THIS is why the world hates America

Madame Weebles —  August 6, 2012 — 216 Comments

I’ve just seen a commercial for a new TLC show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  This Honey Boo Boo creature, who is 6 years old, is one of the stars of another TLC train wreck, Toddlers & Tiaras, and is a regular on the children’s beauty pageant circuit.

Now this little monstrosity has her own fucking show.  Because when TLC deliberately scraped the bottom of the barrel last season, they apparently still weren’t satisfied.  I haven’t checked the weather forecast for the week yet but I’m expecting locusts and frogs.

Here’s a video clip to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here.

That “special juice” she’s talking about, by the way, is a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull that her mother concocted for her.  She calls it “Go-Go Juice.”  No wonder the kid has the crazy eyes.

This is going to be one hell of a show.  A children’s beauty pageant contestant, her nightmare pageant mother, and the rest of her trailer trash family (although they don’t actually live in a trailer).  The daughter is an obnoxious, mumble-mouthed brat who’s cruising for a bruising if the parents continue to encourage that attitude of hers.  Mom is a brash, ignorant fame whore and a diabetes disaster waiting to happen.  And one of her other daughters proudly proclaims that they’re not rednecks because “we have all our teeth.”  With all that Red Bull and Mountain Dew?  I doubt that, honey.

And if that weren’t enough, the mother is a self-confessed “coupon queen” and one of the teenage daughters is pregnant.  TLC won the Extreme Reality Jackpot with this crew.  They must have wet themselves when they realized they hit the dysfunctional mother lode.

And before anyone starts yelling that I’m unfairly going after Southerners, rest assured that I also have plenty of venom for Snooki and her vacuous, sun-fried friends on Jersey Shore, the shrieking harpies on Real Housewives (all of them), the snarling shrews of Bridezillas, and most other reality-show “celebrities.”  They’re the worst of every possible stereotype.  I’m sure the producers edit the footage so that they seem as appalling as possible, but surely that doesn’t require much effort in most cases.

Networks will continue to put this dreck on the air as long as we keep watching it for our guilty pleasure.  Reality shows about well-adjusted people sitting around reading on their Kindles just doesn’t make for riveting television.  The problem is that these programs end up spawning legions of increasingly self-absorbed, brain-dead lemmings who want their 15+ minutes of fame.  They celebrate and encourage ugly behavior.  And they make us look bad as a country.  It’s embarrassing.

Sure, the world hates Americans because we’re big bullies and we know think we’re better than everyone else.  But big deal—that’s been the case for decades.

No, it’s these literacy-free cretins who really ruin it for us.  They’re why people in other countries think we’re fat, lazy, arrogant assholes with the intelligence of a speed bump.  For better or worse—mainly worse—in today’s world, these reality shows, like Hillbilly Handfishing, My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I, Bad Girls Club, etc., end up serving as our nation’s ambassadors.

So forget about our ham-handed approach to world affairs, our penchant for going to war, and the fact that McDonald’s can now be found in even the most far-flung locations on earth.  Our reality shows are why everyone hates us.  Can you blame them??

216 responses to THIS is why the world hates America

  1. 

    I am astonished that there is an appeal for this stuff or it would not be marketed. Then of course there was the Jerry Springer lovers….

  2. 

    Agreed. Also..I have heard of Hillbilly Handfishing…but My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I? Jesus Christ.

  3. 

    I can’t wait to come to America for the first time! Are you telling me it won’t be like these shows? ;-)

  4. 

    I always wonder who watches this stuff. The trailers put me off. The one with the brides evaluating each others weddings. Why would you even want that at your wedding?

  5. 

    I am in complete agreement with you M. Weebles that these junk food reality shows celebrate what is most obnoxious about this country, but you sure seem to know them well. Therefore, you must watch these train wrecks. Hey, everyone indulges some guilty pleasure, even clever Americans with normal BMI’s and cultured Europeans. For all we know watching this dreck is a form a foreplay for William and Kate. Well, maybe not, but I’m sure Harry finds our lowest life forms entertaining.

    • 

      You know what? I really don’t watch them! I had to Google a bunch of stuff when I wrote this so that I’d know what I was ranting about. Because, you know, it’s important to get the details right about these hot messes. Although I will admit to watching a lot of crap. My guilty pleasures include Rock of Love and the Bachelor/Bachelorette. They’re not any better than the other shows, but somehow they seem less overtly horrifying than Honey Boo Boo et al.

  6. 

