If nothing else, the guys and girls at Duck Dynasty proved that celebrities don't all have to be cut from the same cloth. Their cloth was camo and it helped them be seen by millions. Sure, their "15 minutes of fame" lasted a little longer and made them a few more million dollars than most people will experience, but their rise to stardom was as improbable as any we’ve ever seen. The Robertsons, the duck-hunting family at the heart of Duck Dynasty, made their way to the upper echelons of pop culture in a hurry, but also began to fade from view almost as quickly. Their unconventional culture, beliefs, and lifestyle served as both the catalyst to launch them into flights of fame and the cause of much negative publicity that frequently sent them spiraling back down to earth in the eyes of public opinion. However, what’s certain is that they were never boring. The natural charisma of the family members proved that their flair for entertainment and their knack for grabbing your attention was more than an accident. Some unlikely stars had been born in Louisiana and a franchise was birthed. Even President Obama admitted that watching Duck Dynasty was one of his guilty pleasures.
However, as uniquely talented and interesting as the Robertsons are, they were still participating in a reality TV show and so things weren’t always exactly as they appeared on screen. Lots of rules had to be followed, plenty of tensions surfaced, and many things that were of supreme importance to the cast were consistently left on the cutting room floor. In addition to the requirements of the producers and editors of the show, the Robertson family had plenty of strict beliefs of their own that played into their on-screen behavior. With these parameters in mind, let’s examine 20 Crazy Rules The Cast Of Duck Dynasty Has To Follow.
20 Grow a beard and never shave it
The perpetually bearded bunch of Robertsons look so at home in their facial hair that we can almost picture them as being born with beards. It’s hard to imagine anything else. But there are plenty of old pictures out there available for a dedicated sleuth to find which prove that those luscious lower locks were not eternally present. But the beards became such a signature feature for the stars that shaving them became unthinkable and counterintuitive. They add a certain ruggedness to the guys that perfectly matches the persona of their characters and supports the image that the TV show built up around them. We might as well try to imagine Gandalf or ZZ Top without their whiskers, or Thor without his hammer. We’re glad they never sheared the beards.
19 Pretend Uncle Si is an eccentric bachelor
Good old Uncle Si willingly takes on the role of the eccentric, wise-cracking uncle whose witticisms often contain veiled nuggets of practical wisdom. And the show certainly gives him endless setups to play the part assigned to him, even if that part doesn’t completely match reality. Uncle Si is usually depicted as a slightly crazy bachelor focused on living the good life and enjoying his independence, but in fact he is a happily married man of more than 40 years. In an interview with US Magazine, Si sheds a little light on his home life and on why his wife never appears on the show. Basically, the reason is a combination of preserving her health and protecting her privacy. And who can blame her for wanting to stay out of the hot spotlight?
18 Don't act or look rich
It doesn’t take more than one or two steps along the path of logic to arrive at the conclusion that the Duck Dynasty stars are probably pretty wealthy. And it’s true. Even before the show came into existence they already ran a very successful business and the highly marketable brand that developed around them increased their net worth exponentially. But so much of their charm and popularity centers around their easy-going, sensible personalities that there’s no reason for them to mess with success. Should they ever start portraying themselves as elite, high-class socialites tossing their money around, it’s pretty safe to say that their fan base would toss a sneer their way before moving on to new favorite celebrities.
17 Be loud about your faith
Anyone familiar with the cast of Duck Dynasty knows that they are proud and vocal about their faith. Their faith is non-negotiable and more than one of them has stood behind a pulpit to deliver a sermon on multiple occasions. They belong to a branch of their faith that views it as their duty to spread their faith and gain converts whenever and wherever possible. The family’s beliefs are pretty much inseparable from their identities and we see zero likelihood of that ever changing. Still, as committed as they are to their faith, they still want to get along; Phil has been quoted several times as saying “We’re all part of one race, the human race.”
16 Don't let on that you're college grads
Despite their outlandish on-screen personalities meant to flirt with the idea of them being rednecks, no credible person has ever accused the stars of Duck Dynasty of being unintelligent. And even if such an epithet were ever thrown their way, it could be easily and readily disproven. Willie and his wife Korie went to college together and each walked away with a degree of their own; Willie, of course, went on to become the successful CEO of Duck Commander. However, Phil holds the highest honors in the family when it comes to college degrees. In addition to being the starting quarterback at Louisiana Tech for two years, Phil walked away from his years in college with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in education.
