Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why I'm Glad the Honey Boo Boo Show Went Kaput


Kramer called it years ago on Seinfeld...

KRAMER: ...And you're the manager of the circus.
JERRY: A circus?
KRAMER: Come on, this is a great idea. Look at the characters. You've got all these freaks on the show. A woman with a moustache? I mean, who wouldn't tune in to see a women with a moustache? You've got the tallest man in the world; a guy who's just a head.
JERRY: I don't think so.
KRAMER: Look Jerry, the show isn't about the circus, it's about watching freaks.
JERRY: I don't think the network will go for it.
KRAMER: Why not?
JERRY: Look, I'm not pitching a show about freaks.
KRAMER: Oh come on Jerry, you're wrong. People they want to watch freaks. This is a "can't miss."

To quote REO Speedwagon, I just can't fight this feeling anymore; I'm feeling massive schadenfreude these days knowing that the inappropriately-named network The Learning Channel finally pulled the plug on the massive gravy train wreck called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (and there goes Honey Boo Boo...buh bye!) after evidence surfaced that the mother was cavorting with a child sex offender. 

I never saw a single episode of the show, but the biggest problem I had with it is that for a while you couldn't get through a typical day without seeing that obnoxious brat and Mama Jabba the Hutt receive unjustifiable media publicity somewhere. Those of us who weren't fans of the show couldn't avoid it. For reasons unknown even Steve Harvey, a man usually known for doling out common sense, interviewed the family on his daytime talk show--where they farted and brought down everyone's brain cell count. Viewers took to his Facebook page in droves to question and denounce his decision...and to be honest, my own interest in his show dwindled after he stooped to that low. 

I also can't help but feel glee that The Learning Channel has some massive egg on its face to clean up thanks to this mess. The network that has built an empire on pap such as Jon & Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, and My Strange Addiction finally learned a harsh lesson: when you're dealing with real people and reality TV, you're taking a huge gamble that anything they do in "real life" will hurt your own reputation. Like when Duck Dynasty "star" Phil Robertson made anti-gay comments to GQ Magazine and A&E, which airs the show, suspended him (a "punishment" that ended far too quickly.) 

It's just bizarre to me how different television has changed in a span of 10-15 years. There was a period shortly after Survivor premiered that I really thought reality TV had run its course. Instead, it's gotten far worse. At least shows like The Amazing Race is a competition. Now we have shows about vapid women who are famous because they are famous, and women who didn't know they were pregnant until they went into labor. 

I grew up on series like AliceOne Day At a TimeHappy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and ALF. Maybe they were't exactly intellectually stimulating, but at least they made me laugh and they didn't show people doing asinine things that made me want to throw up. But what I miss more are the family dramas--shows like Judging Amy. They've been replaced by the CSI franchise (do we REALLY need another autopsy show set in yet another city?) 

The cancellation of Honey Boo Boo is a good thing, and not just for the most obvious reasons. I'm hoping that it starts a trend away from reality TV and back towards programming that requires creativity and has something viable to offer viewers. These reality TV buffoons need to keep up their off-screen bad behavior, because I'd like to see every single one of these shows canned (but please not Masterchef and Masterchef Junior; as much as I dislike reality TV at least I learn something from these shows about cooking techniques and food.)

Unfortunately, as one of my friends recently commented on Facebook, Honey Boo Boo will probably be replaced on TLC by another show that's just as awful. These shows are cheap to conceive and produce; there's no writing, costumes, or sets really required. And for reasons I'll never be able to understand, they manage to attract an audience. (At this point I'd love to toss in the old saying "only in America" except the Brits apparently have an awful show called Sex Box which is going to make its way across the pond here soon.) I'd love to see variety shows make a comeback, but I know that it will never happen. For starters, we just don't have the variety of talent that had mass appeal in the '60s and '70s, and they just cost too much. Everything always comes back to the mighty dollar. 

In the meantime, at least I have PBS and TV Land. 

5 comments:

  1. HBB was disgraceful from the beginning. I never watched it either but yes, you couldn't avoid the latest reality flavor of the month. I think child pageants are heinous and probably attract the very element of pedophiles that the mother of the show is now dating. It's disgusting. I especially hate the sexing-up of children in these events just so their moms can live vicariously through them. What a sad state of stupidity for American parenthood. Yet this is what gets glorified in 'reality' TV. No wonder we look like a bunch of idiots the rest of the world. It is sad how so much TV is now all heinous parents, vapid fame whores and 'manly' shows where every other work is "beeeeeeep" (Gold Rush, Ice Road Truckers). Never watched Honey Boo Boo or ever kept up with the Kardashians (Please go away!) but I do watch Project Runway on Lifetime,yet it it has gone downhill considerably since it was on Bravo (it's all product placement and badly scripted 'drama'.) . I have also enjoyed Pawn Stars, but now even that has painfully scripted situations (how dumb is Chumley, how grumpy is the old man) instead of concentrating on the best part of the show, which is the artifacts the customers bring in! I had hoped that 'reality' shows would have tanked by now. Alas. Canceling HBB gives me on the tiniest glint of hope that commercial TV will stop promoting this crap. You've hit the nail on the head (again) with this one! Love your blog. Thanks for your insightful posts.
    Also, TCM is a great haven from 'reality' too; it's my go-to station :-)
    One more thing, I spoofed Honey Boo Boo in this comic I made, enjoy, Therese: http://trekkerscrapbook.com/startrekomics/here-it-comes-2/

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  2. Therese -- preach it, sister! Also that comic you mocked up is hilarious!

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  3. Thanks Pam! Nice to hear from you! And thanks for checking my blog (although I know you're not much of a Trekkie!)
    I've made nearly 100 of my 'StarTreKomics', many of them very silly! I've also created @60 (out of the 79) original episodes art as movie style posters , which you can also see there.

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  4. I've pretty much given up on current tv programming with a few exceptions. My goto these days is METV and FETV. Safe to watch with my kids (except for some of the commercials for E.D.)

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  5. Oh, I wish this comment box allowed me to choose the size of my font, so I could scream:

    YES!! YES!! YES!!
    (Imagine that in 72 pt. font)

    I absolutely hate these stupid reality shows that celebrate behaviors and actions that do absolutely nothing but make me question the whole human race. This was right at the top of the list.

    I love you, Pam. Preach it, indeed.

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