Whenever I hear about some TV show that others are watching more times than not I am reminded why I basically avoid TV except during my late night bouts with insomnia where TV serves as the perfect prescription for sleep. Last night though as I sipped my tea and scanned my twitter time line I was intrigued by a hash tag that kept popping up #honeybooboo, I mean what the fuck is a honey boo boo? One of my tweeps was gracious enough to not only tell me that it was a TV show but also sent me a clip about the show.
If you live in the same TV avoidance cave me as me, let me explain, Honey Boo Boo is the nickname of a 6 year old girl and “breakout” start that now has a TV show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on TLC (The Learning Channel). Honey Boo Boo is really Alana Thompson who is an adorable and charismatic girl; apparently Alana had been on Toddlers & Tiara and was so personable that she and her family landed their own show. In the perfect world that might not sound bad, right?
Well Alana and her family are working class and southern, they proudly own their redneck status from all that I have read and while that is not a bad thing, I find this all terribly disturbing. The truth is most of us and I include myself aren’t laughing with these people, we are laughing at them. For a brief period in time we can take a load off by amusing ourselves with people who frankly drew the short straw in the game of life. Shows like this basically allow us to think that no matter how much fucked up ness we are dealing with, at least we aren’t eating cheese balls for breakfast and feeding our kids Mountain Dew and Red Bull and calling it go-go juice.
Granted this family seems extremely self-aware that not everyone is going to like them and that’s a pretty healthy attitude, they seem like good people even if they do have cultural norms different than my own. Yet why is it that we live in a world where other people’s norms are turned into fodder? The older I get, I see that we are all connected and when we can laugh at other people’s norms it’s a slippery slope to the level of disconnect that has become common in our society. On a practical note, I worry that one day Alana will grow up and realize the whole world was laughing at her, just in prepping to write this post, I came across many critiques about Alana and her family. Why does Alana have to be emulating some mythical stereotypical Black woman, maybe she is just being a kid.
Anyway while Honey Boo Boo and her family may be good TV watching, I think I will pass since somehow watching this family live their life, doesn’t quite sit right with me.