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.

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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 EW.com,  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?