Pop Culture

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” and There Goes My IQ

I just watched the trailer for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC’s latest non-educational reality show, and I am both angry at myself for wasting precious minutes of my life, and annoyed at TLC for actually approving this mess of a television program.

This show is possibly a step above Flavor of Love or Rock of Love or any other show with “love” in the title, starring a washed-up musician from the ’80s, but not by much. It follows six-year-old Alana, AKA Honey Boo Boo, who first came to the world’s attention during an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras when she spouted off age-inappropriate comments like, “I holla for a dolla.” Yes, we are now giving shows away to children who say bizarre things. My six-year-old nephew called me Dr. Fun Times yesterday; where’s his show?

In the two trailers that have been released, we learn more about Alana’s self-proclaimed “crazy family.” All have nicknames, like dad Sugar Bear and sister Chubbs, and each one has a quirk, according to Alana. Her one sister is the “craziest,” while another one is the “pregnantest.” Yeah, I wasn’t sure how to spell that one, either. It was kind of sweet hearing Alana say that when her teenager sister has the baby, it will be her best friend, but the warm feeling in my heart lasting just a nanosecond.

Other lowlights include Alana’s mom, June, talking about bugs being in her hair, and one sister saying they aren’t rednecks because they “have all their teeth.” This time around, Alana’s catchphrase seems to be, “You better redneck-ignize.” (Spell check is going nuts as I write this post.) If the most exciting stuff makes it into the trailer, I have no clue what else they could possibly show on the actual program.

Is it too much to ask for a show whose initials stand for The Learning Channel to showcase something, oh, I don’t know, educational? I am not one of those people who think America is going down the tubes because of pop culture or anything, but what is the point of a show like this? To embarrass this family? You know most people are going to watch this to point and laugh and talk about how these are stereotypical Southerners. But, for a family where a dolla makes you holla, I guess it doesn’t really matter what people think about you, as long as you get paid.

If you want to watch the trailer, click here. Will you be tuning in? Why or why not?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

9 replies on ““Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” and There Goes My IQ”

Giving a reality show to a 6 year-old child…erm…that seems to be a wonderful idea! When you see how Lindsay Lohan turned after being a child star and having a reality show,that seems to be just perfect,I was bored of Lindsay anyway. I guess it’s time for her to be replaced. Oviously this is sarcasm.

All those reality shows baffles me. Firstly because it tends to show the worst side of some individual. Secondly because after a while there is nothing “real”,I mean take Teen Mom for example,the girls are getting paid to be in the show and yet you still see them crying about how it’s tough to live a life when you’re a broke,single teen mom while in the mean time they make between $60,000 to $65,000 per seasons! Yet,they are still crying about money,because that screams reality to me. Also who has all those stupid ideas? And who is even more stupid for thinking “that would make a great show” when the guy is pitching them the said ideas? Jersey Shore anyone? Those are people becoming famous and filthy reach for being seen on TV partying,fighting,and disrespecting one another. I guess sometimes not so great values make a (not so) great show.


That’s an interesting point about Teen Mom…when you compare this season to the earlier ones, everyone is living in much better conditions (which is great for them). I wonder if Amber had to use her money for her stint in rehab, or if MTV paid? I’d love to know the money situation with that show. And yeah, it seems like these days people just throw out random words and combine all of the ones that stick and BAM! We got a reality show!

I have yet to see an “educational” show on TLC, and I recognize that they are usually a fluff entertainment channel. That said, I was highly entertained by the trailer that I saw, and I think I would probably enjoy the show because the family at the center of it is all, “Yeah we’re crazy, and we don’t care what you think of us because we’re having a blast!” I think more people should adopt that attitude.

There were educational shows not that long ago, like A Baby Story (is that even still on?). I remember watching a whole bunch of episodes one summer when I was in high school and getting myself freaked out on the idea of ever having a kid. It’s just been within the past maybe 5 years or so that they’ve decided to focus on families that aren’t typical.

As someone who lived about, oh, 45 minutes away from Honey Boo Boo, I’m less inclined to criticize this show- Like, I know it is reality tv, so the element of the absurd is ever present, but so is all reality TV.

