Honey Boo Boo Forever
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is the best show in the history of shows, ever. Better than The Wire. Better than Soul Train, which up until recently was my favorite show. It’s the finest thing anyone has ever committed to the silver screen and I watch it twice every damn time it comes on. What’s not to like about a pig-like redneck child who comes up with phrases like “you better redneckognize” and loves chicken nuggets only slightly less than Bacon Boy does?
In the spirit of ruining the fun for the rest of us, a lot of folks are deriding Honey Boo Boo for being stereotypical and casting the White, largely redneck, population of McIntyre, GA as backwards hicks only worthy of a laugh. They say the joke is wearing thin and that the exploitation of the subpopulation is appalling. The people from McIntyre are sometimes upset at being portrayed a certain way, and the mayor doesn’t like the show one bit. Many of the folks are eager to point out that they aren’t really like this in real life and that the show is an unfair cariacature. That the stuff like the “Redneck Games” and its events, such as the Cigarette Toss and Competitive Dumpster Diving, is all overblown.
And all those people can shove it. Let’s be clear; the reason I love Honey Boo Boo isn’t because it offers a highly nuanced view of a region or a group of people and their daily lives. I like it because it’s a caricature. I like it because it makes people angry. I like it because folks can finally see why Black people sometimes get so damn angry when people build “ghetto” stereotypes of us based on exploitative shows that only focus on dramatized and ridiculous characters like Flava Flav. To me, Honey Boo Boo and “life realities” shows like it are payback for years of folks laughing at poor minorities because….well, because they are poor minorities. Granted, we still find it easier to pick fun at poor folks than rich ones (although Keeping up with the Kardashians offers a similar thrill on the other end), but at least it’s not just poor Black folks. And although rednecks have been lampooned to great success before (see King of the Hill and that show about the racist-ass bounty hunter), I always relish the opportunity to even the score up a little. Of course it’s spiteful, but I suppose watching some White folks live the mud life is good therapy for me having to deal with ghosts of minstrelsy around every corner. Also, any show that outdoes the Republican National Convention on its most important night is a good show to me, especially when the humor in the situation is that the two probably have the same target audience. Yikes.
Look. Every time someone complains about Blacks’ portrayal in media, we are met with what amounts to, “lighten up.” Exploitation is only so because the people being filmed allow it, right? And people don’t automatically assume that the stereotype is true, right? So that’s what I’m telling all the people upset about Honey Boo Boo. We get to laugh and laugh at White folks doing crazy stuff on camera. It’s equal-opportunity exploitation. And when we’re force-fed another Black person doing stupid shit for three seasons on VH1, we’ll grin and bear it (**sidenote** Why hasn’t there been a show about the Alabama leprechaun yet?). But until then, it’s Honey Boo Boo now, Honey Boo Boo tomorrow, Honey Boo Boo forever. Someone forward this to TLC for me.
Namaste, and it’s good to be back.