    Well-written, funny, sad and true. My sister introduced me to the Bad Girl’s Club a bit back. I watched here and there then began following a little. Now that I have a healthier state of mind I can’t go near it. It depresses the hell out of my for the reasons you mentioned above and more. That Honey Boo Boo video would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

    • 

      Dear Sandee,
      I watched ONE episode of the Bad Girls Club. ONE. It was where the girls weren’t Lesbians, but were just trying it out for fun. The scene I saw, was this girl coming up to the other saying, “I wanna fuck the shit outta you”.
      I’m all about gay rights. But, this was just nasty.
      NASTY!!!
      Love, lis
      xoxoox

    • 

      My thoughts exactly, Sandee. When I first saw the Honey Boo Boo thing, I thought, this has to be a joke. It *would* be hilarious if it weren’t so sad, or if I thought there was any hope for this poor kid.

  7. 

    Remember the days when people like this were ignored and shunned? Good times.

  8. 

    Dear Weebles,
    O.Em.Gee.
    Gah!
    I am hiding my face in shame. And totally moving to go live with Dotty.
    Or near her, at least. :)
    Love, Lis
    xoxoxox

  9. 

    Weebs, I am so with you on this. I told hubby just last night, it’s not the violence on movies, shows we have to worry about it — it’s THIS. These so-called “reality” shows that will be our demise. I can’t stand them and I’ve seen this horrible clip that you have here. Let’s keep all those stereotypes from all parts of nation alive and kicking, all that “different-ness” brewing and showcase the most hyped-up version of each of them. Because that is so working for us, right? I can’t stand it. I don’t sully my mind with these shows (and btw when did this become entertainment). It’s not, it’s some kind of weird and perverted voyeurism that for whatever reason people want to watch. I don’t get it. Whew, I feel better. Great post.

    • 

      Amen, amen, amen, Brigitte!!! They showcase the worst examples of every regional stereotype so that we all look at everyone else is “other.” And I feel bad for this kid because she had no say in any of this—her pathetic mother shoved her into all this from a very early age, presumably, so she has no idea how screwed up it all is. And she never will, if people keep celebrating this stuff. Thanks, B—you raise some great points here.

      • 

        I so agree with you both. It’s a form of very sick voyeurism. And the mother, while she is also sick is doing this because a national TV network is spending lots of money to film it and air it! Not to mention sponsors who pay big bucks to advertise like, I don’t know, McDonald’s, Walmart, etc. Thanks for writing this, MW, and enlightening our international blogging contingency that we’re not all like that (actually and fortunately most of us aren’t like that).

        Cathy

        • 

          This comment snuck past me—so sorry, Cathy!

          It really is a bizarre phenomenon, this whole reality thing. Voyeurism, schadenfreude, guilty pleasure television viewing all rolled into one. Too bad it’s all so awful and encourages more of it. Sigh.

  10. 

    I’ve never watched the Toddlers and Tiaras thing. I happened into a Denny’s in Anaheim one night some time ago, though. A big-deal Baby Beauty Pageant had just been held and many of the contestants were in Denny’s with their parents. It was so American and so frightening. I think that’s the night I decided to retire to France.

    • 

      I don’t know if I can imagine anything more frightening than a gaggle of baby beauty pageant participants in a Denny’s. That really is one of the most horrifyingly American things I can think of. And I say this as a long-time fan of Denny’s, too.

  11. 

    Ummm…yeah. These shows are atrocious and we don’t hate you…we just think this is shit-t.v. You guys are like the bossy big-brother we’ve come to know and love! These people are just the spawn of some affair gone horribly awry. We understand…we have Quebec. See?

  12. 

    I don’t even know where to start. I can’t imagine a life so dull that one would have time to watch this drivel. But worse than that is exploiting a child like this. Whether she thinks she wants to do the show or not, she is only SIX years old–she may think very differently when she’s older. And Mountain Dew and Red Bull for a child? My pediatric background leaves me quaking in concern and dismay. We can only hope nobody watches it.

    • 

      Welcome back, Carrie!!

      Yes, as much as I want to drop-kick this kid, I feel sorry for her because none of this has been up to her. And her mother obviously has very particular ideas about child-rearing, all of which seem to suck. The Mountain Dew/Red Bull thing is shocking to me. I hope nobody watches the show too. Maybe it will die quickly. But then again, I’ve underestimated the American public’s tolerance for crap before.

      • 

        Yes, I think we’re beyond optimistic in thinking no one will watch this thing. And then the topic will end up on Dr. Phil, who will no doubt chastice the show, which will then draw an even bigger audience to the show. Oh, well, hopefully the girl will have good self-esteem as an adult, because she’ll forever have to face the image of her 6-year-old self grabbing her belly fat and squeezing it together for the whole world to see.

  13. 
    whiteladyinthehood August 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Holy Smokes! I was not prepared for Honey Boo Boo…(though she did look better with the make-up on…) She was rude and throwing things at her parents and saying things like “A dollar makes me holler!” and she’s proud she rocks her daisy dukes…Crying shame….I would give this child an over the knee whooping and a whole new attitude adjustment (though I truly believe she is just a product of what her parent want) Crying shame, Weebles…I am embarassed they are from the south…..You could not pay me to watch this show!

