Posted by: corrinebuchanan | October 15, 2012

Here Comes Honey Boo Who?

I thought I would use this blog post to bring up the new controversial cultural phenomenon that is, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2SzGUwaMI

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has recently wrapped up their first season and has already signed onto season 2. Throughout the season, it averaged more than 2.4 million viewers and drew a bigger audience then the Republican National Convention. (Kepler, 2012)  (link to full article: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/honey-boo-boo-has-the-ratings-if-not-the-critics/)

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is not without its critics. In fact, there are a whole lot of them. Here is one example by Tim Goodman, a writer for The Hollywood Reporter,

“So here’s the deal: You know this show is exploitation. TLC knows it. Maybe even Mama and HBB know it, deep down in their rotund bodies. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a car crash, and everybody rubber-necks at a car crash, right? It’s human nature.

Yes, except that if you play that card, you also have to realize that human nature comes with the capacity to draw a line, to hold fast against the dehumanization and incremental tearing down of the social fabric, even if this never-ending onslaught of reality television suggests that’s a losing effort. You can say no to visual exploitation. You can say no to TLC. And you can say no to Honey Boo Boo Child.”  (Goodman, August 2012)

Personally, I struggle with this show. I hate to admit it, but I really enjoy watching it and I think the family is hilarious. One of the questions that was raised in our readings that I believe can and should be raised in the case of reality TV, is to consider whether or not it has been created ethically. Do the producers and creators of the show exploit and victimize their subjects? (O’Shaughnessy, p. 308)

In the case of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo I am on the fence. I have no doubt in my mind that the Thompson family knows what they are doing. They have found a way (although unconventional) to make money and provide more income for their family by making fun of themselves, one another and their lifestyle. But as a viewer/ human being, should I know better than to spend my time supporting what many believe is mockery of this poor and unusual family?

This is just one example of the many ethically controversial reality shows. As viewers, how do we judge when the comedy/entertainment ends and the exploitation begins? Can we do more than just stop watching?

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