Honey Boo Boo personifies America in a way that perhaps no other single person in our time does. Her penchant for sketti and go-go juice is paired with a nonchalant progressive attitude towards gays and politics, not to mention she's a great body-positive role model. In the U.S., Boo Boo has been a divisive issue, sparking countless heated debates at intellectual salons across the country. But now that TLC has launched its network in the U.K., will Honey Boo Boo charm the Brits and become their modern day Shirley Temple too?
Growing up, my father always had me read Financial Times' weekend edition, supposedly so that I could develop a stronger vocabulary and become familiar with all things fine and British. (Here I am, Dad! Writing about Honey Boo Boo with a thesaurus.com tab open on my browser at all times!) But outside of spelling neighbour wrong for the rest of my life, those issues of Financial Times taught me one very important thing: The Brits love to sniff at everyone, especially Americans. So now that Honey Boo Boo, a show that many Americans sniff at themselves, is crossing the pond, haughty Brits with their highbrow TV shows have every chance at taking cheap shots. Here are the 5 most British comments UK writers made in reaction to our beloved national treasure, Honey Boo Boo:
1. "Over to The Learning Channel… where, as part of our education, we learned that on Planet South Georgia dieting is a doodle. If reality TV's main mission is to mock the lower orders, then this everyday story of backwater hicks is an unmitigated triumph." -His Grace Kevin O'Sullivan of Mirror.
2. "If the programme was solely about one family, it could be dismissed as merely an exploitative freak show and a sign of modern society's lack of shame, but when the Thompsons go mud sliding and bobbing for pigs' feet at the Redneck Games, or bulk buy doughnuts and corn chips at a food auction, the camera will linger on the most overweight and slovenly people around them, and you realise that it's more a depiction of an entire part of America, complete with subtitles and an omnipresent banjo soundtrack."- His Majesty Rob Lavine of The Guardian.
3. "TLC, formerly The Learning Channel, began life delivering educational content in the States but later discovered a far more prosperous existence as a feed-pipe for low-brow reality swill. Newly arrived in the UK [Honey Boo Boo] last night unveiled its biggest American hit— a show built around a junior beauty pageant contestant and her cheerfully déclassé Georgia family." - Lord Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent.
4. "When she's not chasing tiaras at child beauty contests, she's scoffing giant jars of cheese balls, guzzling "Go Go Juice" or playing with pet "teacup pig" Glitzy- a pampered micro-porker who has become TLC's mascot…Clearly, the family are held up for us to point and snigger at, yet somehow rise above the snobbery…. Perhaps the show's success says more about viewers than its subjects. It's awful but oddly addictive, like rubbernecking a road accident."- Sir Michael Hogan of The Telegraph.
-"Tallie," a mere peasant. They're not all members of the landed gentry across the pond, apparently.
Fine, then, all you Brits. Sure, your health care system beats ours and your tea time sandwiches are better than White Castle sliders, but you know what? In the wise words of Mama June: "You like us or you don't like... we just don't care." AMERICA.