Lately, I have begun to notice a revolution of sorts that has hit our television screens. I am talking about a redneck revolution. While it may have been bubbling up on the surface for a while now, it never occurred to me that American viewers were just mentally pining away for more examples of hillbilly culture. Yet, I don’t think one can go an hour watching television without running into a Bubba with three teeth in his mouth.
The latest evidence of this redefinition of southern culture can be found on the oddest channel of all, The Learning Channel, or what has been abbreviated as TLC. The show is called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” and I can’t help myself, I just have to watch.
In fact, I find my eyes glued to the screen as soon as I hear little Alana, aka Honey Boo Boo, telling me to “redneckonize” her show.
There is some kind of power that hits me once I watch this show. It is like a train wreck. I just can’t help myself, I have to go and see what it is all about. Maybe it is the extremes this family goes to proving their rural southern behavior that forces me to watch. You see, I don’t think any other show demonstrates just exactly what a redneck is better than “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” In fact, in just the first episode, I found my eyes focused on a young woman bobbing for pigs feet, then jumping into a giant puddle of mud. Then, in another episode, this same family headed to dumpster to roll around on a mattress that had been soaking in filth.
Once I watch just a few minutes of this show, I feel the desire to either go take a shower or write to some of the millions of viewers and say “Really, we don’t act like that in the south.” Yet, I am perpetuating the problem by watching this show week after week.
Ironically, I can’t blame this family for opening up their home and their lifestyle to the television world. After all, they are making a great deal of money each episode, and the more extreme their behavior is, the more people will watch. Remember back to when “Survivor” first came on the air. People were aghast to see people eat insects or rodents, but now, it is nothing to witness this.
Yet, this show is only part of the revolution I’m referring to. Just check out CMT for about an hour. All of sudden, you will recognize even more examples of hillbilly culture. Then, switch over to the History Channel, and you will again be glued to another example of extreme redneck behavior. In fact, it is all over the television screen.
But as long as they don’t bring back “The Dukes of Hazzard,” I think we may see the end of it in our lifetime. At least, I hope we do.
(Editor’s note: Katie Holland can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)