03rd Jun2013

Monday Musings – The Strange Politics of Hazzard County

by Will

the_dukes_of_hazzard_large

Unless you’re new here, you know that I grew up as a fan of the “Cars Jumping Over Shit” genre of television shows. The 80s were a golden age for that genre, yet one of the most popular shows was a holdover from the 70s: The Dukes of Hazzard. If you’ve never seen it, the show follows cousins Bo and Luke Duke, as they evade crooked Boss Hogg and his henchman Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, while jumping over shit in their rebel flag-laden ’69 Dodge Charger. The show lasted 7 years (though many fans have disavowed all knowledge of the one-season “Replacement Dukes”, Coy & Vance), built on the sole plot of Hogg hates the Dukes, the Dukes shoot something with a flaming arrow to make it go kablooey, Roscoe chases them, they jump “the crick” in their car, repeat. SEVEN YEARS, folks! Watching the poorly cast 2005 movie yesterday, a few thoughts came to mind, which I though I’d share here.

courtesy of podunkmeetsparadise.wordpress.com

courtesy of podunkmeetsparadise.wordpress.com

The Dukes Are On Probation – I never realized this as a kid, but apparently the Dukes are on probation for moonshining, so they’re not allowed to leave Hazzard County. I just always thought they had no real desire to move to the big city. Still, this seems to be as loose as Michael Westin’s “sequester” on Burn Notice, in that they can get as far out of the county limits as the episode requires. I mean, during the fifth season, the cousins go join the NASCAR circuit (due to the actors’ contract dispute), which surely would’ve been a violation of that probation. So, they’re not supposed to leave Hazzard County, yet do when the need arises, so it seems like they actually enjoy the cat & mouse game with Hogg and Roscoe.

l

Boss Hogg Knows Where The Dukes Live – It’s all right there, folks. If he wants ’em gone, kill them in their sleep. It brings to mind the fact that Hogg isn’t really a bad guy. He’s just a crooked guy. There’s a difference. He’s not a murderer, but he wants the Dukes to stop being a thorn in his side. That said, he doesn’t have to kill them. Every episode, the Dukes do MANY things that would be considered  a violation of their probation. Instead of just trumping up charges, Hogg could take care of them within the confines of the law.

dukes-of-hazzard-the-dukes-of-hazzard-21956584-520-480

The People of Hazzard County Only Have Themselves To Blame – Hogg isn’t a typical bully – he’s an elected county commissioner. Sure, as the richest man in the county, he probably bought the election, but he was appointed through the democratic process. Here’s where things don’t line up – Roscoe only becomes Hogg’s corrupt right-hand man after the county gets rid of his pension. Umm…huh? Shouldn’t that have actually entrenched Roscoe on the side of the angels at that point? Why become the henchman of the man who screwed you unless you’ve got a revenge play in mind. I’m sure they probably had some kind of Christmas episode like the Fruity Pebbles commercial, where Roscoe comes off like a good guy to the Dukes, but for the most part he’s simply a “loveable villain”.

Boss Hogg Didn’t Get the Black Vote – this is simply because there are no blacks in Hazzard County. Miraculously, they’re always around as henchmen, but he most likely outsourced them from the next town over. Seriously, go back and watch a random episode. The only black guy will have a revolver, carrying out Boss Hogg’s next nefarious plot. Blacks are so rare within the Hazzard County limits that I couldn’t even find a picture on the internet. Let that sink in. I COULDN’T FIND A PICTURE ON THE INTERNET!!!

boss_hogg

What’s Boss Hogg’s Motivation? – He’s already the richest man in town. He owns every establishment. What else is there? Sure, there’s the maintenance of his empire, but he’s a small town guy. He has effectively taken it over. Now what? It’s like a comic book supervillain who wants to rule the world – what happens once you achieve that goal? Is Hogg’s pursuit of the Dukes simply the small-town version of Rich Man Follies? He simply has nothing better to do?

Anyway, I’m fairly certain I’ve spent more time wondering about this show than its writers ever did. That’s enough for this Monday. What are your memories of the show? Leave your thoughts in the comments!