”

So while Robertson can be taken at his word that he’s a man of faith, the character that people know from TV is just that: A character.

Other websites, some with way too much time on their hands, have meticulously detailed the staging that goes into the show. But suffice it to say that the Robertsons have thrived in part because they and their producers have been adept at making themselves seem authentic. As one reality TV producer suggested when discussing the show, even if the situations are all phony, you couldn’t create those guys.

Still, the full-throated defense on behalf of the Robertsons primarily reflects two things: The very effective tactic of making Christians feel like they are disrespected and persecuted by the mainstream media; and most germane to this discussion, the sorry lack of media literacy in the U.S., where people might insist they’re in on the gag, but if they’re seeing something on TV, they tend to assume it’s true.

At this point, the “Duck Dynasty” story has taken on a life of its own, propelled by the political aspects of the standoff – pitting anti-gay-rights conservatives against “liberal Hollywood” – and the good (or bad) fortune of happening right before Christmas, when everyone’s starved for something to talk and write about.

Yet while many of those who watch “Duck Dynasty” no doubt feel like they know the Robertsons, these characters are shaped – through editing and writing – in virtually the same way “The Big Bang Theory” or “Modern Family” is. So the guy you see, as colorful as he is, isn’t necessarily the real-life version.

And guess what? There’s no Tooth Fairy, either.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 280

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. BR says:

    The article did nothing to explain why you think it’s fake. Not that I support the show, it’s garbage

  2. Krazymoma says:

    I beg to differ!!! I personally have met them , went to church as Phil was preaching! That’s hog wash

  3. Eric McMinn says:

    So what if not all real. Better to watch this as to a bunch of young people on different types of so called reality shows Getting drunk having sex and just acting like idiots. How embarrassing for their families! What people will do for a buck!

  4. Cathy says:

    Don’t care if situations are written for the show. They are funny and clean and love the Lord. Who doesn’t ham it up for the camera.

  5. Dixie Cyrus says:

    No shit Sherlock!!! Duh!! We fans of the show know this and the Robertsons are honest about it. They are all,with the exception of “Unca Si, college graduates. Si served his country,can you say the same? The children are respectful of their elders. They are not elitist punks thinking they can do or say anything with out consequences. They are a great American family that loves this country,unlike idiots such as Kanya West,who say they hate the country that made them. F U.

  6. Terry Eckiss says:

    But rasslin is steel reel, rite???? I guess Brian Lowry just figured this out.

    • Gerri says:

      Most characters on TV are scripted and shaped. Do you think Lucille Ball was really that dingy? Give me a break. And the most fake of them all are “Reality” stars. Give it up. It is time the Christians won one. If you don’t want to watch. Don’t

  7. Eburns says:

    I happen to know them personally and the show is exactly how they are in real life the only staging they do is calming them down so that they can get a shot other than that it’s them being themselves yes sometimes they get out of hand like not wanting to talk to the camera while they’re on a duck hurt and I don’t want to stop what they’re doing so the cameras can get a different angle

  8. It’s getting really bad when you choose to down this show. We like this show and it’s people and care less about your enlightenment. By the way,Trump for President

    • nexalist says:

      This column would not have been written if Phil Robertson hadn’t rightly pointed out that marriage doesn’t have anything to do with homosexuality.

      • Eburns says:

        Yes it would have the world is targeting Christians right now what do you think there was a shooting at a college in the man specifically said stand up if you’re Christian and then said you get to meet God now and shot them that is why this column was written because he’s a Christian that is not going to keep his mouth shut he is preaching his beliefs in the word the way he is supposed too

  9. Bobby says:

    Brain lowry you need to shut up about duck dynasty they are not hurting anyone and a lot of people can relate to them . people like you don’t have a life of their own so they start talking about someone else that might be the reason you are not popular .

  10. Brian Rasor says:

    Haters gonna hate ! Poor Variety… you didn’t really think your 8th grade Psychology would work did you?

  11. Peggy Ritter says:

    Writing an article like you’re letting out a big secret that’s going to make everyone hate the Robertson men is ridiculous. Of course the guys on “Duck dynasty” didn’t always look like they do now. I don’t look like I did 10-15 years ago either. No one does. They’ve changed their looks to promote their products and appeal to the public on a tv program. Big Deal! No one cares and it’s working for them. The one thing that is real is their faith in God and their strength as a family. And by the way, Phil and Kay still live in the same house they’ve lived in for years. And the beards and hair are are real.

  12. Nancy Baker says:

    So what? Even fake, scripted or whatever it is more fun and wholesome than many of the so-called sit-coms.

  13. This is why when I was approached by Hollywood offering me a chance at my own reality TV SHOW after seeing my youtube presentations jerry W hulse trucker evangelist that I did not jump because I did not want to become a character in some body’s mind but the true Evangelist God called me to be.

  14. kim legaspi says:

    Man. I miss good journalism.

