BOO-BOO: Redneckognize

Katie Anderson, Staff Writer

It all started with a toddler in a tiara, but TLC knows a money mine when it sees one.

Couch potatoes grab the remote and nestle into their favorite spot. New Year’s resolution gym goers have hopped on the treadmills. Business people wait for their connecting flights in airport cafes. Televisions are being turned on across the country.

Unless you have been living in a town much smaller and more remote than McIntyre, Georgia, I’m sure you have heard of Honey Boo Boo. For an hour each week, Alana Thompson welcomes television watching American’s into her family’s home. She’s introduced us to Glitzy, Sugar Bear, Go-Go Juice, and encouraged her fellow Americans to “redneckognize.”

My own cousins—who are about Honey Boo Boo’s age—could be among the Yankees concerned everyone south of the Mason Dixon resembles the famous family. No matter who you are or where you’re from, it seems everyone has something to say about Honey Boo Boo.

When asked his thoughts about the phenomenon, freshman Dustin Vaughn said, “Wasn’t she a dancer at some point… wait, no Toddlers and Tiaras? Yeah, they could have named her new show Toddlers and Trailer Parks, but I’m sure that’s not politically correct.”

“Wait, is her real name Honey Boo Boo? Is that a thing they do around here?” the freshman Kansan candidly added.

Senior Holley Hutto shares, “The first time I watched a Honey Boo Boo show, I immediately thought ‘Imagine how dumbstruck her teachers are going to be when they meet this girl that they are going to have to teach.’” She adds, “I appreciate that they are real, honest people who are just living their lives.”

@VeryGrumpyCat tweets, “Honey Boo Boo’s mother has a boyfriend and you’re single… Just let that sink in.”

Allie Mohler (freshman) explains, “When I first saw Honey Boo Boo on TV, I thought it was a ridiculous reality show about a family and their strange ways that would be advertised for others to laugh at. Now after seeing many episodes, I realize this show is a love story between a mother and daughter who share a beautiful relationship where they are open and comfortable to be who they are. The way this family loves one another is truly amazing, and every family can learn from watching Honey Boo Boo.”

While I can’t stand to watch more than fifteen minutes of the TLC megahit at a time, the show may have some merit. June and her daughters seem to be bucking the media beauty standard.  None of them has ever voiced discontent for their current condition.  No one can accuse June of being eloquent. And, while TLC often provides the audience with subtitles for interviews with June and her family, they often make valid points. She has plenty of criticism for those who are inappropriately or immodestly dressed. The woman knows how to feed her family on coupons and $80 each week.

But there is something not quite right about the show. This is a family, and they are paraded around like a circus act (for upwards of $50,000 an episode, I might add). Why does this show receive such great ratings? It could be compared to the metaphorical train wreck: it’s horrendous, but you just can’t look away. What is to be said for June’s daughters? Each child has a different father, and her 17 year old has a child of her own. Has this become the cultural norm? Is the nuclear family with 2.5 children and a picket fence a dream of yesteryear?

CBS News reports that the show’s season 1 finale drew 2.8
million viewers, making it the cable network show with the highest ratings for the week. I imagine the first lady weeps over the plans for her campaign against childhood obesity in some secluded area of the White House. While I wonder how long Honey Boo Boo’s 15 minutes of fame will last, learning what goes into the family’s “sketti” is enough to keep me in the gym.

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