Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and There Goes TLC

The Learning Channel (TLC) recently announced the upcoming premiere of its new series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” featuring Alana, the “breakout star” of “Toddlers & Tiaras.” Alana, as some viewers will recall, is the little pageant queen whose mother June gives her “go-go juice,” a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, to give her that special energy she needs to perform.  Doing so brought June severe criticism, but that hasn’t stopped her from placing her entire family in front of the camera for what TLC describes as “the unapologetically outrageous family life of the Honey Boo Boo clan,” from rural Georgia.  Here’s a taste of what’s to come:

A quick read of the TLC press release lets me know that the most unapologetic people involved with this series, debuting in August, are the producers at Los Angeles-based Authentic Entertainment who developed the show, and The Learning Channel, its distributor.  TLC, owned by Discovery Communications, claims it “celebrates extraordinary people.”  So, the company is “celebrating” Alana and her family, is it?

What the folks at TLC are celebrating in this tragic production is that a ripe plum for exploitation fell right into their laps.  It has all the elements of the depraved South, which production companies like Authentic Entertainment create for public consumption and profit.  Rural Georgia? Check. Rednecks? Check. Do they roll around in the mud? Check. Are there people with nicknames (besides “Honey Boo Boo,” there’s “Sugar Bear,” “Pumpkin,” “Chickadee,” and “Chubb”)? Check, check, check, and check.

The kicker is this line in the press release, which says as much about the producers as it does the family:  “When she’s not chasing after crowns, Alana’s with her family in rural Georgia doing what her family does best: four-wheeling through mud pits and picking up road kill for the family cookout.” Really, this is what they do best?  And how about Authentic Entertainment and TLC?

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is an unabashedly shameless series that scrapes the bottom of the reality television barrel, and it is unsurprising that the rural South is used to make it happen.  Videos that parody this little girl and her mother already populate YouTube, an indication that the show may do well for TLC.  Yet those parodies suggest something worse going on here, as they predict that Alana grows up to be a pathetic, drug-addicted adult.  One can’t help but find a kernel of truth in this, and she may well have TLC to thank.  I am not suggesting that Alana’s mother June get a pass for exploiting her child, but neither should TLC or its partner in crime, Authentic Entertainment.


72 thoughts on “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and There Goes TLC

  1. She’s amusing, exactly what television wants. I love Honey Boo Boo. 😦 Still, I don’t think she’ll grow up like that since her mom watches over her. Besides, her go-go juice is enough.

  2. My sister and I saw a preview for this show last night and immediately began talking about how sad it is — and how much they’re exploiting these people for “comedy” and $$$. The kid is cute and funny, but I won’t be tuning in. Definitely agree with your post.

  3. I can’t watch the pageantry shows where the mothers live through their daughters.
    It’s sick and creates horrible messages for little girls everywhere.
    Forget authentic!
    So sad…
    This show is yet another tragedy.

  4. As a southerner through and through, I think it’s terribly sad. Is this character humorous? Sure, but she isn’t a character, she is a child! A child that clearly needs some manners and strong discipline. I hate that this is the way the south is displayed, never the classy ladies with a nice southern drawl. Instead, it is always the backwoods hillbilly folk that married their cousin. Oh, honey boo boo – I guess a dolla’ does make you holla.

    • I’m from the deep south too and it sickens me that this is what media chooses to characterize us, instead, as you say, classy women with a beautiful southern drawl. I agree with your comment 100%!

  5. TV is so terrible these days, I thought it hit rock bottom with Swamp People but then they come out with this :S I barley watch anything anymore.

    • Swamp People has legitimate redeeming value to it. Families making a living in the bayous of Louisiana following previous generations. What I see are strong, hardy, admirable, respectable Cajun families making a living, raising their children to be good, strong, honest people. Honey Boo Boo isn’t even a beer far compared to Swamp People.

      • There is no redeeming value. You may see “…strong, hardy, admirable, respectable Cajun families”, but I assure you the intention of the producers was to create something to laugh at, and that is exactly what most people are doing. It’s sad and wrong. The Southern people involved should be ashamed…Steve Austin, for example, and the CMT channel. I guess it just goes to show that money trumps conscience.

  6. My husband and I saw the trailer online (we don’t have tv). He looked at me and said “OMG, can we PLEASE subscribe to cable for like, two months.” This is a train wreck. It’s embarrassing. We can’t celebrate those people doing wonderful things in the US because we are too busy exploiting, instead of helping kids like Honey Boo Boo.

