“You better Redneckognize!” yells Alana Thompson proudly as she swivels her blonde curls around during a sassy z-snap. Scanning through hundreds of comments on a Washington Post review of the new TLC spin off Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a reality gem depicting the life of a 6 year old pageant princess and her self-proclaimed “redneck” family, it shocked me how serious these people are taking this show and how deeply offended they are. First off there is this nifty invention called a “remote control” that gives you the power to change channels if you so desire. Apparently many of these viewers have never heard of one considering the show even hit 3 million views last week beating out the Republican National Convention’s ratings of 1.3 million views. Several complain about the show taking the stereotype of a poor, working class southern family and making it fair game for degradation. Others worry exposing their children to this “exploitive white trash swill” will cause their spawn to emulate the star Alana, aka Honey Boo Boo Child and her ability to channel the personality of a black woman through her snappy demeanor and catch phrase “a dolla makes me holla, Honey Boo Boo”. Personally I don’t find HBB’s actions heinous in any way. The worst she could teach your child is to z-snap or burp at the dinner table and eat cheese puffs off the floor. Honestly get off your elitist high horse and walk into any Wal-Mart.
We would like to believe our lives to be too highbrow for this “simple minded backwoods family”. Sadly we all need something to make us seem superior to justify our mundane existence. However, the aspect of this show that I most admire and that the rest of the pop culture obsessed nation should realize is the level of sincerity and honest to goodness shamelessness that exists within this family. Compared to the family dynamic of most reality tv shows, this program is much different. Having to bleep profanity from every other dysfunctional sentence that comes from a self-absorbed mother or oblivious father to attention starved children isn’t what this show is about. Their dysfunction is of a different sort. It’s a happy jumble of eccentric and outrageous behavior. Is it so hard to believe that the family is just having honest fun with each other? Other reality shows that display family “values” such as The Real Housewives, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and older shows such as The Osbournes are extremely wealthy, quite the opposite of the Honey Boo Boo clan. Perhaps the economic situation relates to the level of authenticity they display. Wealthier reality families seem to have a lot more to prove, perfect examples would be Kim and Kris of Keeping Up With The Kardashians who seem to take everything way too seriously and end up making fools of themselves in the end. The brazenness of her household is a refreshing and exciting break from the try hard nature of most other reality show families.
Honey Boo Boo has brought back the authenticity in this type of television. Although not be seriously thought of as a spokesperson for this demographic of the Southern working class norm, HBB and her family are genuine. When it all comes down to it there is real love and acceptance in this house. You can’t even possibly make up the shenanigans this family has displayed already. Attending the annual Redneck Games where HBB and her two sisters nicknamed “Chubbs” and “Pumpkin” participate in a belly flop contest into a pit of mud and bob for pigs feet instead of apples, bond over preparing road kill for a hearty dinner, and keeping a pet pig to cheer Honey up after losing a pageant named “Glitzy” that the bunch proudly proclaims is gay. Take it or leave it because here comes Honey Boo Boo. It’s almost refreshing to see the amount of happiness acceptance they display. Compared to the vindictive undermining behavior of most reality shows that cover leathery whining housewives and spoiled drunken “adults”. There is no way you could fabricate or stage these events like normal reality television.
Evidently the whole nation should be enjoying Masterpiece Theater with our pinkies raised high, because America is so far above this redneck slop. This particular demographic is no different than that of Jersey Shore. America’s fascination with the abnormal spectacle of shameless individuals is a guilty pleasure that often is looked down upon. No matter how relatable or un-relatable the circumstance you know we’ve all turned the channel to E! and seen at least 1 or 2 episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. It’s not as if TLC has discovered a new species, we all know these types of people of people exist. It almost seems like a fate worse than death to admit that you enjoy watching these shows, but we all know when the blinds are closed in the living the same people who bash and look down upon this surprisingly charming family are curled up on their sofa with their own Glitzy stuffed animal snorting of laughter at Mama’s belches. This show is the epitome of witnessing a car crash, you can’t look away. It’s so glorious in its absurdity and honesty, you can’t not be mesmerized.