So, I’m guilty. Guilty of falling into another Youtube sensation. Guilty of sharing it with you. But who could resist? Honey Boo Boo Child or Alana Thompson (yes, she has an actual name) and her explosion of energy on camera were so over-the-top, so outstandingly far from reality that I couldn’t help myself from not only replaying it numerous times, but replaying it enough to almost memorize most of what she said….
Everyone who subsequently watched also got a hoot out of this little fireball, all repeating the same thing after the reel finished: “She needs her own show.” And her own show she got. After her episode on Toddlers in Tiara aired in January, it became the most highly watched episode in the history of the series and within three months of its internet success, the HBBC show was already filmed, packaged and ready to be aired.
And so it aired.
Last night Honey Boo Boo and her family had their moment in the sunshine with the premier of their show. It was a reality show mashup with moments of Toddlers & Tiaras championed by Alana; Extreme Couponing, by her mother the coupon Queeeeen (as we already know) and Teen Mom- Alana’s seventeen year old sister is pregnant. The mere set-up seems to be a ratings dream, but I couldn’t help but wonder about the underlying issues that became so utterly prominent. The family is obviously poor and malnourished – the mother serves cheese puffs for breakfast and the famed Go Go juice that’s ‘Gonna make Alana wiiiiiiin’ is a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew. Alana is six and the lifeblood of the show and the high jinx that the family gets into – the Redneck bellyflop contest and dunking for raw pig’s feet – can be funny at times but also a little, well, sad.
This show, a polar opposite in terms of glitz and glam to the other Reality TV family that most of the world have grown to love to hate (ahem, Kardashians), seems to be a similar slice of entertainment in which nothing really actually happens. Is this yet another reiteration of the signs of the times? I admit, I thought the initial clip from Toddlers & Tiaras was hilarious but now after watching the show all I want to do is give her a hug and a bowl of whole grain oatmeal….
What do you think? Is this show up your alley because of it’s sheer ability to make you laugh or is the idea of turning children into spectacles gone a little too far? Are the Boo Boo clan being exploited?