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Thursday, August 9, 2012

It came from Georgia ... "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

The queen of our world.
  • The queen of our world.
Say what you will about the value of reality television — for instance, that it has none — but sometimes the subjects of a program are compelling enough to kick their way into your brain box and really make you think.

They can make you think thoughts, like, "Is it even possible that it's legal for police to alert a family to the presence of a dead deer on a local roadway so they can collect and eat it?"

Or, "Is it true that farting between 12 and 15 times a day promotes good health?"

See. So much food (and roadkill) for thought compliments of a Toddler in a Tiara who's starring in the new TLC series "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." Context: Six year-old Alana was featured on the TLC child abuse-expose program "Toddlers & Tiaras" a few months, maybe a year ago. She's a precocious, pudgy little thing from McIntyre, Ga. who behaves and speaks like a 50-year-old prostitute from the ghetto with a healthy methamphetamine habit. Her most famous catchphrase became, "A dolla' makes me holla,' honey boo boo," hence the name of the new program, dedicated solely to following Alana and her family's exploits in pageantry and general redneckery.

The characters ...
June: Alana's mother. A woman who is basically an anthropomorphized big toe. Her brother gay brother "Poodle" happens to be missing his big toe — I'm relatively sure these two things are related.
Sugar Bear: Alana's dad. A man of few words. The few words he speaks are always subtitled.
The three sisters: Chubbs, Chickadee (17 and very pregnant), and one that burps and farts even more than the rest of them.

The plot (not that reality shows have plots, necessarily, but this one is kind of trying) ...
Alana really loves pageants, but she's no good. I don't want to speak for pageant judges (sure I do), but they mostly seem upset and nauseated by her, whether she's exposing her ample midriff in a Daisy Duke costume or grinding her false teeth like a little cokehead during her beauty walk. I should note: the false teeth — or "flipper" — are a pageant thing, not a redneck thing. So, Alana's going to get a new coach, new dresses, and new routines in an effort to become a real competitor on the pageant scene. But along the way, we'll watch her family be poor and do poor people things in rural Georgia, and laugh about what bumpkins they are.

And it's easy. They're extreme couponers whose walls are lined with shelves stacked with paper products they bought cheap. They grocery shop at an auction, which is a thing I've never seen before (a guy in a Misfits shirt literally auctions off individual bags of Ruffles and packages of miniature vanilla bundt cakes to the highest bidder). They actually pick up a deer off the side of the road, skin and dismember it, and grind it up into hamburger meat while little Alana strokes one of the animal's severed legs, blood and sinew exposed. She named it Darlene. They burp and they fart and they blow their noses into cloth dinner napkins, which I actually find endearing because I come from a family of burpers and farters, and we're great.

Anyway, I was joking about that food for thought stuff (for the most part). This show exists almost solely to give people an opportunity to mock this family. Which is fine. We're a mean-spirited culture and I'm an active participant (see here). Also, we can presume they're being paid for it and they could probably use the money, considering they're buying their bundt cakes at auction. But it's hard not to think a little about what it does for the South's image, a thing I still and always will care about. And there's the ridicule this little girl will be subjected to as she grows up and becomes self-aware (which may or may not ever happen, based on her progenitors). But who knows. Maybe it's better to have some of that sweet TLC cash and worry later about what the world outside McIntyre, Ga. thinks.

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