Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: Pageants & Family Values

It was the phrase heard across the universe, “A dolla make me holla honey boo boo.”

Well, maybe not. But it was certainly heard in hundreds of thousands of good ol’ American living rooms on that fateful day last January.


Every now and then when I am relaxing in front of the tube and there is nothing on, I will demean my intellect with reality shows that patronize its subjects and convince its viewers that designer handbags, cat fights and “GTL” are all part of God’s grand plan for the human race.

However, I have recently switched from those numbing programs to programs which show Middle America and its people working hands-on at blue collar jobs, or just living simple down-home lives. Such shows are somewhat more relatable than seven strangers picked to live in a house who all have it so rough. Needless to say, it has been a nice break from watching the Kardashian family discuss plans to custom build their mausoleums, fully equipped with a moat and marble floors (see episode from 8/19, or don’t… actually, just don’t).

And while shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras” are not educational in the slightest, they still have some sort of value in them; they further prove that all families have their own ideas- and a certain right within those ideas- on how to raise their children.

Honestly, I am trying to warm you up to the idea that TLC’s new reality show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” really aint that bad. Whoops, I mean “is not that bad.”

The Georgia family of five was originally featured on the network’s hit kid pageant show, where Alana, a sassy then six year-old, caught the love, attention and an equal amounts of criticism from both viewers and the media.

Anyone with an opinion (which is everyone) has something to say about child pageants. This is a pop culture hot-button topic, and while everyone else seems to give a damn, I have yet to develop a strong view on whether I do.

According to a report on,  the spinoff, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” brought in 2.3 million viewers during its August 24th episode. This means people are intrigued for whatever reason. I have watched enough “Toddlers and Tiaras” to understand people’s concerns. Children should not be subjected to that type of lifestyle; a lifestyle where makeup, tanning and photo shoots are done before they can walk, talk or use the potty without someone to wipe their behinds for them. I understand that a lot of these “pageant moms” are suspected to be living vicariously through their daughters, and some even admit it. However, in the case of Honey Boo Boo a.k.a Alana, I do not believe this to be the case.

Not only does the quirky, overweight toddler admit to loving pageants, it shows when she is on stage. For some kids it is sports, for others it is a less physically demanding activity. Children who take part in extracurriculars when they are four years old- whether it is dance, gymnastics or teeball- are just as likely to hate what their parents may or may not be forcing them to do as much as a pageant child.

In the case of Honey Boo Boo, I have noticed a real homey type of love in her family. They may be what some call “white trash” but there is a bond that “Mama,” the 33 year-old mother has with her children that I do not even see when I am at the grocery store surrounded by soccer moms engaging in WWE moves in attempt to keep their kids from loading the cart with Fruit Roll Ups and Cheetos, cussing and sweating over their uncontrollable terrors.

Maybe Mama and her three daughters do not speak the most eloquently, or have poise and oodles of class, but they are still a family that shows evidence of love. The gang even held a charity event at her home called “Christmas in July,” in which neighbors and friends stopped over to donate non-perishables for the less fortunate.

At the end of the day, the lives of pageant families have no direct effect on any of us. No matter how much we complain about how wrong it is, nothing we say can really be done to stop it. The best thing to do, as it is in any case where television makes you sick, is to change the channel. There are worse things parents can do to their children, like total neglect, no?

I am not condoning child pageants like Alana participates in, or pregnancy at fifteen like her sister is, or eating bacon cheeseburgers until you are over 300 pounds like Mama. If these glitz-hungry families are happy and your lives are so perfect the way they are, why waste your time complaining about it so much? I am only trying to get those who are so hell-bent on condemning pageantry to think a wee bit different on the topic for, like, ten minutes max.

Then you can go back to hating. But really, where does that get you?

19 thoughts on “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: Pageants & Family Values

  1. I just watched it for the first time last night and I love it! They clearly love one another and have a great sense of humor. They know people are laughing and they don’t care. I think it’s great! And I’m from GA, so you know! :) Thanks for posting this realistic view on “reality” TV!

  2. Y’all have fallen right into the trap they’ve set for you.Reality TV is ALWAYS scripted for emotion, drama, surprise. Honey Boo Boo will be one depressed kid when the spotlight is off her and her family. Not remotely a good thang about this depressing situation.

  3. *Ouch* I have only seen about 5 minutes, so I’m in no place to judge (yet), but I will say that I can’t imagine thinking that this is decent even for reality tv. Haha. I’ll have to let you know.

  4. I come from a pretty redneck area and you do point out the obvious: that there is a love in the families that sometimes gets ignored due to misunderstanding about their lifestyles.

    However, I actually do find pageants such as this to be bad for her because although it brings her together it sort of misleads her into thinking that she’ll end up being a model or pageant star. Which, in this case of this young girl, is a pretty sad dream to instill in her.