    • 

      I thought the same thing, Chica B—without the makeup she looks like the demon spawn of Shirley Temple and Chucky. She’s a little monster, but it’s all the parents’ doing and she’ll grow up thinking that her family’s behavior is completely normal. God help us all.

  14. 

    I for one am not watching. You can’t even understand the child. Who would let their child say “A dollar makes me holler?” Isn’t that what ladies of the night might say? Oh dear!

    @ Carl Jerry Springer still has his show groupies and NOW girls show their boobs for Jerry Beads. On National TV? Of course they blur the boobs from the TV audience, but it’s not like we don’t know……. wait that made me sound like I watch it, I don’t. Flipped the channel 10 minutes before the news came on and saw fights and boobs. It is just not right!

  15. 

    Don’t worry. As we speak, our Canadian ninjas are getting ready to swarm America, and kill all of the stupid ones.

  16. 
    Fish Out of Water August 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I love it! We both wrote about trashy reality TV! Great post Weebs.

  17. 

    I saw a preview for this the other day… with each passing second of the I lost at least 100 brain cells. Afterwards my eyes glazed over and my jaw hung open for at least 15 minutes. I think I caught 3 flies.

  18. 

    And see, the loss of brain cells caused me to add “of the” where it had no business being.

  19. 

    Makes me long for the old days when we could mock the French for loving Jerry Lewis.
    Sociologists of the future are going to have a field day wondering what the hell was wrong with us.
    If any of us are still intelligent enough after these great tv role models to be sociologists…

    • 

      I forgot about mocking the French for Jerry Lewis. Those were the days, weren’t they? I never did understand their fondness for him, but it seems positively intellectual now compared to the shit we watch. If we manage to eke out any future sociologists out of this, I hope they can learn from our mistakes.

  20. 

    Amazing… I *just* saw an ‘ad’ for that ‘Boo-boo’ show minutes before I got an e-mail announcing your latest post. My wife and I both agreed that it was not one we were going to waste our time on but I have to confess a fascination for ‘Toddlers and Tiara’s’. My wife couldn’t believe I watch it … but the mothers on that show leave me sitting with jaw agape. One (and, I kid you not, she was dead serious) said(of the pageants) “well..this is what we had kids for”. I truly believe, watching some of the kids, that the whole thing amounts to child-abuse…

    Oh… and the one ‘reality’ show that really gets me is the one featuring women who give birth without knowing they are pregnant. Now, I have no doubt that such a thing, in exceptional circumstance, is possible in a few rare incidences, but there are people coming out of the woodwork telling the same tale. I can’t remember the actual title of the show, but it seems to me that ‘Yes… I really *am* that fucking stupid!’ would be appropriate.

    • 

      It really boggles the mind, doesn’t it. I agree, it’s child abuse, plain and simple. As for the women who didn’t know they were pregnant, well, I’ve never been pregnant so I can’t speak from experience, but every woman I’ve ever known who’s had kids has had quite a few hints throughout the 9 months that something was going on in the uterus region. I like your name for the title of the show, sybaritica—it’s a lot more fitting than the one currently in use.

  21. 

    I am an American, and these shows make me hate myself.

  22. 

    I can only offer a little hope. Some countries actually take the time to think “Hmmm. The Americans are putting this on TV because they think it is a spectacle. Spectacles are not normal things. Nobody watches a show about grocery shopping. Hence, this is probably not the best representation of American life.” Yet, I’ve failed to meet anybody (to this day at least) from a Common Wealth country that bothered to think that far ahead, so our fellow English speakers all think we’re raving lunatics. We are, but not because we all treat our children to Go Go Juice and let them pretend to be prostitutes.

    • 

      Well, Peaches, many of our neighbors to the north have posted sympathetic comments here, so at least there are some Canadians who know we’re not all completely insane.

      • 

        I’m living up here. I know there are some who don’t hate us but you should have HEARD some of the stuff I heard in Canadian media classes when they didn’t know there was an American in the room. Brutal.

        • 

          Ah! I didn’t know you were living in Canada. Where are you? I had the same experience living in London. People would say horrendous things about Americans or about the US in general, and they’d be having have a lot of fun with it, and they didn’t know I was American. It was always so awkward.

          • 

            Ive lived in London too. First Germany for a year in High school, then I started my studies there. Finished in Canada and picked up a husband along the way. lol. Yeah, over the years, for better or worse, I’ve just learned to out myself as the American in most social situations.
            Some have complaints and their knowledgable and I have no problem with their criticisms. Some can actually be quite enlightening.
            But the overwhelming majority are just ignorant people (surprising, they exist everywhere) ragging on something American which they don’t actually understand any better than most Americans understand them.
            They also don’t want to be corrected by an American so it just makes the whole thing aggravating. I can’t even remember how many times I have out and out legitimate debates with people about how many states are in the union. No joke, I’ve been told, repeatedly, that I’m forgetting to count Alaska and Hawaii.
            Even when I go to school with these people, in their system, and get better grades than them, they still want to tell me I can’t count because I’m American.

