Why We're Worried About Honey Boo Boo

If a person's upbringing is any sort of an indication for their future, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson has an uphill climb ahead of her. Growing up in a household where eating sketti and ketchup with a cocktail of Mountain Dew and Red Bull to wash it down was the norm probably would have inspired any other person to strive for a better life. Except through the magic of reality TV, she became a star as the world delighted in morbid curiosity at folks they would likely go out of their way to avoid in real life. And that's barely scraping the surface of why Honey Boo Boo might be looking back at a life of regret.

The Here Comes Honey Boo Boo pedophilia scandal

After it became apparent that June Shannon, Honey Boo Boo's mom, allowed a convicted sex offender near her children — and possibly dated him — TLC pulled the plug on the family's gravy train. Mama June maintained her innocence and even threatened to sue TLC, forever poisoning that well, and making it unlikely that any other network was going to risk putting them back on the air. Fortunately for Mama June, she found a new home in WE tv, which helped craft her reality TV resurrection, but more on that in a minute.

What Honey Boo Boo really needs is a solo gig to give her a little distance from her unpredictable extended family, but at this point that would probably require legal emancipation from her mom, and that's a stressful situation we wouldn't want to put on anyone.

Her mom stole her spotlight

After several years of relative media obscurity for the family, interrupted only briefly by Mama June and Sugar Bear's relationship hitting the skids on WE tv's Marriage Boot Camp, the network threw Mama June a huge bone by greenlighting Mama June: From Not To Hot, the series documenting her 300-pound weight loss. And while Mama June's decision to get healthy is admirable, as Joanna Arcieri of BuzzFeed points out, it was also likely a calculated attempt at shedding the controversy surrounding her relationship scandals.

Not to mention, the new show places Honey Boo Boo, who was previously the star, in the backseat. Now 11-years-old, this little girl has to deal with a fame downgrade.

Her probable health issues

Speaking of her health issues, because of her family's poor decision-making, Honey Boo Boo is probably the most public face of America's childhood obesity crisis. At over 120 pounds, she's already struggling to lose weight, which Mama June shared in a since-deleted Instagram post. And now Mama June is attempting to parlay her own weight-loss journey into a new angle for Honey Boo Boo's reality TV comeback, only she wants no part of it. On a clip from Mama June: From Not To Hot (via The Daily Mail), Honey Boo Boo adamantly rejects a suggestion from Mama June's doctor that she also adopt a healthier diet. "Not unless it includes cheeseburgers," she says.

On top of that, one of the show's other exploitative plot points is that Honey Boo Boo's new stepmom, who is not in the greatest shape, is on the flip side, encouraging her poor eating habits. "You eat that potato chip with that peanut butter," she tells Honey Boo Boo in one shocking clip from the show. That dynamic has the potential to create a lifetime of body issues. Add in the shaming, bullying, and relentless amount of public pressure to shed the weight, and there exists a psychological strain that would be a burden for an adult, no less a little kid. Thankfully, Honey Boo Boo is still young, which means she still has time to get healthy.

She grew up on reality tv

Combining her family's questionable lifestyle with Alana Thompson's precociousness, TLC knew they had struck working class gold for their hit show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. From their wacky diet, to their Southern twang that at times was so heavy it required subtitles, this show was somehow the next logical step from Toddlers & Tiaras. Because everyone associates Mama June's "forklift foot" with child beauty pageants, right? Anyway, TLC somehow pulled this off, and in doing so, placed Honey Boo Boo onto millions of Americans' TV screens during her formative years. Which means from the age of seven, Honey Boo Boo has gotten nothing but positive reinforcement for participating in the some of the most non-complimentary representations of American culture. That might be tough to reverse.

The song she recorded

Honey Boo Boo recorded the song "Movin' Up" with producer Adam Barta. It features most of her family, and the nicest thing we can say about it is we hope they all got paid a lot of money to perform it. "Movin' Up" is an objectively bad song made by a man who has created a cottage industry recording questionable tracks and accompanying music videos with reality TV stars. And let's take a closer look at that "producer" Adam Barta. This is the man who also recorded this track for Patricia "Tan Mom" Krentcil, as well as a songs with Teen Mom stars Farrah Abraham and her mom, Debra. So we're just going to let his resume speak for himself on this one.

Her money is actually a ticking time bomb

According to Mama June, Honey Boo Boo's reality TV money is being kept safely in a trust, which is a good thing since one of the young star's famous catchphrases is "A dollar makes me holler." But even if Mama June doesn't swipe Honey Boo Boo's money, like older sister Anna alleges she did with hers, it might not be so great when she gets her hands on it. Think about it for a second. When have we seen adorable kid stars who were urged into fame by their parents turn into complete freaks the second they got free of them and got their hands on their money? It really wouldn't hurt to force Honey Boo Boo to binge-watch every VH1 show Corey Feldman ever appeared on, then sent her immediately into a meeting with a financial planner.

Nobody took her seriously to begin with

One of the struggles that many reality TV stars face during and after their success is how to earn respect from their audience. That can be an especially tough hill to climb when you're on a show like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Much like point-and-laugh shows like Jersey Shore, Flavor of Love and The Simple Life, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was viewed at best as mindless entertainment, and at worse, as a large part of the reason people turn up their nose at working class folks. So, while it may seem innocent enough to laugh at a bunch of weirdo Americans who we might otherwise feel sorry for if we saw them in public, the reality is that little girl started her career as the butt of everyone's joke. And while that may be good for short-term success, given how many people have laughed at her, and not with her, little Thompson has a tough road ahead of her if she ever wants to be taken seriously.

She started off way too young

Finding success at a very young age can be a very troubling experience. Just ask people like Tatum O'Neal or Danny Bonaduce, who went from seriously cute to seriously messed up in the blink of an eye. The latter actually once recalled a story about being "homeless and famous" to Oprah. That's not to say that Thompson has a road of tragedy ahead of her. For every Tatum O'Neal, there's a Jodie Foster. But right now, American audiences have only one image of Thompson: a goofy, overweight little girl from the South who says strange things and has an even stranger family. For better or worse, that image will likely stay with television audiences forever, which means that Thompson will at some point have to be strategic about how she manages her image. With her own weight loss show supposedly already in talks, it's looking like that's going to be a big part of the angle reality TV producers are going to try to sell. That's an incredible amount of pressure for anyone at any age. The fact that it currently sits in the hands of child is all the more troubling.

Her 15 minutes of fame are already up

Though horrifying in and of itself, the scandal that caused TLC to pull the plug on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in many ways sped up an inevitable conclusion: that some day, American audiences would eventually grow sick of watching that show. The series was incredibly one-note to begin with, and it was only a matter of time before TV-watchers grew tired of the joke and moved onto something new. Many reality TV stars have since become aware of their short shelf lives, which is why you see people like Snooki, Bethenny Frankel or the Kardashian family turn their 15 minutes of fame into a legitimate, money-making brand. Nobody on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo bothered to follow suit. Case in point: Mama June literally had to lose three quarters of her entire body to get people talking about anything other than the child molester scandal she was involved in, and whoops, look at that, it's still hanging around. Even if the family had taken their fame seriously, and diversified into a line of Honey Boo Boo lunchboxes or whatever, their messy personal lives were destined to turn from funny to sad. In other words: their time is up.