Culture

Smearing the South: First Honey Boo-Boo, Now 'The Angry Ginger'?

Honey Boo Boo/Angry Ginger

I thought having Honey Boo-Boo represent my home state of Georgia was bad enough. Now there’s another show planning to portray Southerners as absolute hicks:

Honey Boo Boo is getting some competition.

Another family from rural Georgia is coming to reality television, with “Hollywood Hillbillies” set to debut in January on ReelzChannel.

The show follows Michael Kittrell and his grandmother Delores Hughes, known as “Mema,” as the family moves from Grayson, Ga., to Hollywood. Along for the ride are Kittrell’s aunt, Dee Dee Peters, her boyfriend Paul Conlon, and Kittrell’s uncle John Cox.

Kittrell is known as “The Angry Ginger” on YouTube, where a video he made to protest a “South Park” episode that claimed redheads have no soul gained attention.

“I made a lot of money on my YouTube channel, and I saved it all from the past four years,” Kittrell said. “I got my family with me to support me and help me while we all look for our place out here.”

Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, her mother and their rural Georgia family are the subjects of a hit TLC show that focuses on their lives in a small town.

For the record, Grayson is not “rural Georgia.” In fact, it sits right in one of the largest suburban counties near Atlanta. But I digress.

Meet “The Angry Ginger.” Warning: some of the language is NSFW.

Writer Armando Tinoco muses:

The inevitable similarities between both shows following a Southern family are going to be there, but will the public respond well to the new show?

“Honey Boo Boo” already has captivated the public on television and her show is broadcasted on the TLC channel that has an established audience. On the contrary, the show starring “Angry Ginger” will be aired on Reelz, which doesn’t have the same reach. It will be interesting to see if his subscribers from his YouTube channel migrated to watch his antics on television now.

Hollywood Hillbillies

Why don’t I let the, um, stars of the show describe it to you?

“Hollywood has just gained some weight. Country has come to town, and we are two tons of fun, let me tell you,” said Delores in an interview.

“We’ve put the fun in dysfunctional, I’m telling you,” added Dee Dee Peters.

As for what they plan to do in Los Angeles, the girls are planning to do lots of shopping, while Michael is expecting to find love.

“So if any ladies out there are looking, they’re into redheads … I’m definitely your man. I’m a tiger. I’m a lot of fun. I’m not the best‑looking guy, but I’m a lot of fun,” he said.

Yikes. And we wonder why people outside the South have such negative opinions about us.

Let me just ask one question — WHY? Why do these reality-TV producers choose the lowest common denominator to represent the South? The Kittrell-Hughes-Peters-Conlon-Cox clan don’t represent the Georgia I’ve lived in all my life — of course, neither does Honey Boo-Boo’s family. Most of us in the South are not like these people at all.

Are middle-class Southerners not enticing subjects for reality shows? Why not have a show portraying a Southern family venturing out into business for themselves (but not in the terrible, exploitative way the History Channel is going after the Hatfields and McCoys)? Or show us some wealthy Southerners who are trying to make a difference in the world around them (and get the so-called Real Housewives of Atlanta out of our faces).

The problem is, positive images of Southerners on reality television don’t fit the entertainment industry’s narrative of portraying Southerners as backward hicks who are far out of touch with the beautiful people on both coasts. Much like the bad accents all over television and movies, obese, slackjawed yahoos who will no doubt clash with “them city folk” fit perfectly into the pigeonhole. And Southern stereotyping is just about the only acceptable form of stereotyping left in the world.