'Duck Dynasty': for the birds; 'Monster Man': it's no 'Face Off'

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:00 AM Written by 

duck_dynastyReading over early comments in this year's Keep or Cancel? poll (Vote NOW!), it strikes me that viewers are slowly getting more honest. In past years' polls, voters pretty universally condemned reality shows as junk. But ratings suggest they are watching reality shows regardless. I think it's simply popular to decry all reality while secretly watching a few reality shows. And that's what the comments suggest this year. There are a lot of "I hate reality shows but I do watch [Name a Show]."

And while I understand the appeal of reality shows on a few different levels, what I don't get are some of the subgenres within reality.

What is up with all the redneck family business reality shows? Another one debuts tonight and begins with the narration, "Deep in the backwoods of Louisiana..." That could be one of any number of shows but this one happens to be called "Duck Dynasty" (10 tonight, A&E).

Read more after the jump. ...

There's History's "Swamp People" and "Cajun Pawn Stars," CMT's "Bayou Billionaires" and "My Big Redneck Vacation," Discovery's "Sons of Guns" and now A&E's "Duck Dynasty," about a family that manufactures duck calls.

But mostly the show, as these reality series are wont to do, follows the dysfunction within the family. In the first episode that means one guy tries to fill orders while the other family members go hunting. Grandpa advises his grandson not to marry a "yuppie girl" while he slices and dices frogs.

"She doesn't have to be a pretty girl; just cause she looks a little homely, that's alright," Gramps says. "Pass me another frog."

monster_man_blogIf hillbilly humor isn't your thing, there's another family business show on Syfy: "Monster Man" (10 tonight). The show follows special effects makeup artist Cleve Hall and his family and co-workers at SOTA FX.

Hall is a ham who talks. And talks. And talks some more. He won't scare anyone -- even with his bad teeth and creepy contact lenses -- but he might bore them to death.

"Monster Man" includes trumped up scenes -- Hall gets attacked by a dog (while wearing protective gear) for making a werewolf costume -- and a lot of low-budget filmmakers coming in to order up costumes. And that's part of the problem: It comes across as a low-rent operation making cheesy effects for the likes of "Hallow Pointe," not a big-budget effects house that works on movies you might have actually heard of. Also, the werewolf costume turns out looking anything but realistic or scary.

A new season of "Face Off" can't come soon enough.

Vote to retain or dismiss "Duck Dynasty" or "Monster Man" in the Post-Gazette's annual Keep or Cancel? poll through April 22.

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