  23. 

    Very unfortunate what many will do for fame…sad.

  24. 

    I am sticking to Community, Big Bang Theory and Downton Abbey this Fall – I hate reality TV

  25. 

    Thank you for making me grateful (once again) that we haven’t had television channels for a few years! :)

  26. 

    Hey weebs. Are you making this up? Please TELL ME you ARE making this up? – The world is crazy…. If this is what the human race is upto with our opposable thumbs, I don’t wanna be a part of it anymore!

    • 

      Lordy, I wish I had made it up, TTWI — truth really is stranger than fiction, though. I mean, seriously, we were all blessed with opposable thumbs but some people just shove them up their asses.

  27. 

    You don’t think they could hate us for overthrowing their government and putting in place one of our own choosing?
    Reality TV is a complete reversal of the normal paradigm whereby the wretched live vicariously through the beautiful people. Now the Gods watch the Clods.

    • 

      That was my point at the end, about the fact that people have always hated us for our war-mongering and how much we enjoy telling other countries what to do. But that’s old news, Smak. This reality shit is relatively new. It just gives even more ammo to people who think we’re imbeciles.

  28. 

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

  29. 

    … and here I thought that hillbilly handfishing was just a clever name for masturbating.

  30. 

    Actual conversation had while watching Honey Boo Boo video:
    Mommy, what’s that guy doing on tv?
    Making me hate humanity, baby. It’s ok.
    If it’s any consolation (and it shouldn’t be any consolation that humans can figure out how to be more terrible to each other) Canadians copy your shows and behave even worse to get attention. See “Real housewives of Vancouver” and the Canadian version of that Four Weddings” show for verification.Have tequila on hand to get over the crappy production values.

    • 

      As a (fellow?) Canadian, I really, really want to dispute this, but – given that I wouldn’t be caught dead watching such a show (wherever it was produced) – I don’t know if I can. At the very least…we don’t copy all of their shows, right?

      • 

        Hi fellow Canadian! We don’t copy all the shows, but only because we don’t grow Kardashians.

        I still can’t get Honey Boo Boo out of my mind. In some ways it’s amazing that she has so much self confidence. In so many other ways I want to just slap the shit right out of her mother.

      • 

        I actually don’t know if I’m currently capable of expressing how much even the idea of this show horrifies me/pisses me off. I’ve not even accidentally seen any shows where we do this kind of thing to children – what I’ve heard about a lot of the TLC shows makes my teeth itch.

    • 

      It’s consoling but not comforting, rollergiraffe. It’s just a shame that any of this crap is being replicated in other countries. Sorry about that.

  31. 

    Amen, Madame Weebles, Amen. You summed it up perfectly. And to think TLC originally stood for “The Learning Channel.” If they still use that, it has to violate truth in advertising laws….

    • 

      Remember those days when they actually had informative and interesting programming? Yeah, me too. You’re right, JM, if they still try to pass it off as “The Learning Channel” then they’re guilty of massive fraud.

  32. 

    Couldn’t have put it better myself Madame!

  33. 

    One of my favorite nuggets about this show is that it is on TLC, which stands for “the learning channel.” Holy mofo. Learning to mix Red Bull with Mountain Dew and shave 40 years off your child’s life? Done and done.

  34. 

    Sometimes I wonder if these broadcast companies do exactly opposite of all my complaints.
    me: “please, no more jersey shore”
    tv: “here is your kardashian”
    me:”please, no more kardashian”
    tv: “here is your toddlers & tiaras”
    You think we hit the bottome yet?

  35. 

    excellent stirring the proverbial pot here M Weebles… great post

  36. 
    A gripping life August 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Oh Weebs, I hear you. You had me, my husband and Lily laughing pretty hard with the comment, “Now this little monstrosity has her own effing show.” She’s nothing short of a monstrosity, you’re right. Now here’s a little something that might surprise you… Ready? We get most, if not all of this shite, from England. I know, it’s a relief to know we’re not the only ones ignorant enough to feed the masses with this garbage. They have shows like, “My big fat Gypsy wedding,” “Big brother,” “Jeremy Kyle,” “Strange sex” and of course their endless fascination with the Nazis. They have so many more crap shows that I can’t think of off the top of my head, but trust me, they’re way worse than we are. Hopefully this makes you feel a tad bit better about Honey Boo-Boo, on second thought, can anyone really feel good about that train wreck?

    • 

      Interesting, Grippy. Of all things to import from the Mother Country… I think Big Brother was originally a Dutch show, though, so we have our other colonial forebears to thank for that one. Unfortunately, southern redneckery and the Honey Boo Boo types are all homegrown. Eccch.

  37. 

    Chilling. We’ve got plenty of our own reality nonsense in Britain too though. We don’t even have HBO or Mad Men to balance it out.

