Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
may be raking in the ratings, but not everyone is happy with TLC's reality show about a 6-year-old beauty pageant star.
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Okay so I have to admit it, yes I have in fact watched Honey Boo Boo. I couldn't help myself. When I heard about the series that reportedly capitalizes on redneck stereotypes, I just had to check it out. Now that I've seen it, I am torn between finding it sort of funny and horribly offensive.
Perpetuating stereotypes or portraying a loving family?
The series centers around Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson (who first appeared on another TLC reality show, 'Toddlers and Tiaras"), her mother June Shannon and their family. But even as the show is attracting a lot of viewers for a TLC series - from two to three million weekly - it has also understandably drawn a lot of criticism. Some are saying that it exploits and mocks small-town people, perpetuating stereotypes of life in the South. Some are even criticizing the parenting skills of Honey Boo Boo's mother and father involved. While others insist the series just shows a loving family who doesn't let other people's opinions bother them. It looks like people's opinions are as split as mine are.
The Huffington Post
reports that in an interview with The Associated Press this week, Alana said filming the show was fun because she got to do things she doesn't always get to do, like going to a water park. Her mother said the family has enjoyed doing the show and believes the way it's edited portrays their unscripted life fairly and accurately.
The family lives in the tiny town of McIntyre, which is nestled in a rural county that is a major exporter of kaolin, a chalky clay used in a wide range of products. The small town's population is around 650 and, according to the 12010 Census, nearly 40 percent of the families had an income that put them below the poverty level.
Chamber of Commerce president not happy with his county's portrayal
Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan Jackson is one person who's definitely not happy with the show. Jackson said in a statement that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has portrayed the area unfairly, choosing to show images of things such as junk cars, garbage dumps and stray animals. He also added that he'd like to see more of the region's positive attributes on the air.
The AP approached more than two dozen locals and while many said that they watch and enjoy the show, most reportedly didn't necessarily think it represents the way most people in the area live.
"....we don't agree with it."
"I don't mind it, it's just that it doesn't give a good image for the county since it is a small county, and it's a really family-oriented county, and we are basically, you know, church goers down here, and a lot of the things they do ... we don't agree with it," said Carolyn Snead, a McIntyre resident who works as a tax preparer.
Executive producer Lauren Lexton has reportedly defended the show, rejected accusations that it is exploiting the family or playing on stereotypes. She pointed out that one of the reasons the show has been so popular is because the family members clearly love each other and strike a chord with the audience.
Shannon hasn't disclosed how much TLC is paying them for appearing in the show, saying only, "We are very well compensated." But the money they do make from the series is being divided into equal trusts for each of the four kids, with the family still living on what Shannon's partner, Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson, makes from his job in the nearby chalk mines.
The one-hour season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo airs Sept. 26 on TLC. There's no word yet on whether or not there will be a second season. If Honey Boo Boo does get picked up for another season, do you think you'll watch? Where do you land on the controversy surrounding the show?
(Image courtesy of TLC)