- Cullman, Alabama


November 2, 2012

Southern Style: Honey Boo Boo Child

CULLMAN — I swore I wasn’t going to get on the Honey Boo Boo Child bandwagon, but its gone on so long now that I just have to add my two cents.

Everybody on Facebook, Twitter, or television has given you their opinion of the “family” reality show from the depths of Hee Haw Hades, so we won’t go there.

What the show makes me think of is the thousands of other mothers besides hers, who had their lil’ darlins decked out in ribbons and bows, hair curled to a fare-thee-well and smiling their little gap-tooth smiles while they tapped their hearts out to “The Good Ship Lollipop”, or whatever they tap to these days.

Can’t you just imagine the gnashing of teeth and the sidelong looks at the pageants that Honey Boo Boo attends? Just think of all the money those other moms have invested in turning their daughters into perfect little Barbies with sequined wardrobes. And calculate the hours they’ve spent at dance lessons, and for someone to choreograph “cutesy” moves to the beat of fast-paced songs. A smile here —  be sure to show the dimple!  Index finger to lips here, tilt head just so — and smile!

And you know those women are just dying to know how much money lil’ Honey is stashing away each week! I’m quite sure that it keeps them up at night. (According to, that figure is hovering at around $50,000 right now).

So, tell me, how many of them do you think will change their strategy after seeing this phenomenon? Think they will study old episodes of Hee Haw to get the accent down pat? Think they will feed their sweet babies some pork rinds and banana pudding now, instead of keeping them on the Scarsdale diet? You can bet the thought has crossed their minds.

But the most disheartening thing about this whole show, other than it being another sad reflection on the South, is that little Honey Boo Boo is going to grow up and see this someday. Reckon she’ll be a tad embarrassed?

Either that, or she will be another Anna Nicole Smith — just a sweet Southern girl looking for love under the neon lights. Poor Honey Boo Boo … will we see her as a victim then?

I can just see the headlines now: “Honey Boo Boo sues mother, father and sisters for spending all her money on four-wheelers, body piercings and vacations to Dollywood.”  

Remember what such stardom has done for children like McCauley Culkin (who just turned 30...unbelievable!) and River Phoenix?

I hope for her sake that this show, though it must seem like they have hit the lottery right now, doesn’t ruin her childhood and possibly her life. It’s so hard to tell what twists and turns this experience and exposure will have on her. For one thing, she will be able to afford a good education, if anyone is handling her money the way it should be. For another, she will have access to people and places that she might not otherwise have. Let’s hope that someone has the sense to make sure those are the right people, with the best of intentions. But that’s a toss-up.

For now, I’m sure the little girl and her family are basking in the limelight of “reality TV” fame in much the same way as the Swamp People and the Lizzard Lick stars are. Who’d have ever thought in a million years that millions of people would have tuned in each week to watch as people wash their hair in the sink or boil alligators in the yard?

Its sort of comical when you think about it, that television viewers have chosen to watch people walking around in their houses looking for a hair brush and doing their laundry instead of prime time shows. Last week little Honey even beat out Mitt Romney by over a million viewers. Now, that says a lot about what people think of the Republican candidate!

According to the Neilsen Ratings, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” garnered 2.9 million viewers compared to the National Republican Conventions’ 1.2 million viewers. The demographic age range was also sort of amazing. Neilsen says that those millions of people are in the all important 18 to 49-year-old group. Are people that bored, or just don’t they have anything else worthy of watching?

Yes, the Honey Boo Boo craze has brought millions of viewers to the screen for yet another glimpse of the way we Southerners live…and many will always see all people from below the Mason-Dixon line in her family. I think this show may well have set the “genteel” South back about 50 years in the minds of folks from New York to California.  

And what about all those moms who were on “Toddlers and Tiaras” (the reality show from which Honey Boo Boo sprang)? The ones who had visions in their heads of having their own child in the spotlight, smiling and posing and showing off their talents. I’m sure that they were hoping some Hollywood producer would spot their precious little pumpkin and shoot her straight to stardom, but who would have ever envisioned this?!

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