    • 

      You don’t get Mad Men over there?? I thought for sure that would be exported over there. But you have all kinds of cool radio shows over there. We don’t get those. And BBC4’s signal isn’t strong enough to reach all the way over here.

      • 

        Sorry, I meant we don’t make anything as good as those shows. we do get them which is why the BBC drama department don’t sleep at night.

        • 

          Ah, okay, now I understand. Some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen, though, has been from the UK. I still think the original Prime Suspect series is one of the best things EVER.

          • 

            Yeah, we’ve had our moments. I recommend Cracker; cop type show starring Robbie Coltrane from the ’90s if you haven’t seen it (I think they made a substandard US version).
            That was all a long time ago now… *sniff*

  38. 

    This is sad and true.

  39. 

    The best way a beauty pagent ever ends is in a very Jon Benet Ramsey way. It really is one of the sickest things on the planet.

    Reality shows like the ones you mentioned are what people watch when they’re drunk/high/want to turn off their minds. There’s nothing wrong with it but by golly people must be always drunk/high/turning off their minds.

    Very well put. You clearly have a passion of hatred against terrible television. Make sure you watch The Soup! if you aren’t already.

  40. 

    That show looks awful for so many reasons. Your post instantly reminded me of a David Cross quote: “I saw this ad for electric scissors [referring to a bit earlier] during an episode of The Simple Life. Which is a show that glorifies these two rich, giggling ****, who have no respect for anyone. Just vile people; awful human beings. Who get away with anything, because they’re rich. I, right then, vowed that I would retain this image everytime I hear George Bush say ‘the terrorists hate our freedom.’ You know what? I hate our freedom. Little ol’ me, an American! I hate it! That’s all we’ve done with it? We’re fu**ing a**holes, man. We…are…awful.”

    • 

      David Cross is one funny guy. I haven’t seen a lot of his stuff but he’s very funny. And obviously very intelligent. Seriously, this is our freedom? To watch this shit? I’m pretty sure our founding fathers weren’t counting on Honey Boo Boo. (Well, Jefferson might have been, but not the others.)

  41. 

    I don’t have enough words. That poor child. This is sick and wrong on every level. There should be an age limit on Mountain Dew, isn’t Red Bull 18 and over? someone needs to stop this mess…… ick ick ick….

  42. 

    Word has leaked out that there will be a Real Housewives of Nashville (where I live). I can imagine the ex-wife of a faded country star; a woman covered in rhinestones; and the token woman from the countryside. It’s soing to be an embarassment.

  43. 

    Reblogged this on Meizac and commented:
    There are so many things that are horrifying about this show (even the idea for the show). Most of all, however, I watch that video and can’t dream of feeding M a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull or telling her to “shake [her] butt.” And, I swear to you, if “a dollar makes me holler” ever comes out of her mouth…. Frak, I don’t even know what I’d do.

  44. 

    Don’t hold it in! Tell us how you really feel! And Jim Wheeler thinks I’m cynical.

  45. 

    Being an American who has spent the past 10 years living in another country (and no Canada doesn’t count ;) ) I can tell you there are many reasons why the rest of the world hates us. However, most of it has to do with the face we put on for the rest of the world and you are correct in that the television cr*p that is made to represent the US is certainly a large part of that face. Occasionally I see commercials for Toddlers & Tiaras here and I always wonder why it is that every one of the mothers is overweight, why are the kids all eating pixie sticks (straight shots of sugar) and why, oh why would anyone watch a train wreck like that? Is it any surprise that the rest of the world thinks we are loud, annoying, superficial and dumb as a box of rocks?
    Cheers,
    Laura

    • 

      Ohhhhh, I think a bunch of Canadian bloggers would beg to disagree with you about Canada not counting, Laura! ;) I have also lived in another country, on another continent, and I too am painfully aware of how we’re perceived, for many reasons. And you’re right, the television we export ain’t helping. But showing ordinary people who aren’t train wrecks doesn’t bring in the ratings, sadly.

      • 

        True, but we have a show here in Australia called “Packed to the Rafters” about multi-generational family life. It’s a drama series that is extremely popular. And whatever happened to writing a script for a television show. Seems producers have become lazy. Sad really.

  46. 

    Wait. Toddlers & Tiaras is from TLC. And doesn’t it stand for The Learning Channel?

    WTF??????

  47. 

    Excuse me while I go throw up.

  48. 

    Excuse me? Honey Boo Boo lives next door to me! No, not really, but please take it from this Georgia girl that the South is not populated (entirely) by Boo Boobs like this. And I agree with you completely–let’s parade our best and brightest for the world to see, shall we?
    Preach it, sister.

    • 

      Oh believe me, Robin, I know not all of Georgia is like this. I had a very close friend who grew up in Newnan, and she could not be more unlike these Boo Boobs (I love that, btw). We need to strut better stuff for the rest of the world to see, for sure.

