Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and There Goes American Culture

The other day, the television was tuned to TLC — The Learning Channel — and there was a godforsaken “Best Of” show about “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” playing and, in the five minutes it took me to recover from what I was watching and actually change the channel, I was dismayed to learn just how far we’ve sunk in our cultural values.  How did Honey Boo Boo become a hit?  The reality show isn’t really even about Honey Boo Boo.  The show is about her obnoxious family, and her grotesque mother, who loves to regale us with farts and burps and detailed reports on other bodily functions.

If we have ever doubted the downfall of American Cultural Values, sixty seconds with Honey Boo Boo will convince you we are in an unrepentant spiral where only the worst of us, in us, is celebrated on cable television and, the sad thing about it all, is that Honey Boo Boo and her family — like swine in slop — love the negative attention for their redneck, dysfunctional lifestyle.  They adore that they’re hated.  They thrill in the idea that their tepid show is popular, not because they are great, or even good people, but because they are all perpetual losers who others can watch with a great Schadenfreude that, “No matter how much my life sucks, I’m not as horrible as those turds.”

The shame of Honey Boo Boo is there is no sense of shame — and that is a sad and sorry commentary, not just on them, but on those who watch them and wonder why.

We have always had cultural controls in place to move the meter of aesthetic expectation from trash to hopeless to hopeful, but those social cudgels are dwindling.  With the rise of the entertainment mediaplex — no mainstream reviewer dares to give a negative review to anything, or they risk getting a vicious whipping back via orchestrated backdoor social media memes — and so the job of crushing the trash fell to media outsiders like Regretsy and Vote for the Worst – both are sadly wrapping up shop this year — to spread the mocking that Glue Guns make Great Art and that American Idol is actually a Singing Competition.

When you lose the human risk tenders, you tend to lose control of taste.  When everything becomes qualified for airing on television, intellect declines, and worthiness is deemed as unimportant as the Honey Boo Boo juicy sneeze-belch and the chronic inability to reduce “vajiggle.”  If you don’t know what “vajiggle” is — then you are certainly luckier than I was as the world of Honey Boo Boo crashed and conquered any sense of human sensibility — and there’s nowhere I can go to escape the flatulent “crop dusting” definition that accompanies the rotting corpus.

15 comments

  • I am finding it hard to imagine anything quite so ghastly. I am not sure which is worse, the fact that it is being made or it being marketed to impressionable young minds. This type of thing is at least as bad as the violent video games being discussed the other day. Generations growing up with no moral code is a very damning verdict on todays society.

    • Honey Boo Boo is an imaginable, ghastly, mess — and it finds celebration and Big Money on an American Cable television channel dedicated to learning. The show is the height of hypocrisy and gluttony. Sloth, too. And Loathing.

      I agree the whole Boo Boo thing is just as damaging and numbing as violent video games. The intention is the same: Insult the moral duty and turn crassness into a virtue.

  • I have tried to watch the show, but I can’t get past all the farting. It isn’t a funny farting like they do on 30 Rock as a running sort of joke, but it’s just blasting the sound and smell to sicken people. Mean.

    • I’m all for a good fart joke! You’re right that the Boo Boo show does it just to be gross and disgusting and that gets really old super fast.

    • I was just going to say how gross – but you beat me to it David !

      • Yeah! But gross can be funny too — you just have to be smart enough to know how to pull it off without being grimy. Monty Python does a lot of gross humor that is hilarious — but they’re all geniuses. Honey Boo Boo is just a show about idiots seeking attention by any means possible. There’s no limit to how low they’ll sink to “gross” you out… and they don’t even care about earning a laugh.

        • Agreed you have to be very very clever with gross and it is a target that is easily missed. It takes real class like the Monty Python Team to pull it off.

          • Yes, and what’s great about Python is that you can watch it over and over again and years later — it’s all still funny! That’s a great talent to create a timeless, funny, grossness! SMILE!

  • Shows like this worry me. It seems like it is only getting worse too. I have had several conversations about how reality tv shows are taking over our media time, and even worse people are actually watching them! I don’t know what to think about shows like this, but it often makes me want to boycott television.

    • I am worried as well, Brielle. The fact that these gross reality shows are finding a footing in our culture means there is some sort of human value viewers are discovering in the effort of viewing — but I think it’s a negative value, like putting goodness in a vacuum and sucking it all out into a Black Hole never to be seen again just to see what it feels like to live in misery with no way out.

      I thought the Kardashians and the Bravo Housewives and their ilk were the last-straw-lower-depths of reality television inhumanity — but the Boo Boo series sets a whole new all time low.

      The next step down, I fear, will be killing live animals to laugh as the last sounds of pain they make.

      Then, smothering old people in their beds with plastic dry cleaning bags.

      Then, shooting people for sport in a real life “The Most Dangerous Game.”

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023238/

      Then, children and infants will find a deathly suffering on TV.

      Then, finally, the ultimate destruction of the world will be the final reality TV fantasy sport — and it all ends in a boom of blood and lava.

  • I am proud to announce I have never seen this show and based on the image you have put right in my face on this article I will do my best to avoid it at all costs in the future. I’m not into gross out television shows.

  • :( This sounds scary. I am glad that I didn’t get a chance to watch this. My question is also the same – who watches this and why??

    • Hi Katha!

      Well, it’s odd. Honey Boo Boo started off as a child beauty pageant contestant on “Toddlers and Tiaras” on The Learning Channel and — because she was so strange and obnoxious and non-beauty pageant-like — she became a semi-star for breaking the mold of what a beauty queen should look like. Her grotesque family were there, too, cheering her on with farts and belches.

      So… based on that popularity, TLC decided we needed a whole new television series dedicated only to Honey Boo Boo and her family — and, like a bloody car crash, middlestream America cannot help but slow down their channel surfing to watch the gore. I suppose Redneck Hillbillies and reality show entertainment is the next step down from “The Beverly Hillbillies” situation comedy.

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