I have a couple of friends who simply can’t get enough of these shows - you know, Storage Wars, Swamp People, Duck Dynasty, Full Throttle Saloon, Lizard Lick Towing, etc. Whenever I visit them, they have literally dozens of episodes on their DVR and by Crom, they want to watch them ALL THE FRIGGIN’ TIME. The themes are pretty much all the same; rednecks arguing, getting into fights, having domestic squabbles, etc., and some of them are so blatantly scripted it’s even more painful to watch.
Obviously, these shows appeal to SOME demographic, and I’m not it. Can someone explain to me what the appeal of these shows is supposed to be? Are they meant to be marketed toward actual rednecks, who might watch and find something they can relate to in the characters and situations (and ubiquitous fights), or are they meant to be watched primarily by non-rednecks (I can’t think of a better term), who might see them as something to laugh at (“Ha! Those idiot rednecks are fighting again!”) or even something akin to “observing the American Redneck in his natural habitat”?
That’s it. They are a modern minstrel show, the entertainers are providing exactly what they know the audience wants: dumb, inferior people to laugh at and reinforce the audience’s belief in their superiority. Using black people for this is unacceptable to modern tastes, but rural people are fair game. There aren’t many groups that still considered acceptable to prejudge and mock in our society, hence the concentration of “redneck” shows.
And as far as I can tell (understanding that I don’t watch those shows), the purpose is to give people something they can laugh at and feel superior to. “Man, we may be losing the house and in debt up to our eyeballs but at least we’re not like THOSE people!”
The appeal to the viewer or the appeal to the network? To the network they seem very cheap to make. I don’t know about the viewer since I’ve only seen a handful of Storage Wars episodes and none of the Duck/Trucker/Honey BooBoo/5 year old beauty pagents/Gypsy/Bigfoot hunting ones.
Yeah, Storage Wars is decidedly upscale with slick Dave and hoity-toity Barry.
That said, you forgot a third group that loves these shows: Sorta-rednecks that are more or less regular middle class people who live a little further out in the sticks and enjoy watching real rednecks because they’re similar to people they grew up with/know currently.
Operation Repo’s fights are like that. But what’s odd is that acting is really bad, so it makes me wonder if they started off trying to do reality shows and then had to “juice” them up but didn’t want to change the cast.
I don’t watch any of those mentioned, but I will admit I’ve watched the first few episodes of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” which is about a trailer park in Myrtle Beach, SC. It’s the greatest show I’ve ever seen.
I cannot stand storage wars, swamp people, honey boo boo, etc… I’ve never even heard of half the shows listed.
But I have to disagree about Duck Dynasty. Have you watched it? It is hysterical. But it is really just because of the family interactions (that seem very typical of every family, i.e., uber-competetive siblings, crazy uncle, bored teenagers). The redneck part of it is just a backdrop, and quite frankly, most of the tension comes from the competing interests of running a multimillion dollar company, and at the same time, keeping your family grounded whilst living a multimillion dollar life. Most of the laughs come from them teasing eachother or making fun of themselves. They actually seem like quite lovely people, and genuinely funny. The patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, was a football phenom who started over Terry Bradshaw, but quit football after being drafted because it interfered with duck season. Their story is about as “american dream” as you can get.
Anyway, I love this show. I even bought a duck commander hat for myself for Christmas.
This is my favorite also. If you’re looking for the “Goober actin’ a fool” show, you won’t see that with Duck Dynasty. Once you get past the visuals - beards, camo clothes, outdoor activities - they are a rather solid group of people.