  49. 

    One of the worst things about these shows is that the people on them don’t even know that they are on the shows because they are trainwrecks. They think they are on the shows because they are enviable.

    • 

      I think you’re absolutely right, WC. They think they’re all that and a bag of chips, and haven’t the slightest idea that their behavior and lifestyle is drastically different from those of the rest of us. It’s amazing how delusional people can be.

  50. 

    What is the Bad Girl’s Club? Is it like a country club? Is there a membership interview? Do you get a badge or a special hat? Can I join? I want a special hat.

    I wonder if we’l ever get to a critical mass point where everyone who watches these shows non-ironically has also featured on one?

    • 

      I honestly couldn’t even tell you the premise of the show, Chris, aside from the fact that it involves really obnoxious, badly-behaved women. I don’t think a special hat is involved, though. If a club doesn’t have a special hat, I’m not joining.

      I would be curious to know how many people watch these shows non-ironically, and I’d also like to ask them what the fuck their problem is.

      • 

        It must be escapism, or a cross between that and shadenfreude. They watch these shows to be able to forget about their own problems, to enjoy the glamour of the trash, and to have a secret sneer too. ‘My kid is unruly and has mashed potato in her hair, but THAT kid on the telly is unruly, has mashed potato in her hair AND is in a pageant to win a solid gold house.’

        I may be wrong.

  51. 

    Grrrrrrr. You’re right that TV has done a lot to shape the perception of this country abroad and this #@&*$$!!!! stuff has got a lot to do with it. Quite a few of the kids shows are equally lowest-common-denominator crap. Then there’s the Disney “stars” that can’t even string together a full sentence, but go on to “produce” their own hit records (with the assistance of a full court teen-targeted media blitz, but that has nothing to do with it, of course, because it’s all to do with their “talent.”)

    What makes me particularly sad about all these shows is that it isn’t the 6 yr olds that decide they want to do this, its the parents who want the associated fame/infamy who prostitute the lives they were supposed to look after.

    Arrrgghhh.

    Sorry, just fell off my soap box, but you get the idea.

    Cheers!

    • 

      Even if I didn’t know you had a daughter, Nigel, I’d still know you had a daughter from your comment here. You’re right, you have to feel bad for the kids who had no choice in this. They’re at the mercy of their parents. Everyone wants to be famous, even if they’re more infamous in the bargain. As for those Disney concoctions, they’re odes to shallowness and mediocrity. It’s nauseating.

  52. 

    I love reality tv, but this is a little too far for me. Mountain dew and red bull?! CPS should give these people a visit.

    • 

      Right?? I mean, nobody’s hitting the kid, she has both her parents, she’s got food and shelter. But there are so many other forms of neglect and abuse. I suppose the poor CPS people have their hands full, though.

  53. 

    This is also an excellent example of why people should have to get licenses to have children. As far as I’m concerned, this is legalized child abuse. It’s also why I hate any and all reality shows. Why on Earth would I want to waste my time watching nasty, selfish people do nasty, selfish things to each other? That’s what the news is for.

    • 

      *clap clap clap clap clap* Much applause, purple. You need licenses for dogs and to operate a vehicle, but no license to bring another human into the world and raise them to be responsible adults. Boggles the mind.

  54. 

    I know you’re a very popular lady….that didn’t come out just as I intended…. but if you get to the bottom of your big pile of comments, you’ll find I nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award for all the nice comments you’ve left at my site. Stop over and pick up a copy if you’d like.

  55. 

    Reality shows = ultimate oxy-moron

  56. 

    i remember when”TLC” stood for “The Learning Channel”. all i’ve learned there lately is that we’re beyond fucked as a species….

    oh, and my trailer park people called – they are offended. these people give them a bad name…

    • 

      I’m not sure how the other species haven’t already taken over, daisyfae. We’re clearly not superior. And you should launch a lawsuit against these idiots for misrepresenting and insulting trailer park people.

  57. 

    Yeah.
    Maybe we could slip in some subliminals? Y’know, like “A-B-C-D” and “1-2-3-4″?

  58. 

    Good news for me is that I don’t watch this stuff. Bad news is two fold …. 1) I first learned about her on CNN about 5 minutes ago … and 2) Now I’m here. At least you call it for what it is!

  59. 

    Here in Canada, we show these TV shows to our children and tell them this will happen to them if they marry their cousins and/or quit school. Also works to keep them from using drugs.

  60. 

    It’s official. I’m in love! Can’t wait to find the time to check you out properly! Women who rant are my favorite.

  61. 

    Besides the obvious (people always rubberneck to witness a train wreck)these shows are relatively cheap to produce. No real screenwriters, no highly paid actors and actresses, and very few sets. That’s not to say they aren’t horrendous. They are, but that’s why there’s so many of them. And TLC just gets worse and worse. (I used to watch “What Not To Wear”, but even that wears thin after about eight episodes). I’m not about to watch pregnant teenagers, airheads like the Kardashians, or exploited child beauty pageant queens. It’s just too sad. I almost feel like giving them my viewership is rewarding their crappy life decisions.

