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
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
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.
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.
As graduation day approaches, tension begins to build between Frankie and Axl when he ignores her requests for answers about the graduation party she's planning for his special day. "The Middle" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.