'Honey Boo Boo Child' TV Show Family Responds to Critics (Video)
While TLC's latest breakout reality series, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" has drawn fire from some who say the TV show casts a negative stereotype on Southerners, family matriarch June Shannon has a message for the family's critics: "You better redneckognize."
While some viewers say "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" shows a loving family that doesn't let outside opinions bother them, some have criticized TLC for exploiting and mocking small-town people and perpetuating offensive stereotypes of life in the South.
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The show has portrayed the area where the family lives unfairly, choosing to fixate on shots of junk cars, garbage dumps and stray animals, Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan Jackson said in a statement, adding that he'd like to see more of the region's positive attributes on the air.
"You can't very well ask and expect a television network to possess tact and taste - unless it makes them a dollar," he said.
"I don't claim to represent all of Georgia, I've never said that," said Shannon. "Those haters that are criticizing us about what's on the show are watching us every week. So we call them our 'closet fans,' people who don't wanna admit they watch the show."
On the program, the family lives in the tiny rural town of McIntyre, Georgia. The town's population is around 650 and nearly 40 percent of the families have an income that puts them below the poverty level, according to 2010 Census numbers. Main Street stretches for about three blocks and features a small handful of businesses.
Among the more than two dozen locals approached by the AP recently, the most common reaction to the series was that, for better or worse, it has "put McIntyre on the map." Many said they watch and enjoy the show, though most didn't necessarily think it represents the way most people in the area live.
"I don't mind it, it's just that it doesn't give a good image for the county since it is a small county, and it's a really family-oriented county, and we are basically, you know, church goers down here, and a lot of the things they do ... we don't agree with it," said Carolyn Snead, a McIntyre resident who works as a tax preparer. But she thinks Alana is funny and adorable and that if the show helps her succeed, it's worthwhile.
Tommy Floyd used to live near the family in nearby Toomsboro and has ridden four-wheel all-terrain vehicles with them and called them "good people to be around."
"They don't put on," he said. "That's everything they do every day. It ain't just put on for the show."
In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Alana said filming the show was fun because she got to do things she doesn't always get to do, like going to a water park. Her mother said the family has enjoyed doing the show. And contrary to how most reality families seem to feel, Shannon believes the way the show is edited portrays their unscripted life fairly and accurately.
"This is who she is," Shannon said as her daughter interrupted her with silly jokes and giggles. "This is her everyday life. She's got her own little personality, especially like when the cameras come on and when she's got attention."
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" has had huge ratings thus far and even scored more viewers among adults 18-49 than the Republican National Convention. The Aug. 29 episode drew nearly 3 million viewers.
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is a spinoff series from TLC's "Toddler & Tiaras," on which seven-year-old beauty queen Alana first appeared and hollered for that dollar. The show follows Honey Boo Boo, real name Alana, and her crazy "redneck" family living in Georgia -- "Mama" June, chalk-mining dad "Sugar Bear" and sisters 12-year-old Lauryn "Pumpkin," 15-year-old Jessica "Chubbs" and 17-year-old Anna "Chickadee."
Alana already has advice for those who want to be like her ("You gotta be sassy!"), but her aspirations go beyond the pageant world. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, the answer varies from veterinarian to Walmart employee.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the "Honey Boo Boo" family earns between $2,000 and $4,000 per episode, possibly hitting $40,000 for the 10-episode season, according to sources. THR adds that a small "location fee" might also be paid. That's a whole lotta hollerin'.
When TMZ spoke with Shannon, she reportedly "laughed out loud" at THR's report. Though she wouldn't be specific, TMZ claims it was clear the family makes far more than $2,000 to $4,000 per episode.
No doubt, there is a possibility that this salary might get a bump if "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is picked up for a second season.
TLC has been rumored to pay big salaries to the casts of their biggest shows. Although networks typically do not disclose the deals made with individual families, details about TLC's reality stars' salaries have surfaced.
Alana's mother says the show and pageant life will continue "as long as Alana's having fun."
"It's all about having fun and making memories with your kids and with your family," she said.
The season finale of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" airs Wednesday, Sept. 26th on TLC.