Bo and Luke Duke and Their Moral Authority
Boss Hog is not a happy man. His money-making schemes are constantly being foiled by Bo and Luke Duke. He isn’t necessarily a bad guy he is just a corrupt politician that sees Hazzard County as his means to riches. The guy’s a politician, a greedy, ambitious, and stubborn politician. He just isn’t that bright. His fashion sense is also lacking, he wears a white suit, a 10-gallon cowboy hat, and drives around in a flashy white Cadillac. Boss Hog has the police department under his control including Roscoe P. Coltran, the corrupt and inept County Sheriff. That’s part of the appeal of original The Dukes of Hazzard television show which aired on CBS from 1979 to 1985.
The rural charm of the South is integrated into every episode of The Dukes of Hazzard and why the Dukes were some of the most beloved characters on television during the shows run. Early in the show the parameters were established Bo and Luke Duke were placed on probation with the Federal Government instead of going to prison for the illegal transportation of moonshine. The entire deal was hinged on the boy’s uncle, Jesse Duke, making a plea deal with the federal prosecutors to stop brewing moonshine. The boys were not allowed to carry firearms or to leave Hazzard County. The boys are smarter than Boss Hog and the incompetent Sheriff and they are basically well-intentioned guys. They are constantly trying to stay out of jail, protect their family, and keep the family farm out of Boss Hog’s hands.
The Dukes of Hazzard is a show that took the television world by storm. The timing was perfect in 1979 for this show. Smokey and the Bandit successfully took the car, cop chase comedy action adventure concept to new heights and created the audience for The Dukes of Hazzard. Fundamentally these concepts are the same, a rebellious nature with a fast car evading ridiculous and corrupt authorities. These comedy adventures are full of stunts, hot women, and “good-ol boys.” The down to earth good-hearted nature of the characters seems to always stumble upon trouble. The characters need to use their superior common-sense to get out of and stay out of trouble.
The Dukes of Hazzard counts on people wishing that they always had good luck and could always stand up against incompetent authority figures. Bo and Luke Duke are good guys that happen to be on probation. It is ironic that the system that placed them on probation is the same system that Boss Hog and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltran are part of. So on The Dukes of Hazzard who are the bad guys, Bo and Luke Duke, Uncle Jesse, Boss Hog, Roscoe P. Coltrane? The answer of course is the authority figures and that is the heart of the appeal. Regular guys that through a bit of luck, good intent, and great driving skills seem to be able to stay out of jail and protect the family farm at the same time.
The Dukes of Hazzard may be a show centered in a fictional county where car chases, crashes, and stunts happen regularly. But the great driving and the super cool 1969 Dodge Charger, The General Lee are only icing on top of the television feast. Bo and Luke Duke are warriors for the common-good monitoring the corrupt law-enforcement officials that have them under parole. What that means is that it is a cat and mouse game to get the upper hand on one another and the fun never stops. The most entertaining moments during the season run are when Bo and Luke rescue their beautiful cousin Daisy, or blow-up one of Boss Hog’s illegal enterprises. The more good we see Bo and Luke do the more we see that they actually have the moral authority and the authority figures are in name only. That is a concept that plays well in America and that is why The Dukes of Hazzard was so wildly successful and is forever regarded as a television icon. Learn more on the dukes of hazzard dvd site.