So I’ve been thinking a lot about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo…
The ratings are in for TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras spinoff, and they are big. Really big. The premiere was the number one cable show in its time slot among women, and number two overall with 2.2 million viewers. That is a hell of a lot of people, especially for a weird cable network that as recently as 15 years ago aired educational programming and footage of people getting operated on. I’m sure some of it has to do with it being the premiere and people being curious, but, still, two point two million. Even if it levels off a little in the coming weeks, its success still probably means we can look forward more exploitative, point-and-shame programming from TLC in the future. This is upsetting.
But the more I think about all of this, the more I realize that my hands aren’t clean here.
If you look back through our tags about the show (and other “look at this trainwreck” TLC shows), you’ll see that we covered this sh-t every step of the way, which is exactly what TLC wanted. That’s their whole business model: They find some weirdos or freaks and send a camera crew to follow them around, slap together a trailer of them being weird, post the trailer on the Internet, then sit back and watch tons of websites like Buzzfeed and Gawker and Warming Glow post it and scream about how awful it is. In doing so we essentially give them free publicity, because the whole point for them is to make people hate it and then watch and talk about how much they hate it (or watch it ironically and be all “Oh, look at those people”). It’s a cycle that spins around and around, dumbing everyone down and encouraging people to be worse humans for the sake of profits in the process (PAGEVIEW$$$$). And I hate it.
So, look. Are the executives at TLC bad people for setting this in motion? Yeah, of course. Especially when they throw their hands up and do the whole “We’re just documenting life in America” thing, because that argument can go take a flying leap into Liar’s Lagoon. But I recognize that I’ve been part of the machine that allows them to keep doing it, and I promise to try to be better about not doing that going forward. I still reserve the right to call them evil, I think that’s important. But playing into the shaming and exploitation of kids has to stop.
Thank you for your time. Here is a GIF of Paul Rudd dancing.