A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty heads into season three as the most watched reality show on cable, solidifying America’s recent obsession with redneck culture (see Honey Boo Boo, Buck Wild, Moonshiners, Myrtle Manor, Swamp People, Swamp Pawn, etc.). The camo-clad Robertson clan at the bull’s-eye of Duck Dynasty went from rags to more rags thanks to success with their Louisiana-based duck-call business, Duck Commander. As you might expect, a family banking on hunting gadgets spends most of their time in the brush, either hunting, fishing, talking about hunting and fishing, breaking up beaver dams (the duck hunter’s arch nemesis), and bringing their kill back to matriarch Ms. Kay for her to fry it up in a pan. Like many reality shows, what started out as naturally funny situations have been manhandled into producer-prodded plotlines and poorly delivered catchphrases meant to sell merch. But throughout the three seasons, one character has remained the show’s saving grace: Uncle Si, a wiry, gray-ponytailed Vietnam vet with an ever-present plastic cup of iced tea in hand and weird wisdom to spare. Below, a collection of Silus Robertson observations.
“There ain’t nothin’ finer than rich frogs’ legs taken off of a fine golf course.” — Season one, episode four
Si and his brother Phil sneak onto a country club golf course in the middle of the night after discovering its ponds are teeming with plump frogs. These men are in their sixties, clad in camo, wearing night-vision goggles, most definitely trespassing, and doing this for the reward of free frogs they will fry up and eat.
“Real-estaters are like a snake in the grass. Hey, you chop his head off, he’ll still bite you. I been snake-bit 27 times to be exact. Hey, that’s what they do! They’re being a snake!” — Season one, episode eight
Matriarch Ms. Kay wants to parlay the family’s success into a new house, so she talks Phil into checking out a few places with a realtor. Si tags along, backing up his brother Phil that the realtor is trying to take the redneck out of him and stick him in a McMansion in a subdivision, something Phil likens to the kiss of death because a yuppie man “won’t be able to take a leak in his own yard without someone saying, ‘Hey, what’s he doing?’”
“This thing is gonna be a humdinger. I’m talking ‘bout this thing is gonna be a pants-off dance-off, Jack. We fixing to have a hootenanny like you ain’t had in your lifetime. Hey, this is going to be like the wedding from Deer Hunter. Hey, this thing is gonna be good.” — Season two, episode 24
A Japanese business associate of Deer Commander gifts the boys with a samurai sword, so they immediately take it into the warehouse in search of stuff to destroy. Si is beside himself with excitement over the possibilities and says the above line before running around scrounging up anything in sight that can be sliced up: cardboard boxes, tree stumps, and … a watermelon. Because, you know, all rednecks and Gallagher fans always have a watermelon on hand.
“I’m the Michael Jordan of getting on people’s nerves. You think you made a move on me? Nah. I’m like fingernails on a chalkboard. I’m on your nerves, big time.” — Season three, episode seven
Si randomly decides to annoy the shit out of his nephew Willie while he’s driving. Just cause.
“There’s two things that Silus Robertson really knows, okay. That’s ’nam, okay, and good pizza. I’ve not met a pizza I didn’t like, but look, hey, this pizza place is like the Karate Kid of pizza, Jack. This is the best pizza around, hey, nothing’s ever gonna keep it down.” — Season three, episode seven
For some reason, Si is convinced that the pizza at Excalibur, a local kid’s arcade-slash-pizza-parlor, is the best in town, plus he really wants to win a purple gorilla with Skee-Ball and Pop-A-Shot tickets. What old man wouldn’t want to bring home a giant, stinky, scratchy stuffed animal?
“Hey, look here, I’m gonna let you in on one of my big secrets, okay. If you wanna win big, you gotta find the sweet spot, boys. It exists in every casino, bingo hall, poker saloon, and farmer’s market. As soon as you find the sweet spot, hey, cash just starts pouring out like water for chocolate.” — Season three, episode seven
Si. At Excalibur. Winning.
“Hey, look here, you can’t be worried about an inch of fabric. Hey, there’s way more important things to worry about. Hey, Y2K, shark attack, lead paint, Dakota Fanning, smallpox, Woodstock, moonshot, Watergate, punk rock, rock and rollers, cola wars, hey, I can’t take this anymore.” — Season three, episode eight
Si’s great niece Sadie has picked out a dress for homecoming. Cue the Daddy’s-little-girl scenario as Willie freaks over the short hem. Si couldn’t care less. He has Billy Joel to quote.
“You don’t want a dog who thinks he’s too fancy for the work you want him to do. Hey, you get a dog like that and, next thing you know, you’ll both be getting matching pedicures.” — Season three, episode 26
The guys are dove hunting (giving Si a golden opportunity for corny Prince jokes via “When Doves Cry”), and Si’s dog isn’t retrieving, so he goes shopping for a new hunting dog, ultimately ending up with a poodle. Phil contests that a real man doesn’t want to be seen driving around with a poodle in his truck, until the dog proves he has “real cods” by being one hell of a retriever. As Phil says “cods,” the camera zooms in on the dogs nuts, so … apparently cods means balls in the swamp.
“Hey, look here, a dog’s just like a car or a mattress or a tree. You gotta test ’em.” — Season three, episode 26
Same situation, new nugget of wisdom. Gotta test those trees.
“Police today, they got too many compliance weapons. Pepper spray, Tasers, beanbag guns, hey. Whose bright idea was a beanbag gun anyway? You got a bunch of protesting hippies to clear out, you gonna shoot a bunch of hacky sacks at ’em? Hey, look here, we need to put the lethal back in nonlethal weapons.” — Season three, episode 29
A Vietnam vet’s commentary on compliance weapons. Most interesting is that he knows what a hacky sack is.
“I never liked the idea of speed traps. It’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel. But, on the other hand, if you got a gun and you got a bunch of fish in a barrel, hey, you might as well shoot ’em.” — Season three, episode 29
Si and Willie go on a ride-along with a local police officer, and Si gets to hold a radar gun and wear a bulletproof vest, which he loves for its pockets, which are perfect for holding his blue plastic iced-tea cup.
“Hey, look here, back in ’nam my icy stare became so famous, hey, I was approached by a professor in a wheelchair. He said something about I had X genes and introduced me to his friends. They was a bunch of weirdos.” — Season three, episode 31
The boys are amped up about opening day of duck hunting season, bragging that they’ll bag their limit of six ducks, and Si contends he’ll bag his limit with his shotgun but kill even more with his “icy stare.” A reminder, he is 65, not 5, yet is very conversant in the basic premise of the X-Men comic books.
“Hey, look here, these kids today, they don’t know the value of a good story. Hey, you got to have a beginning, you got to have a middle, and you got to have a end. This is not LaserDisc we foolin’ with here, boys. This thing ain’t got no fast forward on it.” — Season three, episode 31
If not Si to bring back LaserDiscs, who?