Porter Ridge, which makes its debut on the Discovery Channel on Tuesday night, is a reality show from the makers of Duck Dynasty, A&E’s daffy, delightful ratings juggernaut, which begins its fourth season on Wednesday.
Docu-series Porter Ridge, set in a remote area of Indiana, follows an isolated community which, according to the network, follows three rules: respect the Lord, love your family and watch each other’s backs.
In the premiere episode of Porter Ridge we meet Terry Porter and the gang as they take on a repo mission confronting their rivals, the Dog Killer Ridge crew.
Porter Ridge has the same problem most shows in this genre have: Everyone’s trying too hard. The show looks in on a backwoods microcosm in Indiana. Terry Porter, who seems to own no shirts, runs an auto junkyard.
Jeff Watson, whose beard is somewhat better trimmed than the well-known ones on Duck Dynasty, keeps bears as pets, though, in the premiere, it is not clear why. Assorted other characters with supposed-to-be-idiosyncratic names are also drifting about: Dirty Andy, another big-bearded fellow; Elvis Larry, who has the Elvis sideburns. There’s a rival junkyard on a rival ridge – Dog Killer Ridge, to be exact.
Wacky names and deep-woods dialect (subtitles are occasionally used in Porter Ridge) are all over reality television, and they’re amusing for about 15 minutes. That’s how long it takes to realize that life in a junkyard universe isn’t all that interesting if the people aren’t interesting themselves.
There is occasional wit in Porter Ridge, as when Terry Porter’s wife, Carrie, expresses a desire for a vacation.
“How long has it been since you’ve taken me on a trip?” Carrie asks Terry.
“Didn’t I take you to the Iron Skillet a week ago?” he says.
But those modest flourishes are few and far between; mostly, you’re just supposed to gawk at the rusticness of it all and be amused by antics like trying to open an old safe by dynamiting it.