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The train wreck I can't stop watching

My mother is self-proclaimed reality television junkie; she has never met a real housewife or a Kardashian she didn't like. Much to her horror, I have not shared her love of trash TV, but this doesn't stop her from talking incessantly about the trials and tribulations of all the drama. She has begged me to watch these shows so that we can discuss them in greater detail. One of her favorite comments, "I just can't believe you don't watch any of the real housewives shows, they seem like something you would just love."

I am not sure what this says about me, the fact that she thinks I would really enjoy watching spoiled rich people in their daily habitat. Just for her, I tried to watch one episode, but just could not get hooked. I just didn't care about any of it. Try as I might, I simply could not understand her obsession with watching bad reality shows. I even got a tad judgmental, wondering how in the world she could possibly like these shows.

Last month, all of this changed when I discovered a reality show that hooked me in the first five minutes. I was channel surfing mindlessly when for some unknown reason I stopped on the very type of show that I vowed never to watch. Contrary to what most people, my own mother included, would think would interest me, I found myself completely absorbed by the antithesis of botoxed rich women shopping for the latest accessory. I was mesmerized by an obese woman, a 6-year-old beauty queen and her outrageous redneck family.

If you haven't seen TLC's new breakout reality show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," you don't know what you are missing. It follows a family living in rural Georgia that first gained public attention on the show "Toddler's and Tiara's" as 6-year-old Alana, aka Honey Boo Child, competed in pageants. TLC was clever enough to realize that this family made good television and gave them their own show. The real star of this show isn't Honey Boo Boo, it is the matriarch of the family, June, aka Mama. All of the family members have nicknames; Sugar Bear, Chickadee, Pumpkin and Chubbs. This somehow just adds to the absurdity.

I have to admit when I first started watching, I likened it to a horrific train wreck because I just could not look away from the disaster. And it is a disaster. This family is proud to call themselves rednecks; bragging about their bodily functions, digging through dumpsters for entertainment, attending redneck games where they bobbed for pig's feet, and feasting on actual road kill. They butcher the English language so badly that the show actually has subtitles so that we can understand them.

They seem to sustain themselves on a diet solely made of snacks purchased at the convenience store that sits just feet from their house, and they give new meaning to the term coach potato. The family is grossly overweight, completely unaffected by fashion or trends- which is ironic considering the fact that Alana gets completely transformed for her pageants. It sounds like a terrible recipe for a hit show; a white trash blended family and their unhealthy lifestyle. Oddly enough, for some reason it works.

Once you get past all the redneck jargon and white trash stereotypes, at the core of this family is love. They genuinely love and care about each other. Sugar bear, aka Mike, aka the male head of the family, is only the biological father to Alana- but treats all the girls as though they are his daughters. June puts her girls first, as any mother would, and despite being a bad role model for healthy living, she is perhaps teaching them to love themselves as they are. They are a family that is completely unapologetic for their behavior and seem completely comfortable in their own skin. In a world of the airbrushed perfection of celebrities/reality stars, this family is relatable. They don't have hair and makeup or wardrobe departments for this show, and yet the show is still a hit.

TLC has seen the ratings soar for this new show, and with over 3 million viewers it beat Fox News coverage of the Republican National Convention. Yes, that means more people wanted to see Honey Boo Boo play with the fat roll on her belly than the Republican Presidential nomination announcement. Scary, huh?

I thought I had finally found a reality show that my mother and I could discuss, but much to my dismay, she refuses to watch it. This is very much a love/hate type of show. Much like many people, she finds the show disgusting and too cliche. Aren't all reality shows disgusting and cliche? That is sort of the allure; you just have to pick your poison.

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