Somebody help me. I just can’t relate to any of the reality shows that networks pass off to us as entertainment. Maybe that’s why I only watch PBS, newscasts or reruns of Seinfeld. At least I can relate to Jerry and his friends because they’re funny. But the embarrassing overabundance of reality shows that continuously bomb the American living room has given a new meaning to the definition of ‘sinkhole’.
Let’s take my favorite, most disgusting reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. This is the story of a hillbilly-like family from rural Georgia who is getting more than 15 minutes of fame, thanks to a cute but overweight and self-absorbed little hillbully whose real name is Alana. The idea here is that mom enters her six-year old daughter in beauty contests all the while directing how she should pose, strut and show the judges some ‘attitude’. How hard is it for a six-year old to have an attitude anyway?
Alana can be brutal to anyone who gets in her way because “I want the crown! The big one and I’m gonna git it.” The cameras cut to the little darling throwing temper tantrums when she’s tired of practicing her moves or having her hair and make-up done. Then we see the terrified look on the faces of the parents as they contemplate losing their meal ticket daughter to fatigue. “C’mon, baby, just do it one more time, please?” the mother pleads, obviously walking on egg shells here. No dice.
Just for being themselves and displaying their brand of reality to the rest of us, this family reportedly earns $50,000 an episode. Somebody should pay me $50,000 for not watching. But this is our system and Honey Boo Boo and her clan are living examples that capitalism works just as it should. But God help the teacher who gets this kid in school.
Sure, I can and do change the channel or slip in a DVD when programs that I don’t like come on because, hey, I got rights, too. But why the general public doesn’t demand better from the networks says something about us as a culture. I’m not sure what it says, but I’m pretty sure it says something.
By exploiting their daughter’s ferocious temperament and often cruel behavior to the other runner-up children in the beauty pageants, these parents should be held accountable for making a honey of a boo boo in raising this demon child.
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