Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Two: Class Warfare: You’d Better Redneckognize
Class Warfare: You’d Better Redneckognize
Eight-year-old Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson made her first media appearance on season 5, episode 1 of Toddlers and Tiaras, a reality show about child beauty pageants. Featured as one of three families, the Thompson/Shannon clan made an indelible impression, from Mama June, with her aggressive coupon clipping and unconventional pageant coaching style, to stoic redneck Sugar Bear (June’s significant other, who hardly uttered a word), and Anna, June’s pregnant teen daughter. However, the highlight of the segment was Alana, who immediately earned the nickname “Honey Boo Boo” based on one of her catchphrases during the episode. It wasn’t long before the TLC network unveiled a new show in 2012, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, centered on the family and their various situational white trash escapades. The episode titles often come from the family’s catchphrases, such as “I’m Sassified,” “Mo Butter, Mo Better,” and “She Ooo’d Herself.”
Honey Boo Boo is part of a white trash renaissance, the bulk of which is promulgated in the reality TV format (Holmes & Jermyn, 2004; Huff, 2006; Murray & Ouellette, 2009). Redneck culture had been in hibernation mode after experiencing a heyday during the 1990s, with former president Bill Clinton (and his perpetually law-breaking brother Roger), the well-written Roseanne Show, and comedian and best-selling author Jeff Foxworthy among the many notables of the decade (Harkins, 2004). Today, viewers have a range of white trash TV...
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