  15. some guy says:

    you know a lot of major life events families care about are heavily scripted… graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries.. most things worth celebrating we put on a bit of a show for. people act differently at these kinds of events but they still represent themselves just fine.

    obviously duck dynasty is more scripted than a security camera and less than wrestling. there’s no sensible reason to throw any concern on it, they’re just exaggerating their own character traits.

  16. Ricky Hargrove says:

    All reality shows I’ve seen have the appearance of being faked and scripted. “Reality” in itself is usually quite boring with rare exceptions of excitement, so a reality show in its true sense would never hold the viewership to keep it on the air.

  17. Marshall Weyer says:

    This is a poor article. The issue here is not whether the character is genuine. It is an issue over free speech. People should be able to say whay they wish.

  18. edison marquez says:

    It is just like the mainstream media telling you that the Kool Aid tastes so good and you became addicted to it. Even if they will tell you ten lies, you will still consider it as the “truth”. Aren’t you part of the mainstream media?

  19. JWarren says:

    Fake like caring about gay rights until it costs money?

  20. Tom Mac says:

    Brian Lowry seems to have a stout grasp on obtuse. Only a idiot could have posted this article which encapsulates everything that is wrong with the bi-coastal elites.

  21. SSR Member says:

    The dumbing down of America continues…the double standard sheeple will fall for anything….I wonder how Stuey, Peter Griffen and Quagmire feel about this controversy …Welcome to Mamby Pamby Land, Jackwagon’s !

  22. amy says:

    You are quite possibly the stupidest person on the planet. You understand NOTHING. Idiot!

  23. Tony Batchelor says:

    You don’ know any of this to be fact,the real fact remains in this article is that you feel the need to be in on the action otherwise this would have been written a year ago! regardless of staging on the show or not and I belive all shows have to have some direction to it,IE the director!please try to prove Phil is not a christian,good luck. Phil told the truth according to God’s Word when he said men sleeping with men is a sin!

  24. AntiChristianbigotsaredishonest says:

    Brian Lowry, Are you intentionally dishonest, or are you so confused that you think the anger over A&E’s response to GLAAD’s religious bigotry is related to the characters on the show? In case you have lived your life in a cave, let me explain something to you. There are many TV and film stars in the world. They often give interviews. In these interviews, they are asked questions, and they respond as themselves, not as their character (unless they are trying to win the “eccentric as Marlon Brando” award, like Joaquin Phoenix).

  25. ConservativesAreSad says:

    Before and after pics of your conservative “heros” pre hillbilly-drag phase:

  26. ConservativesAreSad says:

    LOLOLOL if you click on that link below you will see that someone has crossposted this article to a known conservative anger website, and now all the commenters are coming on over here to point out that YOU CAN TRUST TERRY BRADSHAW. You people defending him are being scammed hard, so so funny. :D

  27. ConservativesAreSad says:

    AHAHAHAHAHA the conservative commenters on this website talking about this article are the absolute FUNNIEST EVER

  28. GARY says:

    .. and the utter denial of people here!! Denial that you have been suckered in… you KNEW is fake? So why are people apoplectic about a sitcom???? Please…… you look like fools and cant admit it..

  29. GARY says:

    for ll of you who say… “it doesnt matter” are even dumber an you want to think! u have been led into believing its real.. its not… based on that false assumption… you are writing congressmen, ptitionoing TV stations and resteraunts… and its all A PUBLICITY PLOY!!! The Marketing of “American values” FOR PROFIT!!! you are suckers!! You might as well be spending our hard earned money on THE KARDASHIANS!!!

  30. TheKnowerseeker says:

    “And guess what? There’s no Tooth Fairy, either.” — A final swipe at God / Christians from an atheist author?

  31. Doug says:

    I predict the Duck dynasty will leave A&E after a financial settlement to end their contract with A&E is hammered out. The Robertson’s are very wealthy and can actually buy out their contract. They already have a hunting show on the Outdoor Channel, and they have the red states buying up DD stuff in a frenzy. The Robertson’s also are Church of Christ, God fearing believers, who really do sing gospel songs while hunting but we don’t see that stuff on the show. I do believe they will give up the show for religious, and family reasons. They have speaking engagements all through next year, and they are hardly home with their children. I do think they will quit the show and even though there will be a hit on their wealth, it will be made back by sales to Red State folks and their speaking engagements along with the Duck and Buck Commander business which will still sell DD merchandise as good or better than today. Conservatives will snap their stuff up in support of the Robertson’s. It will be win-win for the Robertson’s. No more Hollywood types telling them what to say and they can get back to their roots in the swamps of Louisiana in the friendly territory of the Bible belt, plus have more time with their families. All of the Robertson’s know that the show will not last forever even before Phil’s interview by GQ.

  32. Lee Wacker says:

    Whoever thinks we ordinary folks are stupid enough to believe anything that comes out of Hollywood to be the truth, is themselves stupid!
    WE know the difference, and one nice thing about the Robertsons is that they already had a lot of money before they became Reality Show “Stars!” Of course, the dialogue is written, of course, most of the situations are created, that is the way it is done–mainly because we ordinary people have mundane, ordinary lives, and the Robertsons are no different, other than their bank accounts!
    I think Brian is jealous.

