“Dysfunction to Dynasty,” the exclusive eight-part web series from "I Am Second," recently premiered, giving a candid look into the famous “Duck Dynasty” family and some of the most difficult moments that led them to true restoration in Christ Jesus.
The "I Am Second" series, which debuted on May 16, shares stories from Phil and Kay Roberston, the patriarch and matriarch of the Robertson family, as well as some of their children: Al, Jep, their newly-discovered daughter, Phyllis Thomas, and their grandson, Reed.
"The joke always was when we were on television that we put TMZ out of business because we just tell all our own secrets,” the eldest son of the Robertson family, Al, shared with The Christian Post.
Al, a pastor, said he and his family talk and write about their stories because people can learn from their flaws and mistakes.
“Somebody told me a long time ago that 'experience was the best teacher.' But I say someone else's experience is actually a better teacher so you can learn. That’s always been our mindset,” he said.
The Robertson clan now has four generations of believers, and the family continues to demonstrate to the world the power of salvation in Christ. "I Am Second," a multimedia movement and nonprofit organization, first debuted films with Phil, Jep and Reed in 2013. Since then, the family's story has continued to expand.
"They kind of wanted to do a generational story about our family,” Al said of the organization's initial interest in the family more than eight years ago. "It was dad, and it was my youngest brother, Jep, and then it was Reed, who is Jase's son, so we had three generations. Obviously, all three had struggled, and then mom kind of got in the mix to talk about that.”
“We just basically tell the story that, look, you can struggle, and you can still follow Christ and make it right,” he summarized of the series. "Since then, we've had more stories and more things to tell. We found out we had a sister, Phyllis, who is featured in the new series. So we just felt like there were more stories to tell.”
In Chapters 1, 2 and 3, Phil and Kay Robertson share their story, which begins with Phil living a drunk and lawless lifestyle before turning his life around. Miss Kay also shares her journey of dealing with her husband’s behavior while raising his sons. They both discuss how they went from fighting each other to fighting for each other.
"One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that people were able to see an update on mom and dad. You kind of get the story and it looks bad, but it was bad 50 years ago,” Al noted. “They've been an amazing couple for the Kingdom for all these years. So now you get to see that in the film. I thought they captured that great, that they're best friends and [have] all these years together.”
Al admitted that when they first began shooting "Duck Dynasty," they had reservations about how it would affect their children and grandchildren.
"Our biggest fear when we started the show was more what was going to happen with our kids, and in my case, my grandkids, because I'm the oldest. And yet, they've turned out amazing!” he testified. “Sadie and my nieces and nephews, they're incredible people for the Kingdom. So we've been super blessed by that.”
Sadie Robertson, Phil’s granddaughter, has become a successful Christian speaker and influencer.
In 2020, Phil learned that he has a 45-year-old daughter, Phyllis, from an affair he had before he became a Christian. “Dysfunction to Dynasty” tells Phyllis’ story about finding her famous biological dad.
"It took a while for the process to work itself out. But once it became evident that she was exactly who she thought she was, then I think that just opened the door,” Al said of his newfound younger sister.
The acceptance of his sister by Miss Kay, who discovered she had a stepdaughter from a past affair, speaks to the power of forgiveness, Al maintained.
"When I watch my mom, who had forgiven my dad 44 years earlier for the life he had led, which included having affairs and not being faithful to her, she meant it,” he continued. “The reason I knew she meant it is because 44 years later, when a daughter walks into our life, she embraced her with open arms and said, 'I love you. I've always wanted a daughter.'”
The series, narrated by Al, also shares his story with his wife, Lisa. In Chapter 4, the couple delves into infidelity and the resulting mistrust in their marriage. The couple would go on to work through the betrayal and have since made a decision to recommit to each other and God, who renewed their covenant.
"Forgiveness, it means something,” Al stressed. “I've learned that in my own life. Lisa and I talked about that in our segment. I forgave her years ago for infidelity. And I meant it, and so living forgiveness means that you're not bound anymore by hurt and pain, but that God takes that away. We've seen that in our family big time.”
During his segment, the Robertson son broke down while telling his emotional journey and recounting how he felt when he discovered his wife was cheating on him.
"One of the things that I think has made [the 'I Am Second' format] so effective, [is] the white chair and the dark lighting,” Al said. “So when you're there, you know there's a crew there, you know there are cameras, which we're used to, but you don't see anything. So you're literally just looking into this black void with this light on. It does something to you emotionally. It draws you in. I think that's why they get such really good testimonies from people because of the way they set it up.”
The couple also speaks extensively about their experience in their book, A New Season: A Robertson Family Love Story of Brokenness and Redemption. Al disclosed to CP that writing the book was the hardest thing he's ever done.
Although the Robertsons talk openly about their testimonies, Al said it never gets easy to hear the pain they walked through.
"In fact, dad, after he watched the series, he was emotional watching it. He said on our podcast, 'I'm just embarrassed when I have to listen to that again myself.' And I said, 'Well, dad, we're all embarrassed. None of us like to talk about our past and our sins and our mistakes. But when we realize that God has redeemed us, what a great testimony to people,'” Al recounted.
The minister said his father is an amazing example to others who have struggled in their life as well.
"To see a guy that they look up to, who they see as an icon of faith that struggled just like they did and didn't figure it out till he was 28 years old, that brings up a lot of hope to people,” Al concluded.
“Dysfunction to Dynasty” also recounts Jep's story and how he was stuck in a life of drugs and deception until his family intervened. And Reed opens up about living in the shadow of his famous family, contemplating suicide and discovering his worth and potential.
The series can now be seen on YouTube.