Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably heard of America’s favorite new reality star: Honey Boo Boo. For those of you out of touch with the pageant craze, Honey Boo Boo is the nickname of the little girl who is arguably “Toddlers and Tiaras'” most famous star, 7-year-old Alana Thompson. As a result of landing her own spinoff show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” the pageant princess and her family have become a huge media focal point. Unfortunately, not all of the attention they’re receiving is positive.
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services paid the family a visit after the premiere episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras.” June, Alana’s mother, is seen giving her daughter “go-go juice” (a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull) to provide an extra kick for the pageant -- because kids clearly need that amount of sugar in their systems. Not to mention the healthy effects of feeding their children road kill for dinner to save money on meals. The bad parenting decision that truly takes the cake was brought to public attention when a video surfaced of Honey Boo Boo dancing on a bar for money. Reminder: she’s only 7 years old.
Screenshot by Gillian Freedman
June defended her actions by claiming that the bar fiasco occurred during a meet-and-greet at a college and looked much worse when taken out of context. She also contended that the go-go juice was a one-time occurrence and it would never happen again. June and her husband, Sugar Bear (that’s not a joke -- he actually goes by that name), were let off the hook by child protection services who never filed any charges after thorough investigation. Of course, this doesn’t make any of June or her husband’s actions acceptable in any way and they still face large amounts of backlash from angry parents everywhere. This raises the question: after witnessing the atrocities of this family, why do people continue to watch their show?
Most people cite entertainment value as the main reason for watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and other similar shows. These shows serve as a guilty pleasure for people who don’t want to admit their secret obsession (myself included). But what exactly makes them so entertaining? It’s human nature for people to enjoy watching others who they feel are of a “lower class” making fools of themselves. Subconsciously, people feel better about themselves while watching these shows. Like circus clowns, Honey Boo Boo and her family are so exaggeratedly ridiculous that no one in his right mind would treat them seriously. This family is a redneck train wreck and people just can’t seem to look away as the crazy train runs right off the tracks week after week.
While her parents’ actions may be questionable, there is no doubt that Alana is rapidly becoming America’s newest -- and possibly most unconventional -- sweetheart. As long as we continue to be captivated by this quirky, lovable, and often questionable family, you’d better “redneckognize” that Honey Boo Boo won’t be going anywhere for a while.
Screenshot by Gillian Freedman