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Reality TV wrong to run when life gets too real

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There is always doubt as to how real reality television is. For the second time, a TV show produced by TLC has fallen into the camp of “too real.” Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has been canceled in light of the central character’s mother’s unconfirmed dating of convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, the man who allegedly forced oral sex onto her oldest daughter at the age of 8, was charged with the sexual exploitation of another child over the Internet as well.

Though it is tempting to criticize the stars of TLC for their controversial lifestyles, we should instead be skeptical of a network that continues to make celebrities of “salt-of-the-earth” people, then forcibly removes that stardom from the unlucky few who happen to be living humanly flawed lives.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has been under scrutiny since its inception, documenting the eccentric “redneck” life of beauty pageant queen Alana Shannon and her family. The former Toddlers & Tiaras star, nicknamed “Honey Boo Boo,” was discovered by TLC while competing in a pageant. Many viewers fell in love with her quirky, spunky, spirited self.

A show following her family’s life shortly followed, and received relative success. That is, until this past summer when ratings dropped, allegedly due to Honey Boo Boo’s diva behavior. However, it took the misaction of her mother, June Shannon (Mama June), to make TLC “redneckognize” the problem. TLC’s cancellation of the family’s show has continued the trend of denying the realities of the stars this reality network creates.

This past December, A&E’s Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson fell under fire for his homophobic and racist comments. He was temporarily banned from being aired in any episodes as a result. It seems unfair to these people that the moment they mess up or make questionable choices, they lose support from the networks that placed them on a televisual pedestal.

Media attention should not be spent obsessing about the affairs of the Shannon family as they resolve their issues, but rather used questioning the integrity of networks that are unable to support the not-so-average realities it picks up and dresses up for television coverage. The public should be skeptical of TLC and similar networks for their lack of foresight in idolizing normal Americans, and the low-quality programming that often results.