I just finished reading this piece at Salon – the author isnt from the south, which really strikes me as another person being like ” oh, that place, those southern people”. And I can’t help but ask those who are talking about, ” have you ever been to conyers georgia?” I know grandmothers in their late thirties. i know people named bubba and suki and flapper. I know people who ride around on buggies and have kids at 14. I know people who act and talk like this, even if people who may not be from the south seem to think its all a joke. i know these people. I’m one of them. I know we seem like hot messes, and its usually because we are, but goddamn, if we aren’t having fun. And if you aren’t from the south – which I don’t know if you are or not, but I certainly know many of the critics who have panned the show certainly are not, it comes off as, well condescending.

Like, I know phrases like “redneck-ize” seem a certain way to people, but thats how a lot of southern people talk. Folks who go up and down about the problematic nature of speaking have usually never actually been to the south, and furthermore, never been in the deep gulf, where creole and some gullah and some spanish and some twang and some phrases that don’t even make a goddamn lick of sense, is pretty par for the course. so maybe it is “uneducated” but I’ll be damned if its simple. It’s a mixture of so many different things, many which people don’t even realize about southern culture because they aren’t from it – so yea, how do they know?

I totally agree that the learning channel might want to show some shows about learning. And I certainly don’t think TLC is anyway clean either. Peace. But I’m just not feeling so much of the criticism headed its way, mainly because it reeks of a certain type of classicism. Which I dont think your piece does, but I dont know, it still gives me feelings and I think its mainly due to the full charge at it. And I can’t help but laugh when the Thompsons are laughing too. Thats what you do when you don’t have the world handed to you on a platter.

And maybe I’m wrong – maybe as the show goes on, I’ll totally eat my words, but I just can’t help feeling a little stanky sour when people look at this, think whats the point? Well, whats the point of any reality tv show? Its not to educate. Its to entertain and make money and to avoid hollywood labor unions.

I understand where you’re coming from, and I really hope people don’t think I was trying to trash the family. They all seem extremely supportive of one another and love each other a lot, which is great. I referred to the show as being uneducational, not the people, and I would never use that as an insult towards anyone. However, I really feel like they’re being mocked and aren’t in on the joke. They seem to exaggerate every stereotype that exists about the south, but if that’s the norm for where they are from, thanks for sharing and letting us know. I have never been to their neck of the woods, so I can only go by what I have experienced, and no one I know from the south is like this family.

And while there are tons of reality shows that aren’t educational, they’re not on a channel called The Learning Channel. I think it’s weird that shows like this and Jon and Kate and 19 Kids and Counting are on TLC – maybe TLC should have a spin-off called the Unusual Family Network for all of these shows they produce.

From what I’ve seen of the trailers, I’m pretty sure they’re in on the joke. At the very least, if people start mocking them in ways unexpected, they’ll be able to say “Oh yeah? Well we’re getting paid to have fun on TV and you can suck it.” I know a lot of rednecks who have fun making fun of their redneckishness, and a lot who just have fun being who they are.

But yeah, TLC has strayed far from being a channel that teaches things people would want to know.

We recorded the two episodes last night, figuring that’d be all we needed to get a dose of facepalm (haven’t been brave/drunk enough to watch them yet though). We’ve seen a few minutes here/there of Toddlers & Tiaras and couldn’t stomach any more than that. It just seems… predatory, because these people obviously have no idea how money works and/or that spending thousands and thousands of dollars and countless hours/months to get a cheap trophy/tiara/few bucks is not an ‘investment’ in their child. Heck, if they want to invest in their child and even stay within the beauty-related world, they could get them educated in cosmetology or fashion design.

And, in this particular child’s case, it’s so disheartening to see how everyone around her (including, perhaps especially, the show producers) is such an enabler of her horribly over-entitled attitude. She gets attention for acting up/out, so she’s constantly rewarded for behavior that is obnoxious. On the plus side, at least she IS getting rewarded, in that she’s got a TV deal – so hopefully that money will be able to help her at some point.

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