Photo Credit: Courtesy of Discovery Channel
Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo made it look easy, didn't they? Just follow around some proud rednecks with offbeat life-views and funny conversations and… voila! TV gold. A broad spectrum of viewers, millions strong, have tuned in to these shows about people enjoying simple lives. Eatin' sketti with ketchup! Goin' huntin'! And of course, looking out for family and friends.
Naturally, there are more shows like this to come. The latest contender for redneck TV glory is Discovery Channel's Porter Ridge, premiering Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET. In the promo below, star Terry Porter explains that in his rural town in Indiana, there's no government or law enforcement. (Translation: It's so far out in the sticks that the nearest municipal offerings are too far away to have much influence.) So they make their own rules: "Respect the Lord. Love your family. And watch each others' backs."
Right off the bat, the unruly beards and dusty old pickup trucks put you in mind of Duck Dynasty. So does the characters' endearing inattention to appearance and utter lack of awareness -- or care -- about how others view them. The show is stocked with kooky characters, including two rival junkyard owners and a hillbilly named Dustin who's a gas station attendant by day and a professional wrestler -- "The Decapitator" -- on the weekend. Another guy fishes like a bear, trying to catch his dinner in his mouth.
But Porter Ridge also takes a lot of cues from Honey Boo Boo, what with all the burp jokes and potty humor and the need for subtitles to better relay the backwoods mumbling. And just like Honey Boo Boo's pig-as-a-pet storyline, this show's got a castmember who drives around with a grizzly bear in his truck. (You can't help but wonder: Has he seen the guy-hanging-with-bears documentary Grizzly Man? Did he watch it all the way to the end?)
But is the show the next Duck Dynasty or Honey Boo Boo? Probably not. No doubt it hits all the hayseed stereotypes, but the tobacco spittin' and the redneck slip 'n slides aren't what keep viewers coming back to those shows. It's the humor, and the relatable family dynamics, and the likability of the characters. The Porter Ridge clips offered on Discovery's website don't showcase these crucial elements. Without them, the show could be just a bunch of junkyard burping. Who's going to set their DVR for that?
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.