Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Reality television has become one of the most common forms of entertainment in the American household since the early 2000’s. From “The Bachelor” to “Jersey Shore”, no plot seems too racy or inappropriate for audiences of all ages. Recently, however, TLC aired their newest reality TV show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” that is thought to be one of the most controversial reality TV series of all time. The show encompasses the lives of a small-town, southern Georgian family who live a frugal lifestyle, and demonstrate the self proclaimed stereotype of rednecks.
Fascinatingly, the series captures the quirky attitude of seven-year-old Alana Thompson, and her mother, June Shannon. Although the series has produced high ratings in its first season, (tying the ratings for the Democratic National Convention in the 18-49 demographic) critics cannot help but comment on the obscurity of this new reality TV show. What has many viewers concerned is the perception of small towns that “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” portrays. The show highlights poverty, teenage pregnancy, and bad hygiene; leaving many of the McIntyre, Georgia residents upset.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, one McIntyre resident reports “…it doesn't give a good image for the county since it is a small county, and it's a really family-oriented county, and we are basically, you know, church-goers down here, and a lot of the things they do ... we don't agree with it. ” It’s true that many of the activities that Alana and her family take part in do not accurately describe small town McIntyre. From attending food auctions to participating in the Redneck Games, each episode features a new and entertaining activity that emphasizes the small-town stereotype even further.
Throughout the series, main characters are referred to by their nicknames. Alana is known as “Honey Boo Boo Child”, and her mother, June, is simply referred to as “Mamma”. June’s other daughters (Alana’s half sisters) are known as “Chickadee”, “Pumpkin”, and “Chubbs”. Even Alana’s father (whom June calls “baby daddy”) is known to the girls, and to viewers as “Sugar Bear. ” Some critiques point out that these nicknames demonstrate the unusual parenting style that Mom, June Shannon has.
From allowing her children to inhale nothing but junk food, to serving seven-year-old Alana a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew before her pageants, the presence of adult supervision is clearly insufficient. The show seems to always rely heavily on June’s unruly children for an interesting plot. From covering the house in toilet paper, to becoming a teenage mother, to dressing up the family’s pet pig, Glitzy, the four girls are almost always up to no good. Despite the large amount of negative criticism the show has gained, Honey Boo Boo continues to hit a record number of viewers, averaging around 2. million each week. TLC recently renewed the show and announced an upcoming second season. Season two will come along with three special holiday episodes, which will be known as “HOLLAday Specials”, further capitalizing on the redneck stereotype. Reality series like this one are not the first to become so popular. “Project Runway”, “America’s Next Top Model”, “Teen Mom”, and “The Amazing Race” are a few of the many television series that have hit the living rooms of Americans across the country.
Critics often comment that these shows are portraying the American culture to be dull and idiotic. Regular people can become famous celebrities, that are idolized by many, for simply partying on the beach in New Jersey, or by becoming pregnant at 16. Despite all of the negative feedback from reality series in the past, TLC continues to support “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. Amy Winter, general manager of TLC released a statement disclosing that "What you see is what you get and we are excited to share even more of Alana and her family's unbridled hilarity, sincerity and love with our viewers. But the question remains; should reality television shows like this one that glorify lack of education, obesity, and teenage pregnancy be accurate representations of American culture? The answer seems to be obvious when put into perspective, however the show’s clever catchphrases such as “A dolla makes me holla! ” and “You better redneckonize! ” make the series out to be irresistible to some viewers. Ironically enough, TLC originated as The Learning Channel, and previously aired documentaries that were educational and appropriate for viewers of all ages.
Subjects ranged from science, to nature, and even current events. Its rival was of course, The Education Channel. Over the years, however, TLC has picked up several reality TV shows including “Say Yes to the Dress”, “Little People Big World”, and “19 Kids and Counting. ” Although each of these shows receives its fair share of criticism, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” has received the heaviest hits by far. The question we should ask ourselves is what does this mean for the state of Georgia’s public image in the national light?
A state that was the centerpiece for the civil rights movement, and is home to a city, Atlanta, which has been a major hub in the south for the past century is now digressing its image rapidly with the air of this reality TV show. “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is showing the nation a part of Georgia that most people only thought was in the history books. A state that is home to a former president, two Nobel Peace Prize winners, and one of the largest business districts in the south is being portrayed as a two-bit hillbilly home in the south.
The state of Georgia and the entire south should be irate with the amount of negative attention it is getting from this debacle people are calling a reality TV show. When it comes to American culture, is there a limit on what is too far? Is Honey Boo Boo the rock bottom that reality television needs in order for a brighter future? Furthermore does this reflect on the entirety of American culture? Or just small-town McIntyre and its lower income families.
Although we may never know just what viewers find so appealing about little Honey Boo Boo Child, and her peculiar family, we do know that “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” only reflects upon a fraction of the American population, however it portrays the entire nation in a negative light. Work Cited Sieczkowski, Cavan. "'Honey Boo Boo' Ratings Match Bill Clinton DNC Speech on CNN. " 10 Sep 2012: n. page. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. HNLtv. com Staff, . "Here Comes More Honey Boo Boo . " HLN. 26 Sep 2012: n. page. Web. 4 Oct. 2012. The Associated Press, . "'Honey Boo Boo' Panned in Georgia Hometown. " 09 Sep 2012: n. page. Web. 4 Oct. 2012.