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The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – The Fine Line Between Silly And Stupid

December 2, 2014

We have to remember that the hook-n-bullet TV genre is still an evolving form, right?  I mean, it’s still far from perfect and we have to give it room to grow.  We have to be patient while programming finds its pace, and while the shows establish their unique brand.  Right?  Or am I being a little too magnanimous?

I think some of the shows are pretty much there.

Realtree Road Trips is one example of a program that’s been pretty finely tuned.  But then, it ought to be.  Michael Waddell and the crew have been consistent favorites for several years now, and they’ve managed to put together a solid team, from the faces of the show that include Waddell, Travis “T-Bone” Turner, and Nick Mundt, to the production quality and videography.    Regardless of what you may think about the content (heavy on whitetail and turkey hunts), there’s little doubt that this is a professional operation.

One of the things that makes the show work for so many fans is the natural interplay between Waddell, Turner, and Mundt.  They manage to make you feel like you’re watching a bunch of buddies, from clubhouse antics to competitive ribbing.  It seldom feels forced or scripted (even though we know it has to be… to a point).  Waddell plays the “good ol’ boy” like a natural (which he is), without coming off as an ignorant hick.  There’s a very good reason he’s become the standard bearer for Realtree.  He’s got the clean-cut, boy-next-door looks, and he’s well-spoken with a Southern accent.

Turner is the closest thing to a caricature you’ll find on the team… the large, lovable lug.  Still, while I’ve never had the pleasure of spending real time with him, I think the role is a genuine reflection of the man.  There’s more there than meets the eye as well.  Turner is a championship archer (former World Outdoor 3-D champion).  He’s also a pretty inspiring guy.  When I first saw T-Bone on TV, he was weighing in the neighborhood of 540 pounds.  In 2004, he underwent gastric bypass surgery, and since then has whittled away over 200 pounds of excess weight.  He’s still a damned big guy (at 6’3″, he can’t help but be), but I know for a fact that even with surgery, managing that sort of weight loss takes a huge dose of fortitude.

And like any well-cast TV show, Nick Mundt completes the gang as the pretty-boy, smart ass.  Again, though, he’s not just a character.  If you watch him in the field, he’s a deadly serious hunter.  Off the field, you get the feeling that he’d crack wise whether there are cameras around or not.  It’s just how he is, and it’s probably the reason he found his way onto the team.

Another point that makes the show work, at least for me, is that these guys show a lot of respect for the hunt.  At the end of an episode, I come away with the feeling that these guys are professionals, even if they’re having a blast doing what they love.

There’s a difference between clowning around and being  a clown.

As an example, I offer the newest “outdoors reality program” from A&E… Country Bucks.

I’ve watched the Busbice family on the Outdoor Channel’s Wildgame Nation, and I’ll be honest, I’ve had mixed feelings.  There’ve been times when I couldn’t help but laugh.  But there are other times when I just shake my head at the obviously contrived action… usually centered on some kind of family conflict (Bill Busbice and his sons are the “stars” of the show).  Seriously, it gets old… especially when there’s way more back and forth between the personalities than there is actual hunting.  And of course, the entire show is a blatant, extended plug for their Wildgame Innovations products.  They’re constantly spraying something in the air, dumping something on the ground, or fiddling around with various gadgets.  It’s not a terrible show, as hunting shows go, but it’s not all that good.

I recently watched the screener for Country Bucks (my new motto, “I watch this shit so you don’t have to“), and let’s just lay this on the table… it was 21 minutes and 29 seconds worth of sad.  It is, literally, nothing less than a formulaic copy of Duck Dynasty.

There’s a “redneck” family that has built an empire on hunting gear, in this case, the Busbice clan own and operate Wildgame Innovations.  There’s a family compound (instead of the factory floor) where the cast and celebrity guests come together for “hilarious hijinks”.  You could interchange the Busbices with the Robertsons and get the exact same results.  For example, in the screener episode, there’s a situation where one of the sons has to remove a huge “deer block” (it’s a long story and really not worth retelling).  After a couple of stupid ideas that fail, the final option is to blow it up… with predictably sensational results.  Compare this to the episode of Duck Dynasty (one of the only episodes I was willing to watch) where the Robertson boys have to get rid of a beaver dam.  If you guessed that, after a few ridiculous ideas didn’t pan out, they blew it to pieces… well, you get the prize.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it later… I’m sick to death of these “let’s laugh at the hicks” programs… especially when the folks on the shows are hardly “hicks”.  Bill Busbice has an estimated, net worth in excess of $100 million.  Phil Robertson’s $15 million net worth may seem to pale beside Busbice, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.  You don’t amass that kind of money by being an  ignorant redneck, no matter how often you portray one on TV.

With that in mind, for the Busbice family, this show will equate to some very serious business… at least if Duck Dynasty is any kind of indicator.  Getting a program like this off of the hunting networks and onto something more “mainstream” like A&E is definitely going to boost brand recognition, and that’s going to add up to sales.  If they’re able to spin off even a fraction of the merchandising that the Duck Dynasty crew have done, there’s a fortune there as well.  You can’t turn around in any retail setting without seeing one of those bearded faces grinning back at you.  So kudos are due the Busbice guys, for a shrewd business maneuver.

But, me?  I won’t be watching.

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One Response to “The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – The Fine Line Between Silly And Stupid”

  1. The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – The Fine Line Between Silly And Stupid | AllHunt.com on December 2nd, 2014 12:51

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