15 Vote The Same Way
It’s no secret that voters in the South often vote for one party and the Duck Dynasty's setting of Louisiana is about as far south as you can get. So you’re probably not surprised to learn that the cast supports, votes for, and even campaigns for local and national candidates of that party. One-time White House candidate Ted Cruz sat down for an interview with Phil, who endorsed his run for the big office. Willie, on the other hand, stumped for the current man in the big house - another reality tv star enjoying a new level of popularity. Willie further broadcast his affiliation by speaking at their 2016 National Convention, so it should pretty obvious that they want the family to stick to the same kind of voting.
14 Only one type of relationship works...
Phil, the patriarch of the Robertson clan, has landed himself in some hot water by speaking out on this topic and even got suspended from the show for a while because of it. In an interview with GQ, he made some highly controversial comments on the topic, describing it as sinful and illogical, and even comparing it to some other taboo practices which ran pretty far afield from the subject at hand. After serving his suspension, Phil returned with his mind unchanged but his tongue more in check. To his credit, he made efforts at peacemaking after the dust-up, stating “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me.”
13 Don't take too many baths
Baths are considered a mandatory courtesy in a modern society blessed with conveniences like plumbing. However, in reality, bathing is a totally subjective decision based on personal priorities and goals. If hopping in the tub for a few minutes will help you appear more professional or improve a potential human interaction, it can be a great thing. But if someone’s success is directly tied to looking unkempt and appearing eternally woodsy, are they being irresponsible by not bathing or are they just maximizing their assets? In an interview with Men’s Journal, Phil elaborates: “There’s not a lot of personal hygiene going on,” he admits about their daily habits. And with a few million in bank, why should they really care, or care if we care?
12 Don't dip or chew on-screen
Even though the Duck Dynasty cast is pretty strict about what they allow on the show and in their personal lives, there are a couple of habits that they aren’t allowed to exercise in front of the cameras. A big one is tobacco use. Though none of the guys smoke, they do enjoy dipping snuff, which Phil taught them how to do from a young age. He explains why: “When you’re dealing with young men, for lack of a better term, it’s best… to make sure they stay men, give them a little chewing tobacco from time to time. Spitting on the ground is a sign of maleness in our culture down here.” We’ve seen just about everything else about their lives on tv, but not this.
11 Pray, but don't say use certain words
As devoutly religious people, the Robertsons genuinely love to pray and take every available opportunity to do so. In fact, they view it as their mission to spread their faith and set an example of it to everyone they can reach. But one small detail that you “don’t know until you know” is that the editors cut out the phrase “In Jesus’s name” at the end of all their prayers. Saying this closing sentence is a standard for prayers and the Robertsons have made it clear that they always say it even if it gets cut. Some may call it censorship, some religious persecution, and some being pc, but it’s most likely a pretty common effort at universal inclusiveness.
10 No more substances
These days, everyone on the cast of Duck Dynasty agrees they shouldn't use illegal substances, but it wasn’t always so. Several of the cast members navigated the rough waters of substance abuse in the past, but have since sworn it off for good. These difficulties are certainly no secret; in fact, the guys affected are eager to share how they overcame their addictions with the help of their faith. Both Phil and Jep have opened up about their histories: “It got pretty ugly there,” Jep recalls. “...I pretty much did anything that was put in front of me… To be honest with you, I don’t know what I took.” We’re all glad they cleaned things up, but illegal substances are a definite taboo for the cast these days.
9 Don't curse, even though the editors might pretend you did
The members of the Duck Dynasty cast scrupulously avoid cursing as one part of their overall lifestyle choices; they did their best to leave it behind when they said goodbye to various other vices. But they ran into a little conflict with the makers of the show after watching an episode peppered with several audible “bleeps” which indicated that some cursing had been censored. The issue? They hadn’t done any cursing. This insinuation naturally peeved the cast, as they try very hard to set a consistent example of conservative living and swearing would have run counter to that. So according to the Robertsons, if you hear a bleep during an episode of the show, don’t believe it!
8 Be faithful
The Duck Dynasty crew has some definite opinions about marriage and they aren’t afraid to share them. Though Phil raised some eyebrows with his recommendations about the right age for young people to get married, he didn’t stop relating his advice to the world. In a now famous speech at the CPAC, Phil gave some dire warnings to the crowd: “One hundred and ten million Americans now have a transmitted illness… I don’t want you, America, to get sick. I don’t want you to become ill. I don’t want you to come down with a debilitating disease. I don’t want you to [go] early!” Describing these diseases as “the revenge of the hippies,” Phil went on to encourage monogamy.
