A Tale of Two Cities: Sophia Rose and Gracie…and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
It was a little over a year ago when talk show host Ellen DeGeneres introduced two little English girls, Sophia Rose and Gracie. They skipped out on stage, wearing little tutus and crowns, and proceeded to bring the house down with their charm, enthusiasm and good manners. Sophia Rose proved to be a little firecracker, belting out a Nicki Minaj tune like a tiny Ethel Merman. Her sidekick, Gracie didn’t offer much in the way of singing, but she danced next to her friend, not in her shadow, but as support, a total team effort.
Ellen, knowing a good thing when she sees one, procured them to do red carpet interviews at music award shows. They’ve delivered in a big way, garnering their own following in the performers themselves. They are joyful and excited, asking questions only their adorable faces can get away with. Watching Sophia Grace sing the songs that each performer made famous, back to them, is priceless. That is called hutzpah and she brings it home. These two little girls are contagious in their delight and enthusiasm. Even the rudest performers acknowledge them on the red carpet and stop by to say hello. I’m sure there are seasoned interviewers who stand there with their mouths open as their microphones are passed by to get to the pint sized reporters.
There is never a moment when you feel like these two little girls are being exploited. They are so appreciative and well behaved, still believing in fairies and hoping one day to be ghost hunters, though Gracie doesn’t seem real enthusiastic about that.
Their collective parents stay on the sidelines. Ellen always has little surprises for them, and each one is accepted with a squeal of delight. They are little girls who are still amazed at their good fortune and notoriety. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I feel pretty confident in predicting that they will stay that way. They were raised well. There is something to be said for good old fashioned English breeding.
And then we have The Learning Channel’s entry…”Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”…a reality show based on Georgia born beauty contestant Alana Thompson…a child and her family whose behavior was so over the top on “Toddlers and Tiaras” that it bred a spin-off that is now revolving out of control. The LEARNING Channel? What can these people possibly teach us?
I am going to tread carefully here. Alana is a child and her life has been orchestrated for her. She is simply performing to the tune they want her to dance to. Not all dancers are talented.
Ellen doesn’t interview Sophia Rose and Gracie…she simply guides them in a direction and lets them talk. It is worth YouTubing to watch their observations. One of the best ones was Sophia Rose explaining to Ellen how she and Gracie were going to chase ghosts for a living once they were done with the tutus.
Cut to Honey Boo Boo…delivering one of her Boo Booisms at the end of the show. She delivers her ism, some of which you would need an interpreter to understand. Her finale on a recent show consisted of her turning on all fours, her rear end to the camera so she could deliver her exclamation point…a fart.
Who can forget her delightful turn with Billy Bush, when she began hitting him with a Barbie doll, or when she pretended to be asleep on Dr. Drew and complained about the “fans” who bother her, as mommanger June looked on beaming as her little bread basket earned another “dollah”.
Reality television has made rude entertaining. It is cheap to produce and market and has become a cash cow for the companies that grind it out.
They’ve dumbed us down to soundbites, with no investment of our time or focus, we don’t even stop to think that we are being manipulated and exploited too.
Are we really that gullible, or are we just lazy and so bored with our own lives that we find fun in rudeness, meanness and false representation?
The creators of such programming are short-sighted. How far will they go to keep our attention? I can only hope that they underestimate their audience as they under-stimulate us with artificially created moments for ratings, brought on by greed and the almighty dollar, regardless of the consequences, preying on our universal Attention Deficit Disorder.
Honey Boo Boo’s mommanger, self-proclaimed Redneck June Thompson is the hillbilly answer to Kris Jenner. The Thompsons are like a Kardashian X-ray. The parallels between the two families cannot be denied.
While the Kardashians don’t live in a house fifty feet from a train track, they bring their own West Coast hillbilly to the screen, with their own brand of overindulged, obnoxious and reckless behavior. We are all invited to revel in their beauty and opulent lifestyle, often outside by the “cement pond”, fronted by Kris Jenner’s three oldest daughters, with a Marie Antoinette “Let them eat cake” attitude.
Their farts and burps don’t stink unless they are making them money.
West Coast hillbilly Bruce Jenner, a star once himself, wanders through the show like a deer caught in the headlights, constantly getting beaten up emotionally and mentally, like a feeble broken down old man…banished to the garage to play with his model airplanes…only after he asks Kris for the credit card. Seriously? Come on.
The East Coast hillbillies refer to Alana’s father Mike Thompson, as Sugar Bear. His daughter is the spitting image of him, no pun intended, as he is mostly seen with a huge wad of chew in his cheek and always looks confused and teary eyed like he had sand kicked in his face.
June’s three daughters by other various suitors are also featured on the show. Theirs is more a “Let US eat cake” attitude as all of them struggle with weight issues, including Honey Boo Boo herself. All parents think their children are beautiful, and entering Honey Boo Boo in beauty pageants probably started out innocently enough. Sadly, she is fighting a genetic map which will place her outside the boundary of what beauty pageants expect. We all like the underdog, but it is hard to cheer for her when she displays such a bad attitude and is allowed to behave the way she does, the star chimp in her family circus.
The Kardashians have a chimp of their own…the undeniably beautiful Kim, whose sex tape catapulted her to infamy. It wouldn’t surprise me if they all have a cash register ring for the ringtone on their phones.
Of course, they are all getting rich, and there is a part of me that won’t fault them for it. If I told you that I had a lame horse that was worth a million dollars and you were stupid enough to pay me for it, then I would have sold a horse worth a million dollars and you would have a lame horse.
No doubt June and Kris love their children. We’ve been privy to those moments when the kids tease their Moms…June with her neck crust and “fork-lift” toe…and Kris, stealing style from Kim and stalking Bruce while he is golfing with another woman, all the while emailing the man she left her first husband for. June seems a little less intent on being a star herself. Kris struggles with the fact that her last name is Jenner and not Kardashian, the brand name she has carefully cultivated.
I’ve heard the excuse that production companies can’t afford to make sitcoms or dramas anymore. They are cost prohibitive and the actors demand salaries that are too high for them to meet.
Yet the reality shows seem to be making tremendous profits…and their break-out stars are getting rich as well. Snooki, falling down drunk, showing her ass literally and figuratively, commanded $150,000 per show and gets $50,000 and up for personal appearances.
The Housewives franchise, a virus of Marie Antoinettes, has spread across the country making the rich and the nouveau riche stars household names.
If you believe there is any “reality” in reality television, then it would be prudent for you to get a life. Living vicariously through ill behavior, sprinkled with moments of humanity to make it more palpable, is a hangover in the making.
Barbara Walters just named Honey Boo Boo one of the ten most fascinating people of 2012. You’ve lost it Babs…time to retire. That is an insult to the millions of other choices you could have made. How about Sophia Rose and Gracie? They would be delighted, most likely, overjoyed…and none of your viewership would feel like they were being fooled or manipulated or uneasy about seeing them on the screen truly enjoying their moment.
I’ve heard reality shows called guilty pleasures. Somewhere while we gawked at and glorified these “guilty pleasures” we didn’t even notice that we’ve lost our innocence.
There is no innocence in ignorance.
And when did the fart become the new laugh track?
Day 341…send in the clowns…don’t bother they’re here.