Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on TLC has touched a nerve, to say the least. Pageants and Go-go juice and redneck games and morbid obesity. All things to rail against, right? Like most reality TV gives you the chance to quietly or not-so-quietly judge the stars of the show.
Georgians feel particularly uncomfortable with the idea that people will think we are all like this. Of course, as the op-ed piece in today’s AJC points out, Georgia is #2 in childhood obesity. So maybe Honey Boo Boo et al isn’t all that off the mark.
Part of me would like to distance myself from these folks, too. But I can’t. Not really. First of all, I grew up seeing families like Honey Boo Boo’s. And they were good people. Decent people. Willing to go out of their way to help you if they can. Not sophisticated or wealthy, but salt-of-the-earth.
And I can’t get away from the fact that Mama on the show reminds me A LOT of a friend of mine. Distractingly so. My friend has a college degree and comes from a well-to-do Southern family, but nevertheless she has Mama’s sense of humor and voice and even looks a little like her.
Finally, everyone needs to acknowledge that to some degree or another, this family is in on the joke. All Southerners are in on the joke, frankly. We come from a funny place with boiled peanuts and pigs feet and muddin’ and thick accents. We’re happy to play it up for a laugh, just like this family does. Just like the people were doing at the Redneck Games. Come on. This isn’t an obscure African tribe that have never seen a camera before. These folks watch television. They intuitively know what makes a good show. And they are giving it to us.
Bottom line: I like this family. Morbid obesity, go-go juice and everything else. I’m not exactly “proud” of them, but I’m not going to totally dismiss them either. I’d take an afternoon with them over a fancy-pants Southern baby shower any day. But maybe that’s just me.