7 Prepare for "spiritual warfare" with the producers
There’s bound to be a culture clash when Hollywood comes to Louisiana. For viewers, the juxtaposition of the two lifestyles was a big part of the show’s charm, but the cast members had a slightly different perspective - especially whenever they found themselves mired in some kind of controversy. Their assessment of many of the conflicts and differences of opinion was summed up in one phrase: “spiritual warfare.” Whether it was being asked to speak in less specific terms about their spiritual beliefs or pressured to apologize for controversial remarks about those with whom they disagreed, the folks of Duck Dynasty frequently believed they were being attacked or discriminated against for their beliefs. Still, the show enabled them to share their beliefs with millions, so it can’t be all bad.
6 Don't get too selfish for personal fame
The newly famous Robertsons were surely as surprised as anyone at being catapulted to worldwide fame. As charismatic and savvy as they clearly are, it’s pretty safe to say that they didn’t start out with aspirations of being pop culture superstars. Though they were clearly up to the task of maintaining their popular personas, many cast members were not entirely at home in the spotlight and tried to carve out plenty of private time for themselves. Willie, the CEO of Duck Commander seemed to be the best marketing strategist and was always looking for creative new elements to add to the show. But this reportedly caused some tension with other family members who were less eager to bathe in a brighter spotlight. Though they probably made some personal sacrifices for the sake of family, the ones who wanted to make a name for themselves certainly succeeded.
5 No more drinking
Several of the Robertson family members are totally open about their past problems with substance abuse. They are always willing to share how they overcame their addictions and got back on the straight and narrow. Si, for one, faced some dark days serving as a soldier in Vietnam, and admitted to drinking to forget where he was and how bad the circumstances there were. Kudos to Si for coming through the tough times and sticking to his tea these days! Phil also had a stint running a bar and drinking a bit too much in the process. Phil credits his faith for helping him to overcome his substance abuse and refrain from bending the old elbow to this day.
4 Stick to the script
Duck Dynasty is a reality TV show, which conjures for some people the image of a camera casually follows folks around, passively watching as they go about their everyday lives. But as with most shows like this, Duck Dynasty is in fact equal parts “reality” and “TV.” The bare essentials are certainly true – the Robertsons are a family in Louisiana who love duck hunting. But there’s no denying that certain other elements of their lives are embellished to make for compelling entertainment. The cast members themselves have referred to the show as “guided reality”, meaning that the producers and creators basically write a scenario that could plausible occur and then have the Robertsons act it out to completion.
3 Talk about their faith, even if it gets cut
The Robertson family is pretty clear about their intentions for the show: while they love duck hunting and want to build their business and brand, they also view the show as a vehicle to spread their faith and values. Phil elaborates in an interview: “They pretty much cut out most of the spiritual things. We say them, but they just don’t run them on the show… Hollywood has run upon the kingdom of God and there’s a rub there. Well, we have to be as harmless as a dove and as shrewd as a snake in the way we deal with them.” Even if their comments about faith don’t often make it onto the show, it can’t be denied that they’ve found a massive audience off the screen.
2 Uncle Si always has to have his cup of tea nearby
Anyone who's ever watched Duck Dynasty for very long knows Uncle Si, the eccentric dispenser of stories, wisdom, and jokes And everyone who's ever seen Uncle Si has noticed his ubiquitous plastic cup of tea - a perfect conversation starter. Where did he get it? "My mama sent me that to me [sic] when I was in Vietnam—she put it in a boot and then put two jars of jalapeno peppers in each boot. I love my jalapeno peppers.” How much tea does he drink? “I drink two gallons a day.” But here’s the real surprise about this southern gentleman’s beverage of choice - it’s unsweet tea. This is probably a rarity in the state of Louisiana, but not in Uncle Si’s iconic cup.
1 Be obsessed with duck hunting
Perhaps the most important rule for the cast of Duck Dynasty to follow? Love ducks and duck hunting. Think about ducks. Dream about ducks. Talk about ducks… You get the idea. Now, this isn’t totally fake - Duck Commander was a highly successful business before a single A&E camera ever found them. However, in order to create an authentic reality show, the cast had to live out their interests in the form of an obsession. An audience unfamiliar with the ways of the duck hunting trade needed full immersion into the lives of a believably dedicated bunch of folks who are passionate about what they do. That authentic, if embellished, passion is surely what kept people interested for so long.
Which of these surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!