Monday, July 15, 2013

Things I Don't Get: Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo

To get me back in the blogging spirit, I am launching a brand new segment I like to call:

Things I Don't Get

I am happy and proud to be American. I love our independent spirit. When freedoms are taken away I take it a little bit personally.  All that aside, there are many times when I wonder if I was secretly born in another country and planted here, because I just don't understand aspects of my own uniquely American culture.

As a lover of television, I don't have any problems admitting that I watch a lot of television.  I do watch  some unscripted "reality" programming, but I am definitely picky.  When it comes to reality shows, I would much rather watch The Amazing Race, or shows like The Hero over shows that just generally titillate our voyeuristic side.  I like shows that improve lives, like HGTV where they renovate, or Bar Rescue or Restaurant Impossible where dying businesses are given a new lease on life.

What I have yet to understand is a show like Toddlers & Tiaras.  As exploitative and creepy as dressing children up and teaching them to act sexy and dress like adults is in the first place, the broadcast of such a culture on television is opening it up to an even wider exploitation.

However, this one child who they nicknamed Honey Boo-Boo is even more weird of a phenomenon.  Toddlers & Tiaras was apparently too small for her, so they gave her a spinoff show that follows her and her family.

The poor girl is definitely one of the homelier children I have seen.  Everyone should know their strengths and play to them, and while I don't argue that she has some personality that she could nourish with an adequate education, at this point in her life she is not a model.  Yet she is paraded around as though she was the most beautiful little girl in the U.S.

To make matters worse, the whole culture of the show seems to be to highlight bad behavior and the strangeness of her family.  As they ramp up for their second season, I was shocked, grossed-out, and utterly appalled by the ad campaign.  You see, to make you feel like you are truly part of the show, the premiere episode for this season has available a "Watch 'n' Sniff" card.

Because really, who wouldn't want to smell bad milk or fish while watching the episode?

The end of the commercial features Honey Boo-Boo farting, just to class up the whole affair.

Is this what America is all about now? Is this an image that we as Americans want to be proud of?

I just don't get it. It is a massive cultural disconnect.  If that is American culture I feel like a woman completely displaced.


  1. Yeah, I've never been able to get behind the whole "reality" TV phenomenon. Can't stand it. (The only reason I even know any of the people/shows is because of The Soup.) I hadn't heard about the whole watch-n-sniff thing. All I can say is... Wow! That'll teach me to think that things couldn't get worse.

  2. I agree. And as a Canadian, I wonder. But I am a U.S. citizen too, and I grew up in the U.S., went to high school and college there (of course). And it just makes me feel even more alienated from the U.S. I guess weirdness sells