#10: June Shannon
Claim to fame: Pageant mom
- Toddlers & Tiaras
- Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
“There are far worse things. I could be giving her alcohol.”
This is the entry that a lot of you who are reading this were hoping to see, yet are now perplexed, and maybe even a bit upset, is listed at the very bottom.
The reality is that most of the blame for this atrocity lies with the TLC network and its producers at Authentic Entertainment. Shannon and the rest of her family do seem to genuinely care about each other, which is exceptionally rare to see on television in this day and age.
But most of the emphasis of ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ isn’t on their tight family bonds. It’s on trying to depict the family as the absolute bottom rung of humanity’s cultural ladder.
The very first episode, titled “This is My Crazy Family,” had the family going to the Summer Redneck Games. This pretty well established the pattern for how the series intended to depict the family.
It needs to be understood that June Shannon is not a wanted fauxlebrity for being a stereotypical poor white Southerner, nor is TLC at fault for making a show about such a person.
The problem is that this lifestyle that is now being romanticized. Instead of focusing on the struggles of trying to raise a family of six on $80 a week, or providing the family with a much-needed intervention, the production instead attempts to employ the family as a comedic counterargument against evolution.
And instead of telling her kids over and over that she doesn’t want them to have to live like this while tightening her belt to send them to college, she instead tightens her belt to allow her youngest to dress up like a ballerina prostitute and perform before a panel of creepy men.
But what really lands June Shannon on the wanted list is her response to criticism. Instead of acknowledging the controversy of the pageants or the depressing state of her household, Shannon has instead shot back at the critics of both.
One of the most noteworthy controversies Shannon had to endure was the revelation that she had been giving her daughter “Go Go Juice,” a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew — the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.
In response to the criticism, Shannon responded “There are far worse things. I could be giving her alcohol.”
This is kind of like trying to argue that there are worse things than being decapitated. Too much caffeine can just as easily kill a child as too much alcohol, and no matter how you look at it, dead is dead.
Shannon also took offense to the way her show was depicted on ‘South Park.’ The same ‘South Park’ that has ridiculed every major religion in existence and which also holds the current record for the most times a single word of profanity was uttered in a single thirty-minute broadcast with the episode “It Hits The Fan.”
Considering the source, most viewers thought ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ got off easy. June Shannon would disagree.
What needs to be understood is that most Americans still feel the country is in a recession, and by extension, that the sad state of June Shannon and co. is only one layoff or medical emergency away from becoming their own personal reality.
What the networks should assume America wants to see is not what life is like at the bottom of the barrel, but what it takes to rise up from the bottom.
This is half of what makes reality TV competitions like ‘American Idol,’ ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘Project Runway’ so popular. America loves to see people come from nothing and rise all the way to the top based solely on the merit of their visions and their drive to make them a reality.
June Shannon scrapes the bottom of this list because there is room for redemption. In her present unkempt and unassuming state, Shannon has the potential to become a reality TV everyman. If she took all the money she made during the first season of ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ and used it to try and start a business, attend a trade school or send her eldest to college for Season 2, she could see her public image undergo a complete turnaround.
But if, during Season 2, America only sees more of Shannon scratching at bugs in her hair in between watching her youngest blow kisses to six men trying to discretely adjust themselves, what little good will she has is not going to sustain for very long.
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