    • 

      Hi Lovely!! I’m sure the fact that these shows are cheap, in every sense of the word, is a bonus for producers. Relatively little expense for fairly high payoff. It’s pretty sad. And I feel the same way—even if I wanted to watch these shows, I’d feel like I was encouraging/rewarding these people by doing so. I’m not doing that.

  62. 

    As a non American, I am baffled when these shows find out way onto our television, but they do. We, Australians must love them so much that we make our own local versions, we have a local version of Jersey Shore airing right now, but to mediocre ratings. Clearly, American reality stars are so much more interesting than the local versions. To my knowledge we have no local Kardashians, but I ‘m sure it won’t be long beforea long lost Aussie relative pops up somewhere. Great post and nice to meet to you!

    • 

      Hello there, curtain raiser, and welcome!! I’m sorry we’re exporting all of our crap to you. Even sorrier that they’ve inspired local versions of them. It’s just so many different kinds of wrong. I mean, I’d probably enjoy watching your local versions because of the Australian accents, would be nice to hear, but aside from that, there are no winners here.

  63. 

    Speechless, and that takes a fair amount. Thanks quite some export you have there. I’d love to say the rest of the world will have the intelligence to look past it at the rest of America, but I fear that simply is not true…we’re all dumbing down as fast as we can….

  64. 

    The whole dang fambly has more chins than a chinese phonebook. Yep, i said it.

  65. 

    I just…. don’t know…. if I can live… anymore. But thank you for your post. Nothing makes stupid hurt less quite like a well-articulated ridicule of it.

    • 

      Thanks, Hannah. I figured that as long as I’m feeling superior to these people, I may as well write about it in longer words that they probably won’t understand, for that extra smugness.

  66. 

    The amount of garbage shows out there is disgusting….even more worrisome is that young viewers start thinking all these odd obnoxious characters are normal – and start behaving like them.
    But hey – it’s cheap programing for the networks – and there can be product tie-ins!

  67. 

    I have to admit as a Canadian (hi there neighbour!) current U.S. television mostly makes me cringe, gag and retch. But we don’t hate ya – we actually are kinda start’n to feel well kinda sorry for ya’ll down south there :)
    I also don’t take TV as representative of U.S. culture…
    Of course the upside is next year’s program have to be better – because how the heck can they get any worse?

    • 

      Well howdy, northern neighbor! That’s a mighty fine southern accent you’ve got there–who knew you had so many talents?

      I like to think that we’ve hit rock bottom, TV wise, but there always seems to be yet another level of hell that has yet to be discovered…

  68. 

    That was a horrifying video clip. I think I lost some IQ points just viewing it. I hate reality TV. ‘Nuff said.

  69. 
    free penny press August 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    My take on this “garbage” (said in my best French accent), is they are setting this family up for massive amounts of public ridicule and how in the hell did this ever get funding to be produced? I would run over my TV if you made me watch this nonsense.. Honey no-no for me!!

    • 

      Hi Lynne! Ha, Honey No-No. That’s for damned sure. The sad thing is that I don’t think the family understands that they’re being ridiculed. All they see is fame and “dolla” signs.

  70. 

    Holy crap, it took me forever to scroll through these comments, looks like you’ve hit a nerve!

    I have never seen Toddlers and Tiaras or any of those Jersey Shore crap shows. I do watch Survivor and Big Brother, Hard Core Pawn etc. religiously, I admit. But Honey Boo Boo? What in god’s name is this?? I don’t even have words.

    • 

      I know, Maineiac, I thought it was a spoof when I first saw the commercial for it. I watch reality stuff too but there’s no way I’m watching this crap—the premiere was last night, I think. I wonder how it did in the ratings.

  71. 

    Sorry to be so late to the conversation…crazy week! I couldn’t agree with you more MW. I’ve never watched any of those crazy shows and have only referred to them once or twice in a blog post in jest. You go girl!

    • 

      Always happy to have you here whenever you get here, Stacie. These shows are fucking crazy, as are the programmers who put them on television. I can only hope it tanks in the ratings immediately…

  72. 

    That. Is. Horrible.
    Truly. Disgusting. *barf*

  73. 

    First off, as I’m sure you’re told on a regular basis, your blog is fantastic. This is my first visit and I absolutely love it.

    I completely agree with what you’re saying. I’ve gotten to know many foreigners in the past several years, and to these friends, the word “American” basically refers to some combination of the cultures portrayed in these shows. When I’m with my foreign friends, I constantly feel pressured to separate myself from these people, or to be less “American.” Because, unfortunately, being “American” IS embarrassing.

    • 

      Welcome, Jane!! And thank you so much for the kind words about my blog.

