Monday, March 11, 2013
Moonshiners, Swamp People, and Honey Boo Boo
Move on Kim Kardashian, it's all over. Real House Wives of Orange County, New Jersey, Atlanta, and Beverly Hills it's time to cry in your martinis. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette may as well find each other and elope. And, Survivor, everyone's been voted off the Island. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the Duck Dynasty.
It was Jeff Foxworthy who said, "You might be a Red Neck if your life time goal is to own a fireworks stand." I always thought he was the seer of our time. If anyone ever questioned it, just look at America's new reality obsession. The pretty people (at least on TV) have been usurped by the "Little Miss" Ultimate Grand Supreme pageant princess in Georgia, alligator hunters in Louisiana, and Moonshiners in Appalachia.
Suddenly big hair, uber makeup, bling, and cat fights between women have been replaced by unkept hair, dental issues, overalls, polyester, plaid shirts, and southern dialect (of all flavors). America has been taken in by unabashed truth and blue collar life - sometimes skirting the law.
A reviewer at Forbes stated Here Comes Honey Boo Boo "portray[s] Alana's [Honey Boo Boo] family as a horde of lice-picking, lard-eating, nose-thumbing hooligans south of the Mason-Line" stating that "it falls flat, because there’s no true dysfunction here, save for the beauty pageant stuff." Ouch! I take offense. Of course, the more entertaining part of the show is the back story, the members of the family - including Sugar Bear, Pumpkin, Chick-a-dee, and Chubs (and Uncle Poodle and Crazy Tony). Truth is so much better than fiction.
Honey Boo Boo in action on the stage.
And, Honey Boo Boo at home.
We are all dysfunctional down here, we just choose our method. I take no offense for their being "lice-picking, lard-eating, nose-thumbing hooligans" just as I would hope they would excuse our family for being in-fighting, loafer wearing, food snobs.
On another note, mother June feeds her family on $80 a week by clipping copious coupons, playing Bingo, exploiting roadkill, and acquiring child-support checks from each of her four children’s fathers. I find that damn resourceful. Of course Honey Boo Boo's diet includes "Go Go Juice," a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew that contains as much caffeine as two cups of coffee.
Duck Dynasty is the newest sensation of this genre. The LA Times commented on Duck Dynasty in a recent article. Now down here, most of us live among duck hunters, and I have no doubt that these characters are honest to God real folks and this is the way they look at life. However I can say that none of the duck hunters in my life have this much 'personality' nor do they enjoy the same joie de vivre.
Moonshiners (a docudrama on the Discovery Channel) is a little more edgy. This is truly the good ol' boys staying two steps ahead of the law - modern day real life bootleggers making hootch in the backwoods of Appalachia, hiding the location of their stills, and selling their liquor - complete with narration and the law looking for them.
Swamp People is another highly entertaining glimpse into the red neck culture. It follows several different gator hunters during the thirty day Alligator season in Louisiana. Watching them compete in the bayou is not nearly as much fun as listening to their dialogue (which at times requires one needs to either speak Cajun or have a translator on hand) and the ongoing background narrator setting up the scenes, "Now Troy, he knows he needs to have a good day today. And, he has a plan. While everyone else is going out in the northern area, he slips into the back swamp. He hopes that his secret spot will bring him luck."