Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Southerners on TV

In recent months, I've begun to take notice of a pattern in the media, most notably television, in which the Southerner is depicted as something altogether different than the normal man. And by 'different', I mean 'STRANGE.'  At first, it would seem interesting to look in to the lives of those who live in The South, but then you see the show and one begins to think "Gee, are ALL southerners like this?"

I'm referencing a group of television shows (REALITY shows) which show a group of Southerners doing things that the rest of us just would not do.  Shows like these:

DUCK DYNASTY:  Though I haven't seen this show, I am able to glean from the commercials that it is about a couple of good ol' boys who turned a love of duck hunting into a million dollar business selling duck calls.  What I get from the commercials is that the guys would rather go duck hunting than run their business. Lots of big beards and hi-jinks ensue.

BAYOU BILLIONAIRE$:  This is the story of a man named Jed, out shootin' for some food, just to keep his family fed...  Oops. Sorry.  In a modern day rags to riches story, Bayou Billionaires tells the story of the Dowdens of Shreveport, La. -- a hardworking family of modest means who recently discovered their home sits on the fourth largest deposit of natural gas in the United States.  And that tag line says it all.  "They were always crazy..."  It seems the crazy antics of southern folks seem to make good television. Hijinks and uncouthery ensue.  (Is uncouthery a word?  Yes, I think it is...)


SWAMP PEOPLE:  Though it sounds more like a low budget horror movie, this is a show about a small group of people who make a living out on the swamp hunting one of the most dangerous creatures in North America: alligators.  Using nothing but their bare hands and hooks and high test line, these men - and women - catch hundreds of 'gaters each season (and the season only lasts 30 days!) Most importantly, we meet some really unusual characters, not the least of which are a couple of brothers who look like they just stepped out of that aforementioned low budget horror flick. 

Though all three of these shows take place not just in the south, but in Louisiana; there are others such as "Hillbilly Handfishin'" and a new show called "Coal" which are from other areas of the south.  Though I am in the South (and as we all know, not FROM the south) it seems important to note that though these folks may appear a bit odd (such as the aforementioned brothers) these are the salt of the swamp (so to speak).  Folks for whom the swamp is how they make their living, it is a part of their life. 

There is a lot of the South in these shows, but I caution the viewers to realize that these are not indicative of ALL southerners.  (I haven't caught a gater in...well, ever!)   It's the producers of these shows that want you to see these people and in some regards, hold them up to ridicule.  AND, since I have just read that the producers of Jersey Shore are looking for a bunch of southern rednecks for a NEW reality show about the south, I think we can venture a guess that this is a bit closer to the truth. Apparently Unusual = Good TV.  Strange and Wildly Weird = Great TV. These TV Producers will decide what your view may be of the South or Southern Rednecks or at least what it is on these shows.  TV.  Yeah...

Don't mistake my confusion with disdain for these fine Southern folks, for their traditions or for anyone from The South.  I really have no problems with these people or their shows and my wife and I are regular viewers of Swamp People.  My disdain is set squarely on those aforementioned producers who feel that 'Crazy' and 'Southern' go hand in hand and holding them up for ridicule is merely a way of making money.

I prefer to see these fine folks for the good suthun folks that they are.  Unusual, yes.  Different than the rest of us, most assuredly. I just don't want the rest of the world thinking that these are your regular me....or like I'd like to be...Or...oh never mind...

1 comment:

  1. doug, LOVE THIS BLOG... will have to peruse it extensively.. i am a born and bred southerner and do i have stories!! lucy