      Yeah, I feel you on the embarrassment thing. You just want to scream, “WE’RE NOT ALL LIKE THAT!!!” But I’m sure your non-American friends, just like mine, realize that there’s a difference between individual Americans, and the Americans depicted on TV. At least, I hope they do—otherwise you should go all redneck on their asses.

  74. 

    Oh, dear. I hope so. I suppose they must have seen SOME positive traits in me when they decided to tolerate my existence.
    Hmm. Interesting thought. I recently introduced the concepts of rednecks, white trash, and hicks to a Russian friend. It was hard to get him to see what set them apart from other Americans. Perhaps going redneck on his ass — as you have suggested — will enlighten him.

  75. 

    OMG you must have moved in to my head….GREAT posts btw!

  76. 

    And that video is horrifying. I would like to undo watching that and go back to having no idea that those people really exist.

  77. 

    Oh. Dear. God. By the end of your first paragraph, I was already having to swallow down a bit of sick. Sorry – Honey Boo Boo? Seriously? Is that not illegal? And that bit in the video where she goes mental – has that been fiddled with on a computer, or is that actually her going mental? I’m a Londoner and I genuinely love America and (most) Americans, but those kinds of Americans need to be stopped. Just stopped. From doing anything. Ever.
    (P.S. Great post, I am now a follower. Hello from England!)

    • 

      Hi Becky! I’m sorry I’m late in answering this, thank you so much for your comment, and welcome! Yeah, Honey Boo Boo. You can’t make this shit up. When I first saw it I thought it was a satire of some sort. I was so disappointed to learn that it was all too real. They truly are the people who make everyone hate us. But I’m glad to know that you realize we’re not all like that. And I’m always happy to make a new friend from the Mother Country!

  78. 

    I’m a southerner and this show makes me sick. It’s no wonder the rest of the country, even the world thinks people from the southern United States don’t have teeth, all wear patched overalls with no shirts and marry our sisters. i hate so called “reality” shows. The problem is, people eat this stuff up, in their sick twisted little minds they think it’s funny, I don’t know when disgusting became funny, but apparently it has. All I can say is I look forward to when this stereotypical atrocity will taken off the air.

    • 

      Hi Larry, and welcome! I feel your pain, regarding people assuming all southerners are like this freak show. As a New Yorker, I always hate seeing the reality shows where we all sound like idiots and mafia goons. Most of America already hates New York, so I hate these shows for giving them more ammo. But I know that Honey Boo Boo and her clan do not represent everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line. One day hopefully people will have had their fill of these inane shows, but I don’t think it will be any time soon. Thank you so much for your comment!

  79. 

    Ouch :( I’m from Australia and we don’t get these shows, or at least I’ve never seen them but that one video clip was horrifying enough. Mountain Dew spiked with Red Bull? Doesn’t that count as child abuse????

  80. 
    wqkprohinevas1973 September 3, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Reblogged this on Amanda King Blogs and commented:

  81. 

    Your blog and the comments are addictive.
    I should have stopped and gone and made some lunch for my geriatric husband hours ago.
    Thank heavens I stopped watching any form of TV years ago, and just stick with the weather forecast with all its drama, anxiety and anticipation, heavy rain, flooding,, thunder, lightning, drought, tornado, bush fires – the excitement, the tension, the terror’s all there. …give it whirl to cheer yourself up with a good dose of schadenfreude !

    • 

      Oh, you’re very kind, Valerie. I hope your husband didn’t wait too long for lunch! You’re wise to just refrain from television altogether, it’s really just so much garbage these days. Hurricane season is almost over though, so no real interesting weather coming up soon. But you never know, right?

  82. 

    Those revolting reality shows have spread here to the UK! You don’t have to go and find an idiot anymore, you just switch on the TV, and where’s the fun in that?! Although, if you want to find someone more orange than a satsuma smothered in fake tan you don’t have to look that far!
    I should come to your blog more often! It’s great!

    • 

      You raise an excellent point, Dutch Bennie–now there’s no thrill in finding an idiot or a weirdo because you can just switch on the television and see one. It’s the little things you miss, you know? And please feel free to visit my blog anytime, you are always most welcome!

  83. 

    there is a great line from all in the family
    meathead:whats on the idiot box?
    archie:its only an idiot box if there is an idiot watching.

  84. 

    Man, I’m late again. The eve of 2014, and I just found this? Can’t wait to hear what you think of Breaking Bad.

  85. 

    Well, there’s always Duck Dynasty to save our overdone bacon before it slides off the plate completely … & that little ole child is gonna need a super-sized American helping of therapy before she’s done …

  86. 

    S’ok ….same shit here in the UK! I turned the TV off for two years having been totally revolted by the vile Big Brother series. Can’t stand crap, can’t stand the repulsive types of people that star in the shows and particularly can’t stand the morons that consider them celebrities. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now!

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