Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Television Tuesday: When Reality Shows Get too Real AKA The Rise and Fall of "Honey Boo Boo"

Once It Was All Fun and Happy...
A show no more.
Hey, remember when we could talk about that television program, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," and just laugh? We could giggle at these strange self-declared Rednecks and their odd behaviors, grinning and guffawing because in some way they were, "Real," seeing as we call it reality television. I mean, we knew full well that as with any reality T.V. program it was an exaggerated sort of existence, one where we only saw the moments that were cute, funny, or heart-touching. We knew there was probably more to this family than the cameras or occasional interview revealed,  but we liked having them presented to us through that happy-go-lucky filter of the show.

It was a faux-reality, but it was comfortable and safe, more fiction than fact, but still apparently "real" enough we could enjoy it and consider it a possibly accurate portrayal of this family's life. The thing is though, it wasn't real, and this fake bubble of joy and everything seeming perfectly, "Beautimous," was bound to pop when something happened to, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" that seems to happen to many reality shows--that is, it got too real.

...But Then The Real World Intruded
No, he really didn't.
If we want actual reality we can watch the news. There we will see all the wars going on, panic over Ebola, racial tensions in the US, and all other sorts of upsetting things. That's why we love fictional products, but sometimes we want our fiction to feel at least somewhat grounded in real-life, and that is arguably where our fondness for, "Reality Shows," came from. We can say it's real, but know it truly isn't. Still, who cares? After all, it's fun and the people on the shows are apparently "real" enough so let's enjoy it. The thing is though, it is still all fake, but with the added element that due to the people on the show being real their "fake-lives" may start coming into conflict with their real ones.

That conflict of "realities" is why Hulk Hogan's show ended up getting cancelled when his son went to jail and he broke up with his wife. That's why so many couples who fell in love on, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" didn't last. Hell, that's why so many folk on those "Real Housewives" shows seem to end up going broke, developing a drug addiction, going to prison, getting divorced or some combination of the four. This is why I wasn't surprised when the real real-world started to intrude into Alana and her family's life, but still saddened. Plus, the reality that has intruded is a scary one indeed.

It's Over Now
June AKA Mama June
"Honey Boo Boo," is cancelled; as to why it is no more, the answer is alarming. The infamous Mama June of the show broke-up with Sugar Bear a bit ago and started dating an old flame. The thing is, this old flame just got out of a ten-year prison stint for child molestation. Also, while the case he went to prison for was unrelated to our televised family, there had been allegations in the past that he had actually molested one of June's own children, eldest child Anna, now 20 years-old an a recent-mother herself. In news reports it has been illustrated that June apparently didn't believe her daughter's claims, and I imagine she still thinks her beau, a man by the name of Mark McDaniel is innocent and never touched her child or any other--that's how denial works, after all. June probably would rather think this romantic partner of hers is wrongly convicted than deal with the fact that her own daughter says he forced her to do things no child should be forced to do.

As it became more and more apparent June was in fact interacting with McDaniel and even allowing him to be around her other underage girls TLC pulled the plug on the show faster than you can say, "This could bring some bad press," and announced they were ending all activities dealing with the program, "Immediately." Now, it seems June could even lose custody of the kids as generally the State doesn't want children around a convicted sex offender, and her ex-husband Sugar Bear (and Alana's birth-father, as the other kids have different dads) could sue for full custody in the interest of their safety. It is all extremely depressing.
(Possibly) happier times.
It's upsetting for some because they enjoyed watching the show (I quit after the wedding episode/finale of Season 2), for others it is because they now see that this supposedly adorable family they loved was never as fun or happy as they thought, but instead dealing with their own serious issues just as many families do--although often not to such a disturbing and child-scarring degree. Some people felt a mixture of anger and vindication, I bet, declaring, "Well, we wanted to see how people who make bad decisions behaved, was this really that shocking?" Other folk are probably mad the show was cancelled because now their jokes about the program or family will be little more than outdated popular-culture references--"Hey, remember, 'Honey Boo Boo?' Wasn't that crazy?" I'm not really mad, sad, vindicated, or otherwise emotional about the show--I'm just concerned.

What Does the Future Hold?
What's next?
I'm concerned because the events of these past weeks have shown that no matter how cute or adorable a "real" family can be on their television show, there always are skeletons in the closet, and how this family deals with their skeletons now that they've seen the light of day is worrisome. It is concerning because the family of Honey Boo Boo had some stark skeletons indeed, and now all we can really do is ask, What will happen to this fractured family?" Seriously, what will happen with Sugar Bear, what will happen to the titular Alana/Honey Boo Boo and her siblings, is there really any way to know? Then again, now that they're no longer on T.V. will America care? Sometimes it really does seem with us it's, "Out of sight, out of mind," so I wonder if anyone will give a hoot now  that the show is cancelled, the equipment is packed up, and instead of being a famous dysfunctional family, the household is now just another unremarkable one among millions of others.

I don't know what the future holds for those who gained fame and possibly fortune from being on, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," but I do truly hope they are able to use the funds wisely and figure out what is best (and safest) for the children, especially if June really is going to continue dating this McDaniel person. Only time will tell, really.I mean, maybe now TLC can go back to actually trying to be a channel of learning! Yeah, I know that isn't gonna happen, I just thought after such a depressing article it would be good to end on a joke.

No comments:

Post a Comment