Of all of the horrible crap on TeeVee, the TLC program Here Comes Honey Boo Boo amongst the worst. As a matter of fact, this program is the epitome of redneckery. This trainwreck revolves around overweight child beauty pageant contestant Alana Thompson, now seven years old, her obese and incredibly stupid mum June, her three sisters (all four of the girls have different fathers), and her father.
I really do not know where to start. This program is so vile that it would require instruments not yet invented to measure its offensiveness. But it is my job to give my opinion, and remember I do not always write about things that I like.
The program is sort of a spin off of the vile TLC program Toddlers and Tiaras, which I have always considered to be essentially almost pornographic, and not in the positive way. TLC also brings such gems as 19 Kids and Counting and the now defunct John and Kate Plus 8, Sarah Palin's Alaska, and some other really literary works.
I normally do not watch nonsense like this, but happened to be channel surfing one day and saw the title. Having heard of it but no specifics, I just had to look. The result was something like watching a herd of hyenas rip the carcass of some unfortunate animal asunder: horrible but so fascinating that I could not stop. Unfortunately, it was a marathon and I was transfixed at the utter obscenity of it for around two and a half hours. Never again shall I do that!
Here is a composite clip. All of this material is so awful that I will give only links, being embarrassed to imbed any of the video. The subtitles are not a You Tube artifact; the command of English for both Alana and the rest of the family is so poor that it is difficult to understand them unless you are accustomed to this corrupt dialect.
I am accustomed to this corrupt dialect. I grew up with it! Those of you who read my regular Wednesday night series My Little Town know that I grew up in a town called Hackett, Arkansas that is very much like McIntyre, Georgia. Now, in my house we did not talk that way. My parents, in particular my mum, insisted on proper English, including verb conjugation, subject/predicate number agreement, NEVER saying "ain't" except for illustrative purposes, and other general rules of English. However, as anyone who has spoken with me from the community on the telephone, and many of you have, I still have a definite southern accent, not a drawl but, as I like to think, more of a lilt.
Perhaps this is why the program evokes such a visceral response in me. I LIVED there, or in a place very much like there, and saw first hand all of the things that are now proudly touted as entertainment on TeeVee. Most of my friends were more literate and in my circles education was highly valued. Many of you know that in my immediate family I was only the second to attain a college degree, my brother getting one first. He went into the business world and was quite successful. I needed more, and am the only one who has attained a Ph.D., though my eldest son Geoffrey is in program now.
Anyway, back to the show. These folks are something. One of their favorite foods is spaghetti, which they call "sketti" to a person. I love the recipe. Boil the pasta in much less water than required and when it gets soft and so covered on the surface with starch that it will stick to the wall when a few strands are flung, it is done. Literally, they throw food onto the wall to see if it is done!
Once the pasta is ready, the sauce comes next. Their favorite is butter (actually cheap margarine) and ketchup. What a meal!
Then in one episode Alana had to miss a pageant because her eldest sister, Anna, at the time 17 years old, had a baby girl of her own! They made a big deal about how wonderful it was to have yet another child out of wedlock! Now, please do not get me wrong. Everyone has different circumstances, and some of them are tough. A person that I know well has an illegitimate child, and that child happens to be my eldest son's best friend! I am not attempting to cast aspersions, just pointing out trends that I personally believe are best kept personal and within a family. Allowing a TeeVee production company to profit from those situations is just wrong.
But what can I say? As Alana said, it is for the money. Except for the income from the TeeVee show, only the hapless father of Alana works, and the story is that he works seven days a week in the chalk mines at their town. I think that there is more to see than that, and rumor is that TLC will be paying the family lots more for new issues than they did for the previous ones. It makes me wonder how "realistic" this series is, or if it is more contrived than the production team allows. Here is my personal take.
I think that the people are pretty real. I have seen families like this all of my life. They are easy to manipulate, if money is available. It is sort of like prostitution, people doing anything to make a buck.
But it is not excusable to exploit a six year old (now seven years old) for such ends. This show gets millions of people to watch it every airing, and that says something about the audience. As I said earlier, I will never watch it again, just as I said the same thing about the awful show about the Duggars (from Arkansas, by the way).
Here are a couple of other links to the show, and they are all horrific. I am sort of sorry that I chose this topic for tonight, but it is important to get the proud flesh of our society into the open, and that proud flesh is really not the exploited family (but they DO enable it), but rather the money hungry producers of such a corrupt product. They are the ones profiting from the misery of others, and just give a very little back and no encouragement for their subjects to improve themselves. Indeed, they WANT to keep that family just like they are, in order to make more money off of a trainwreck.
Kimmel got it right. I really have known and even now know folks like this. Is the mum not so, so attractive? Wait until you hear her wonderful potty mouth!
This brings me to another thought. When the eldest sister was about to have a child, everyone thought that it was not only appropriate but funny to hear Alana say words to the effect that, "Anna's goin' to have a baby come out of her biscuit." This is highbrow TeeVee at its best!
The idiot Dr. Drew is, well, an idiot for promoting them. I shall NEVER watch his show again, either. The funny thing is that I NEVER did. What an idiot he is!
I think that I should leave it here for now, except to make a couple of comments about TLC. For a service that was started in 1972 as an actual educational channel (by NASA and DHEW, when NIXON was president), then was privatized, named Appalachian Community Service Network, and finally renamed The Learning Channel, it has fallen as cravenly as anything I have seen. From actual science and other, highbrow content now we get this kind of garbage. It is really a shame how the mighty have fallen. I used to watch it when it really was a learning channel. Crap like this sort of makes me see the reasoning that the fundies have for wanting to be able to get cable and satellite on a a la carte basis.
On a happier note, next week we shall examine the wonderful new remake of Dark Shadows, the gothic series from the 1960s now reborn with Johnny Depp doing a marvelous sendup of Barnabas Collins. Ashley and I watched it Wednesday night (it was only released on DVD on Tuesday) and both of us laughed and cried at it. You see, I grew up rushing home from grade school to catch it at 3:30 PM every day! It brought back a lot of memories, and soundtrack is excellent. She had not been a regular reader of my music blogs, but when "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues played in the movie she remarked how she loves that song. I had her to pause for a moment and explained about the band and my writings about them. She decided that perhaps our tastes in music, although separated by 35 years, might be closer than she and I had thought.
Speaking of that individual, it is likely that I will not be around for comments for some time tonight because unless something unexpected happens, the plan is for me to spend much of the evening with her, sorting baby clothes for her to sell. We spent all day from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM together today, along with Alexis, and had a ball. We baked a cake, played with Alexis, went on a walk with her, and just in general enjoyed each others' company. She is going out of town for a few days tomorrow, so tonight is the last chance that we will have to spend quality time together, and Alexis will be asleep so we can focus on each other.
Please go ahead and comment, because it is rare for Alexis to go to sleep before a little after nine. I shall keep you informed of my whereabouts and promise to answer all of the comments upon my return hopefully much later this evening.