Here Comes America

Allison Yarrow defends Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which recently premiered in England. She thinks the reality show “is exactly the kind of cultural product America should be exporting” because it “features among the most real, relatable, unpretentious Americans on television”:

[T]he show depicts and humanizes a national reality that too often gets ignored on TV. For many Americans, poverty, obesity, teen pregnancy, and unemployment are facts of life, just as they are for the Thompson/Shannons. Mama June’s couponing prowess allows her to feed the family on $80 per week. She and her girls diet and discuss their fight to lose weight on the show. Chickadee is among the teens who make up the one-fifth of all unplanned pregnancies in the U.S., and the show’s season finale featured the birth of her own daughter. Despite all this, they seem genuinely happy. They’re not in denial of their problems, but they’re not defined by them, either. …

These are appropriate heroes for a country struggling out of a recession—certainly a better standard-bearer than other reality-TV families who aggressively pursue money, beauty, and fame. Mama June likes to say that she and her girls represent nobody—not Georgians, Southerners, or anybody else—but themselves. Luckily for us, she’s wrong.