  7. The whole “Toddlers in Tiaras” thing simply creeps me out. I watched this clip and find it sad. Nobody too bright here. They’ll get money from being exploited and will probably be happy with that, but — I don’t know, I guess there’s a huge market for this junk. Meanwhile, we fall ever behind in things that matter (economically, culturally) and this is the consolation prize. Or something.

  8. Oh. Wow.

    I don’t really know what else to say. I haven’t watched Toddlers and Tiaras, but I’ve heard about it. I thought that show was bad enough…

    This is unapologetic sensationalism. And it’s disgusting that they’re marketing a family in such a way. Because at the end of the day, it’s still a family, and these are people. I realize they’re people who are inviting the cameras … but they’re human beings nonetheless, deserving of privacy and respect. Not ridicule at their own expenses.

  9. I really think their should be a ban … after all isn’t it kind of “child labor” … nothing against people doing what they lease but training your child to be a star and nothing else isn’t really a good idea

    • This is an interesting thought, Jensine, but we’ve seen it before on Jon&Kate plus 8. I just don’t think TLC should be absolved of its responsibility, either.

  10. Just another reason not to have cable or whatever. Things like this are what people waste their time with. There are some fine programs on TV, and that’s why I have Hulu+, but there’s no reason to pay more than $9 a month for crap like what TLC is becoming.

  11. And this is the “LEARNING” channel? Wow, another terrible example of “The Ugly American.” How can the world respect America when citizens ridicule and exploit other Americans? Another empty channel to avoid. Congrats on FP! Thanks for sharing.

  12. It’s strange and sad to think of what some people’s “normal” is when you see shows like this. Reality tv is a skewed look of what some of our society is trying to achieve: attention. Those shows are like a car accident: you know it’s bad, but you can’t look away. Ratings are easy to come by, it certainly doesn’t mean it’s right.
    Good post, good comments. Congrats on the FP’d!

  13. I never understood the toddler pageant thing (and I always associated pageantry with the South, this show does not help break stereotypes). What is the point? Do many of these girls end up being models? What does it do for their self-esteem? Has anyone done a study on these types of pageants? I think it would be interesting to know what happens to these girls when they are no longer toddlers.

    As for Honey Boo Boo… I am going to be really mean and say I don’t find the child cute. At all. In fact, she scares me the way she acts and talks. The mother is so over weight and you can tell the child is headed down the same path. What is the mother going to do when her child gets older? It’s hard to tell at this point, but the kid looks like she is just going to gain weight. Then what? What will that do for her daughter’s self-esteem?

  14. I couldn’t even watch the whole video clip, nevermind tuning in to see the show. It’s revolting. All of it. Thank you for expressing your views so eloquently, and congrats on the FP!

  15. I rarely watch any tv, and never reality tv, so I had no idea the medium had sunk this low. How terribly sad for the little girl. The adults involved are bereft of anything that would resemble normal ethics.

  16. I don’t live in the South now but I was born and raised in the South. The above insulting representation of people of the South is why there continues to be a stereotype. The South that I know has welcoming, wonderful, educated and intelligent people. It has world-renowned hospitals and some of the best educational systems in the country. This is very sad but I guess money is more important than truth, at least in this case. I saw just a little snippet of this and that was more than enough. I’ve never watched the other show where they parade little girls around in contests — don’t like that either, wherever they are from. Good post.

  17. The only thing I can stand on TLC these days is “What Not To Wear”. I can’t bear to watch these pageant shows (and their offspring) for two seconds. When are they going to go away!!!!

  18. I thought the addiction shows, the hoarding shows, dog the bounty hunter and especially the wedding dress shows were bad! Time to turn the tv off and take a walk…

  19. It’s a train wreck, but that my friends is why people watch {I don’t have cable, but I saw Alana and her mom on Anderson today, so, so sad}.

  20. This show is something else–I can’t believe it got through production considerations. I don’t think it’s going to benefit anyone. We need a show that has southerners in it that challenges the stereotype that Honey Boo Boo’s show puts forth.

  21. My first thought when I started watching this video, was why do they have so much toilet paper??? Then began to ask myself, who in their right mind would put a child through this? I find it so disturbed that anyone would exploit a child like this, let alone her own mother. I don’t find this little girl cute and funny – she is rather more like a little girl playing up to what her mother wants her to be. She actually makes me cringe a little bit and think about what she will be like in 10 years, looking back on this footage. I would hate to be her mother when she gets to an age where she can think and make decisions for herself – I can see that it will all end badly.

  22. I remember when the educational channels like The LEARNING Channel and The HISTORY Channel actually had educational shows on every night.

  23. I think this show is disgusting and cruel. That being said, this family now has a steady stream of income they probably didn’t have before. So I guess it’s a double edged sword. I also don’t think TLC has hit the bottom of the barrel yet, I’m sure they will find another low.

