A recent article on Salon.com described what really happened when reality TV star Honey Boo Boo appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The article points out the inconsistencies of the edited version of Honey Boo Boo and the real thing, which as the writer explains, was quite scary.
Here is part of that article: ” … It should be noted that a good portion of the interview was cut down for the broadcast, mostly, I’m sure, for the sake of time. Still, the interview I watched on television that evening felt nothing like it had in the studio. Many of the major beats were there — Alana telling Fallon that he wasn’t so big and bad, the point where she refused to give him a friendship bracelet — but the broadcast left out all of the eerie tension.
For example, the friendship bracelet moment seems cute and quick on TV, but in person, it was actually kind of agonizing. It didn’t just happen once, but several times, and the more it was discussed, the more openly hostile Boo Boo became. And in addition to the friendship bracelet crisis, the episode left out some deeply uncomfortable spats between Mama June and Alana. You see it a bit in the broadcast, but Mama June was continually either answering questions on behalf of Boo Boo or mumbling answers to her. The quick wit we’ve come to expect from Honey Boo Boo was nowhere to be seen, but instead it was fed to her by her pageant mom. The scene reminded me of the cringe-worthy “Today” show interview with Kate Gosselin and her twin daughters, Mady and Cara – the one where the 13-year-old girls fell silent when asked if they were doing OK.
But the most notable moment to be left out of Honey Boo Boo’s appearance on “The Tonight Show” was when she became so fed up that she actually struck Mama June. Up until this point, Fallon had been doing a great job of navigating Alana’s weird behavior, but it was at this moment when he became positively awesome. “NEVER hit your mother!” he exclaimed, in a voice that was serious with just a hint of a joke, and the studio audience erupted in applause. Finally, we thought, someone is addressing this child’s attitude.
But really, it’s television, so instead of getting a timeout for hitting her mom, Alana was handed pompoms and asked to lead the audience in a cheer. We reluctantly played along for Jimmy’s sake, but it felt strange, like we were giving her some kind of reward for her behavior.
When I watched the episode that night and I saw how much had been cut out, it made me wonder how much of Alana’s life is itself left on the cutting-room floor. Where do the producers of “Toddlers & Tiaras” or “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” have to draw the line? There must come a point where they say: This is not good TV, it’s just sad. Let’s cut it.” …. The full article can be read here.
REALITY SHOWS AND US – This article was of interest to me for two reasons; first because it concerns me that television shows, especially reality shows, have way too much influence on what Americans call acceptable behavior. If bad behavior is portrayed repeatedly as “normal” or as funny or even good on TV shows, we tend to accept them and even emulate them. This is scary when you think about the kind of bad behavior that is spotlighted in almost everything being shown these days. Reality TV Shows are particularly deceptive because they pretend to show real life, but the reality is that these shows are very much setup with characters manipulated to show extreme emotions, and scenes are edited to make the mundane become entertaining. The above article is a good example of how editing can take a scene that did not go well and turn it into something that’s fun and cute.
POOR PARENTING – The other thing that comes to mind when I watch Honey Boo Boo is she could be the poster child for the results of poor parenting. She might have enough cutes to make for a good show, but at her core, she is a badly mis-behaving child. Once again, I wonder how many parents watch her every week and justify their own child’s bad behavior because Honey Boo Boo does it too. I see little Honey Boo Boos in training everywhere, running away from the parents in the mall, screaming in parking lots at the grocery store, or throwing a tantrum on the floor of Walmart because they can’t have the new toy on display.
This kind of behavior is not the fault of the child, it’s the parent’s who are to blame. Kids need to be taught boundaries. They need to be shown that the parents are boss. At least Honey Boo Boo’s Mom, June, is getting paid millions of dollars to live with the monster that she and the show producers have created. All of the other parents who are raising kids with the same poor parenting skills can only hold their breath and pray that they can make it until the day their kids move out. That’s not the way it should be. Our kids are for real and we parents need to do our best to parent and live in the real world so that we can enjoy our kids as the treasures that they are.