'Duck Dynasty' Recap: Move Over Phil Robertson, There Are New Kids in Town

Duck Dynasty Phil RobertsonThe moment Duck Dynasty fans were afraid would never come arrived tonight. Just one month after A&E suspended star Phil Robertson for his racist and homophobic remarks in an interview with GQ, the cable network aired the premiere of season 5. And hammering home their investment in the Dynasty, the network introduced two new cast members -- Rebecca Robertson and John David Owen.

So now for the big question -- did the Robertson family use their return to TV to address the dark cloud hanging over their heads?

The short answer is "No."

But A&E certainly sent a message with the premiere. Not only was it a double header, with two 30-minute episodes back-to-back, but the family's scandal-plagued patriarch was front and center in each. Phil appeared in the opening scene of the first episode and closed out the second with one of the family's famous prayers.

Phil did not, however, carry each episode with his own storyline. Along with the regular cast of characters -- from dopey Uncle Si to oft-disgruntled Jase -- fans were treated to two newbies who dictated much of the hijinks.

And hijinks indeed abounded.

In that sense, nothing on Duck Dynasty has changed. The show has a formula that its fans adore, and A&E knows better than to mess with it.

Something big happens. The family gets together to either deal with it or celebrate. Things go wrong. Jokes get told. They pray. The end.

And so it was tonight, with the exception of the new cast members being brought in for a little scenery change.

Perhaps it was simply coincidence, but it was hard not to notice that both Rebecca and John David are about as far from Phil as you can get and still be connected to the Robertson clan, particularly Rebecca.

She was introduced in the first of the night's episodes as Willie and Korie's daughter who they adopted after she came to spend time as a foreign exchange student in West Monroe. Originally from Taiwan, Rebecca has spent the last two years in LA (as Willie says, Los An-guh-leez) studying fashion, and now the 24-year-old is a boomerang kid moving back in with mom and dad.

Dressed to the nines, with a little dog in a little purse, Rebecca looked more like an Asian Paris Hilton than a Louisiana redneck.

And then there's John David, a relative of Korie's who was front and center on the second episode of the night, taking a gig as Willie's new assistant (or as Jase called him, his manny). He's got the beard, and when he threw on a flag bandanna, John David passed for a younger Willie Robertson.

Emphasis on the younger. Dressed in a pair of flimsy flip-flops and quoting stoner flick Nacho Libre ad nauseum, John David is clearly several generations past Phil. And you know what they say about each generation being substantially more progressive than the last?

Then again, maybe any hints of a changing of the guard were less about moving way from Phil's backward ways and more of an attempt to appeal to younger, more progressive viewers who were driven away by the old man's hate speech.

The fact is, tonight's premiere was simply another Duck Dynasty episode that was much like every other Duck Dynasty episode that's aired in seasons 1 through 4.

If you are charmed by such sage bits of advice as "May you never barf up your gumbo" and "What redneck doesn't want a butler?" then surely you loved it.

If you were hoping, however, for a real sign of change from the Robertsons, the Duck Dynasty premiere was not the place to find it.

Were you surprised the family didn't address the controversy head on? What did you think of the premiere?


Image via Gurney Productions

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nonmember avatar Uncle chael

This article is ridiculous. First off, there isnt a lot of people who are really fans of the show that were actually "turned off" by what Phil said. So this idea that they are using the new guy to appeal to progressives is utter nonsense, and a sign that you are reading way to deeply into it and looking for something that isnt there. I cant say thats surprising though, considering you are clearly one of the few who actually took what Phil said out of context and are trying to spin it into "hate speech". Thats pretty much the modus operandi for liberals/progressives in todays society when somebody holds a different opinion than they do. Just paint them as a racist, homophobe, misogynist, or call them a Nazi (my personal favorite). Also, the title of this blog is "tv addict". Shouldnt a tv addict actually know that the show was already taped? Why would they address the media frenzy that took place when it hadnt even happened at that point?

sassy... sassykat122

amen to above comment. GET OVER IT JEANNE. Not everyone holds the same views as you and you don't get to silence them because you don't agree. From the moment this mini- scandal broke i knew the Robertson clan would land on their feet. They have never hidden what they believe and Phil has been preaching for years. These episodes were filmed before the scandal so there would have been no addressing it anyways. And if you don't like what the Robertson clan says or stands for THEN DON'T WATCH.

belon... belongs2Jesus

Get over it.....He believes GOD that is not fear   and there was NOTHING for them to address.


You people of tolerance are so intolerant and ignorant.

nonmember avatar b

The first 15 episodes were already shot, well before the "trumped up controversy".

2cent... 2centsCDN

Imagine my surprise when I saw a Duck Dynasty recap on the Stir! I don't believe I've ever seen that before. Now I understand, you were only watching for the controversy.

Couple things you should know, since clearly you're not a fan and haven't seen much of the show before. TV shows are filmed months in adavnced, there's no way these two new people were introduced to move Phil out of the spotlight. There is no need for "hints of a changing of the guard" since the show has never been just about Phil. Also, new episodes have almost always appeared back to back since they are a half hour each.

fave82 fave82

We should all thank Jeanne for watching the show and contributing to their ratings!

nonmember avatar Mary O

I dont think it should have been address. Phil gave his personal opinion based on his beliefs. What happened to tolerance. We are taught to be toleranct but where is the tolerance from the other side. This is not a one way street.

lulou lulou

The important thing here is to remember we must all judge levels of fandom, like one does with superiority complexes about their religious beliefs.  Perhaps start with chia pet collections.

nonmember avatar Uncle chael

Hey Jeanne, would you care to respond to a few holes in your "in depth" and oh so insightful anaylsis of the season premiere?

As I and others have stated, the show was filmed months in advance , so why would they have responded to something that hadnt happened at that point? That inconvenient truth also blows your theory about the new characters being introduced in response to people being "turned away by the old mans hate speech" .

Then there is the very first line of the article...Really? Did you even bother to research the controversy before jumping on the bandwagon to drive people to your blog? A&E said from day one that this was already filmed and Phil would be on this season. So why would fans fear this day would never come? You also fail to mention that they dropped the suspension anyway. So the point was moot to begin with.

You may think people like the Robertsons are "backwards", but honestly what do you know? You are just another blogger in a sea of opinions on the web, and you really arent even that good at it considering how many facts you completely missed. If the internet didnt exist you would be lost. Phil Robertson grew up with nothing and lived off the land. He could have played in the NFL and started ahead of Terry Bradshaw at QB in college, but he gave up football and built a multi million dollar business with a duck call he invented. So yeah, if Phil is "backwards" what does that make you?

2cent... 2centsCDN

@Lulou are you saying that in order to be a fan you must share their religious views? I'm trying to understand your comment.

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