  24. I was shocked and mortified when I saw the ad for this show on TLC last week. When I was a kid I watched Medical Shows and was influenced enough to work in a hospital setting. TLC is awful now. What does TLC teach now?: Nothing!!!

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  26. Every time i see this preview come on my television i want to ram my head into a wall. “I’m scratching my bugs” is what the mother says in the shorter version while scratching her head. are you kidding me? that is disgusting! and why oh why is that child talking like that?! I’m am NOT racist by any means so don’t get me wrong but she sounds like she has jumped straight out of the hood!

  27. Wow, that video is shocking! I cannot fathom raising my child in such a way, and shame on TLC for exploiting such garbage. On a more positive note, congrats to you for being Freshly Pressed!

  28. Just get sick of this type of show, I don’t know if it’s sad or cruel, manipulating or just dumbing down TV to the lowest common denominator. I wonder sometimes if these shows are actually created by producers and everything that gets these folks to this position is all part of a bigger script. Mind you we have the ultimate fall back position and can always turn it off.

  29. This is a true mess. To me this child is too grown and mouthy for her age. Her lil voice is fingernails on a blackboard.

    I won’t be watching.

  30. I remember reading somewhere, recently, of a teacher who pointed out that more and more adolescents aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up, they only know they want “to be famous”. Famous for what? They’re not even sure… maybe it’s because what passes for making folks famous, these days. It used to require talent, special skills, an important message for humanity, or tremendous accomplishments in order to become a household name. Sadly, this is no longer true. So-called “Reality TV” has really lowered the bar — all the way to the floor. Call me a snoot, but I’m proud to say we don’t watch any of it!

  31. Personally, I am sick of the south being represented as little more than mindless idiots. I think it is high time these television producers are forced to see what garbage they pump out. Lock ’em in a room of nothing but their own crummy shows for a week – that’ll fix ’em!
    Seriously, a network boycott is long overdue. Southern doesn’t equal stupid!

  32. Rednecks? Rednecks are elevated by comparison. That family looks as though it would
    wear animal skins, live in a cave, and club a small dinosaur to death every night for their evening meal. The whole crowd is PRIMITIVE.

  33. The Honey Boo Boo girl will be so messed up(if she isn’t already) after the show is over.
    When she gets older and is no longer a todler she will be forgotten (like Dana Plato of Different Strokes that commited suicide. Her mother is shameful and all children should be taken from her.

  34. This obviously non-disciplined, non-nurtured child should be rescued by CPS and given to a family that will show her love by putting her on a diet, teaching her manners, self-control and will not applaud her every ridiculous and inappropriate utterance.

    If she continues on this path with her biological family (the ones teaching her that the almighty dollar is more valued than respect of self, family and others) she is doomed to become an overweight, bullied and lonley young adolescent and teen…a world that no loving parent and family would ever wish for their precious child. How very sad.

    • I think a diet is ok providing that the child wants to lose weight. We should not take it too the extreme is all that i am saying. Otherwise, i agree with everything else.

  35. I am from the South. And from Georgia . I can assure you that these people are NOT represent the typical Southern family. . There are red necks in other regions of the country beside the South.. So the writer of this article does not know anything about the Southern people except what she has been taught. She should live here and find out different.

    This family is an embarrassment to Georgia and to the South.

    • If you are speaking of me, I actually agree that this is not typical of the South and represents an aberration. If you read the post carefully, and others I have written, you’ll see that I take these shows to task for perpetuating southern stereotypes. And, actually, I HAVE lived in the South for 40 years, including Mississippi for 6.

  36. I watched an episode of Honey Boo Boo this evening, and must report that this is the lowest, most disgusting addition to reality TV that I have ever witnessed. My heart goes out to the little girl who is being totally shamed and exploited. Wake up TLC! This is an abomination!

  37. This is about money, pure and simple. The culture and demographics in the US have changed in the last 4 years and it’s now acceptable to exploit poor white people. It’s sad and evil, just as it was in the 70s when movies exploiting blacks were running rampant. In the same way that every black person didn’t wear massive afros and “jive talk” back then, these ridiculous reality shows exploiting rural Southerners paint an idiotic picture of an entire culture that by the behavior of a few. We haven’t come far at all in our collective perspective on racism or culturism. As a society, we just move from one group to the next depending on who is in office and who has the power in the media. I’m sure there are those that are enjoying these sickening TV shows and movies and are glad that the cameras aren’t in the ‘hood’, but the only reality in all of this is that when we exploit any of us, we exploit all of us.

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