  33. Elmer Stoup says:

    Brian: Can’t believe you think we folks in flyover are stupid enough to believe Hollywood “reality shows” are real. We figured that out a long time ago.

  34. j says:

    LOL, the moderators at Variety have some thin skins. Couldn’t handle the push-back, I see. Almost none of the forty+ comments you removed criticizing your columnist were out-of-bounds.

    Welcome to reality, moderators. Fly-over country has a lot of people who aren’t amused by your kind’s bigotry.

  35. I knew the family was prejudice when
    They aired the first show .Hill billies never think they are wrong about anything.
    First. Only god knows who will enter the kingdom of heaven . You can quote the bible all day long, but only god knows who you are

  36. fairportfan says:

    Han Solo’s First Law: “Sincerity is all-important. Once you learn to fake that, you’ve got it made.”

    I’d say the Robertsons have it made.

  37. jim says:

    I will tell you what is NOT real here, Brian Lowerys ideal of reality.

    • John R Schuh says:

      Terry Bradshaw –on Leno-gives his opinion about Phil Robertson.Look it up on Youtube. He thinks Phil is the real article, a very eccentric guy from the day one, but nothing if not sincere.

  38. jo so phine says:

    It’s not real?! You’re kidding! Writers like this think too highly of themselves.

  39. I really don’t understand the point of this piece. Most of the “news” in Variety is simply staged PR posing as news. In fact, most of everything you see in print and on television is completely scripted and crafted. Should we just stop reading and watching all of it?

    Oh. Hey, good point!

  40. ldenton says:

    “They come up with ideas and we just get to be ourselves in the situation.” Then, you say these “characters are shaped – through editing and writing – in virtually the same way “The Big Bang Theory” or “Modern Family”. So, which is it, genius?

  41. The Klown says:

    I have to wonder if the author ever wrote a similar column regarding Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, Survivor and/or The Bachelor?

    Is it only Duck Dynasty fans that need to be condescended to?

    FYI: I have never watched the show. I just found the author’s tone to be very revealing.

  42. Greg says:

    Editorial Writers: Ah, guess what? Nothing you have written here has anything to do with the situation with A&E(idiot!!!). Phil Robertson is who he is and he believes what he believes and has every right to say what he believes and if A&E wants to cut their own throats by pandering to the gay groups(a relative minority in this country still), let’em. They are the losers, not Phil Robertson or God or Jesus or Christianity! Phil Robertson is a very loving and caring and generous man, probably more so than any of the A&E execs that made this tragic decision.

  43. Ok, listen up you Rubes, Hayseeds, Bible thumping boobs, and all you Not-In-On-It-People;
    the good folks at VARIETY; that rag that prints five thousand word paens to the industry where people are paid to counterfeit emotions, events, real peple and all manner of fantasies; have descended from their Pierian heights and condenscended to address the Great Unworthy Ones; you and me; on what is real and what isn’t.
    The Three Stooges are dead so this might be your best chance for a good laugh in a while.

  44. Yes, Virginia says:

    As we’ve learned from the backlash against Phil Robertson’s GQ interview, throughout which an A&E exec was entirely present, A&E doesn’t script everything. They’re called “production notes” and even the great unwashed masses in flyover land have heard of them.

  45. Ken schwab says:

    So what else is new? If not “shaped” the show would be as boring as you are! So let me get this straight: you are suggesting that if not “shaped” by this show’s producers, ole Phil Robertson wouldn’t have any defenders because if not for the A&E patina would people care listen to him? That about it?

    Well, A&E patina notwithstanding, I kind of agree with Phil’s take on homosexuality. I don’t agree with GLADD or the loud minority of intolerant heterophobes in the Artsy Fartsy communities.

    Oh no. I should have Neptune my mouth shut. No GLADD will scream to cancel my “shaped” reality show

  46. Cynicism (and jealousy) is unbecoming for a reporter, regardless what you learned at the Mark Twain University.

  47. Nexialist says:

    I have watched this program from the very beginning. It is like watching grass grow, then someone says or does something that elicits a chuckle. And you always feel like the family is in on the joke and in fact turns the tables on the PC crowd. What I object to is directors, writers, and actors on local, network, and cable TV who have utter disdain for my values. I just change the channel. But groups like GLAAD want to keep me from watching the content they don’t like.

  48. ender1138 says:

    In other words, “don’t believe your lying eyes and ears…the crude and ignorant stereotype that A&E originally attempted to pass off of the Robertsons (and by extension middle america (or as you might know it “fly-over country”)), and the most of the media establishment (including Variety) propagates is more accurate than reality”. This whole piece reads like a bad case of projection; attempting to enforce Leftist groupthink (and the narratives that make it up) and lash out at the “others” who are strongly offended and disagree with those narratives.

More TV News from Variety