Bing Search

Mom & Pop Culture: MSN's Guide to Family Entertainment

Home Photos Video Features

'Honey Boo Boo': That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Isn't it about time TLC was held accountable for making the world a worse place?

Tim Goodman
The Hollywood Reporter

Among the many crimes against humanity that TLC, this country's most socially irresponsible channel, has inflicted upon viewers, perhaps Toddlers & Tiaras is the worst. Well, until the breakout star of that show -- a precocious/annoying child named Alana but better known as Honey Boo Boo Child, who is pageant-whored-out by her obese mother, June -- got her own series. It's appropriately titled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Listen, I understand the allure. Honey Boo Boo is a name that's funny. It rolls off the tongue. Alana, age 6, apparently will say anything. Like, "A dollar make me wanna holler." She's all about money. And pageants. And winning. Oh, and drinking her "go-go juice" before each pageant, which is a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew. It winds up the pudgy little girl, and she goes onstage to dance and prance and make faces that the judges truly seem to love.
As does TLC. And lots of viewers.

Bing: More about 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' | More about 'Toddlers & Tiaras'
Which brings us back to that allure. Some people watch because they are entertained by the spectacle of it, apparently without realizing how awful and soul-crushing it is. Others -- let's say this is you -- watch it because you get the wink-wink that TLC is giving the country and other people like you. It's the green light to laugh at rednecks and fat people, which is how Honey Boo Boo's mother, June, aka Mama, readily describes the family.
Everybody loves to laugh at the cliche, and reality shows love to exploit that. Like Jersey Shore. But once the cliches are in on the joke, they start pandering to the camera, and some of the joy is lost. They just become annoying because now they've taken the power we had over them -- laughing at their pathetic lives -- and are turning it into cash.

Related: Trashy toddler TV
Which is probably what Mama is doing with "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." She's already famously into "extreme couponing" and justifying a way to save money so she can send Alana to another pageant. But there is some sense here that maybe Mama is too dumb to be savvy enough, just yet, to play to the stereotype like Snooki and company. Which makes the show that much more horrifying and TLC that much more repellant.

Because this is exploitation squared, Honey Boo Boo Child. There's no doubt that a dollar makes TLC wanna holler. Once hilariously known as The Learning Channel, it has no equals when it comes to showing the underbelly of America.

(Story Continues On Next Page...)

Page 1 of 2