Quick Takes: “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”

Show Poorly Portrays Rural Culture

The TLC reality TV show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is a semi-comedic documentary about the family of child beauty contestant Alana Thompson (nicknamed ‘Honey Boo Boo’), who became famous in 2010 when she appeared on the reality series, “Toddlers and Tiaras.” This program unfairly makes a spectacle out of life in rural America by highlighting unhealthy living and dysfunctionality.

The makers of the show constantly try to demean the characters through unfair cinematic techniques. The producers devote over half of runtime in the third episode to the Thompsons’ greasy cooking habits. Extreme close-up shots of dirty dishes and sizzling butter on a pan get a full five minutes of coverage. Though the point of this was ostensibly to explore Alana’s dietary habits, it was actually a cheap attempt to take the mundane and make it a circus of the bizarre.

The show frequently glosses over Alana’s discipline. The narrator only mentions in passing that she practices her modeling routine for three hours a day, and instead the show spends nearly 10 minutes on Alana’s belly-squeezing antics.  

Though Alana’s family members are not ashamed of themselves, the makers of this program portray them like they should be. To improve their show’s ratings, the producers attempt to portray the Thompsons in a grotesque and skewed way.

— Ayan Kusari
Features Editor

Reality Show is Just Entertainment

The unanticipated success of TLC’s new reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” has come under fire for unfairly lampooning the family’s relative poverty and lifestyle. This criticism, however, is misplaced.

“Honey Boo Boo” is hardly the first reality television show to depict polarizing child behavior — the “19 Kids and Counting” series has also elicited everything in the spectrum from scorn to acclaim. Huffington Post article notes that the family receives upwards of $15,000 for each episode, enough for the family to forge a more comfortable life.

Although the characters may appear vacuous, it is important to recognize their qualities. In fact, comedian Rosie O’Donnell declared her genuine admiration for Thompson’s “presence and intellect” in an interview with People Magazine. Despite the sometimes-objectionable lifestyle choices, the exceptional strength of the family’s affection for one another is a model for others.

The U.S. is hardly a homogeneous nation — television programming should reflect its variance from quintessential suburbia by balancing representations of wealth and privilege with the thrifty and culturally dissimilar lives of families such as the Thompsons.

— Kelvin Noronha
Contributing Writer

Fame Will Destroy Little Girl’s Life

Lindsay Lohan, the Olsen twins and Amanda Bynes were once bright child stars. Now, as they find themselves entering adulthood, those adorable memories we had of them are being replaced with ones of anorexia, drug abuse and mental instability. Alana Thompson is unknowingly on this path. If the public, her family, and the TV network don’t wake up, her life may very well spiral into disaster.

Captivating or not, Thompson is carelessly being deployed as a child soldier in the entertainment industry. Child psychologists and doctors alike emphasize the importance of creating authentic friendships as a kid. Thompson, like many child stars before her, is being deprived from forming these crucial relationships. Former child star Christopher Knight, of the 1970s sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” attested to this, remarking that there exist people who only pretend to be child stars’ friends solely because of their stardom.

Thompson will have plenty of time to chase money and flaunt her looks later in life. Her mother should be telling her to play outside, not to shake her butt. The celebrity bubble developing around Thompson is not nurturing a star, but rather starving a child who may never get the chance to achieve her full potential and grow into a normal adult.

— Matthew Rosin
Contributing Writer