    Also, isn’t laughing and pointing at her oddity and her mother’s strangeness kind of a “freakshow” effect? I am not accusing you of this but isn’t that kind of the appeal in a way? Laugh at the stupid redneck freaks? And then “awww” when they hug?

    It’s why I can’t watch shows like this: they are INHERENTLY exploitative.

    1. No you’re not being too serious. I like to read the opinions of others! On that note, this post doesn’t point out any of the mother’s oddities, nor am I laughing at her for being a little stranger than the people I am used to. I know that in America, there are families like this, so it is just entertaining to finally see it. I’m not watching to judge, just to be entertained. If TLC’s main goal was to exploit this family for all its “freakshow” qualities, that’s on them.

      1. Oh I’m not calling YOU out on laughing at her for her weirdness or for the freakshow effect. That was why I added the “too serious” comment.

        I do think that is why a lot of people enjoy these types of shows but you seem to have a genuine enjoyment for the characters. Like many others do, I’m sure. I’m just sick of these types of shows, frankly.

  5. When I watched her episode of T&T I was mortified, so you can only imagine what I thought when I watched HCHBB. Sure, theyre a happy family in their own way, but I do not think they deserve a television show.

  6. The entire situation, on my view, seems so sad. In a psychological behaviour point of view that sort of family, although loving, is quite dangerous for the girl’s self-image. The narcisitic way the mother projects herself on the child usually have terrible consequences. I studied sociopaths and that is one of the ways the child may develop som form of social detachment. As expressed by Mr Benac, the child will grow up to strong false expectations and the resulting devastation of her hopes and dreams could lead to a break down of the adult personality turning her into an imature person with near infantilized behaviour or turn her into a manipulative person acting out in revenge against the society that denied her dreams. USually I wouldn’t care about reality shows (I watch a few), but when it comes to children I’m sensitive about it. Feels wrong and highly exploitive, but you make a good point when you say the show shows an interesting family dynamic away from those white trash and poor people clichés (and I overwrote again… with overly serious thoughts, again).

    Interesting post… but the girls and mom kinda scare on the giffs you used.

    P.S.:Thanks for liking my post and for the follow.

  7. “Every now and then when I am relaxing in front of the tube and there is nothing on, I will demean my intellect with reality shows that patronize its subjects and convince its viewers that designer handbags, cat fights and “GTL” are all part of God’s grand plan for the human race.” – Hahahahaha, this is me!

    I watched the first episode of this show out of curiosity and suddenly found myself three episodes in and not able to stop watching it. I find it truly fascinating and I’m ashamed of myself.

  8. OK, but why do they call it Honey Boo Boo? Is that the young girl’s nickname? Sorry, I am illiterate when it comes to operating cable television and therefore have not seen the show.

  9. There’s two sides to everything. People will abuse their kids one way or another pageants or no. But i think sexed up little kids are a step too far. If people don’t like it, though, they ought to stay away in droves. That’s probably the most effective way to have an opinion.

  10. [Old Man Voice]

    Why, when I was your age, I remember when TLC used to stand for “the LEARNING Channel”.

    [/Old Man Voice]

    Sarah, you will NEVER convince me that this show promotes ANYTHING positive. Chances are, this poor child will be scarred for life. If not physically, then definitely emotionally.

    “There are worse things parents can do to their children, like total neglect, no?”

    Honestly, i’m not sure what’s worse – TOTALLY neglecting your child, or letting your child get to the point where it could become a health issue. At least you would EXPECT the negatives with total neglect.

    There’s so.much.more. I could say about this…another time, maybe.

  11. I do not fault pageants, there’s nothing wrong with the appreciation of beauty and teaching kids the basics of overcoming the gripping shyness. Even in business we sometimes need to work a room.

    T&Tis wrong simply because it focuses on obsession, no different then Hoarders. Oogling at freaks is at the heart of Americana, TLC is simply the modern day carnival. Oh how far we haven’t come.

    Now…Honey Boo Boo. You want to know what’s killing the economy folks, all the Boo Boo families out there without a fucking TV show. The pride this family shows in sloth and avarice is exactly what will swallow the American dream more voraciously than they scoff Cheetos off the carpet. I’m sorry, not Cheetos, Air Filled Like Cheeseish Puffs.

    Work…a sense of purpose beyond earthly pleasures, the Boo Boos know no such concepts.

    What do the Boo Boos have? Pride. Pride in being stupid and merely grazing the earth. And that blind arrogance is the greatest sin of all.

    Honey Boo Boo is an obnoxious prat, and I only pray that even the most obtuse who give this child ratings will eventually grow weary of her one trick schtick of annoyance.

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