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Honey Boo Boo Has Georgia Residents Concerned About How Their Town is Represented

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Sep 18, 2012 10:37 AM EDT

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Honey Boo Boo may be a hit on TV, but Alana Thompson's neighbors aren't too happy with the way their town of McIntyre, Georgia is portrayed on the hit TLC reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

The show features 7-year-old beauty pageant star Alana, also known as Honey Boo Boo. The young girl may be little, but she had a large personality that fits right along with her mother June Shannon's and the rest of their family. The show plays on redneck stereotypes and crude behavior.

Alana Thompson loves every minute of the spotlight.

"This is who she is," Honey Boo Boo's mother Shannon told the Associated Press. "This is her everyday life. She's got her own little personality, especially like when the cameras come on and when she's got attention."

The show is growing in popularity as it attracts two to three million viewers a week, but those who live in the town on McIntyre, GA, where the show takes place, are a bit concerned over the way their town and the south in general is portrayed.

McIntyre is a small town with a population of 650 and 40 percent of families with an income that falls below poverty levels. It is in a rural county that exports kaolin, a chalky clay used in products such as makeup, medicine, catalytic converters for vehicles and even heat shields on space shuttles, according to the Associated Press.

However, in order to fit with the theme of the show, episodes often feature the negative sides of the town such as shots of junk cars, stray animals and garbage dumps and Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan Jackson isn't too happy about it.

"You can't very well ask and expect a television network to possess tact and taste - unless it makes them a dollar," he told the AP.

While residents recognize that she show is putting McIntye on the map, they want people to understand that the show doesn't represent the town as a whole.

"I don't mind it, it's just that it doesn't give a good image for the county since it is a small county, and it's a really family-oriented county, and we are basically, you know, church goers down here, and a lot of the things they do ... we don't agree with it," said Carolyn Snead, a McIntyre tax preparer, according to AP.

Flower shop owner Anita McGahee often has fans stop by her shop to buy stuffed animals and gifts for the wild family. She often watches the show, but agrees that the way the family acts is not a fair representation of all of McIntyre.

"It bothers me a little that people might think that that's what everyone here is like. It's like we all don't have any manners," McGahee told the AP.

Tommy Floyd, who used to live near the family can vouch that what viewers see on TV isn't just an act.  "They don't put on," he said. "That's everything they do every day. It ain't just put on for the show," he told the AP.

Others joked that outsiders already stereotype the south regardless of the show and that the show just represents the stereotypes in a fun way.

Whether or not the residents enjoy the show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is a hit, but it is not clear if TLC will continue it for a second season. The season finale of the show is on Sept. 26.

 

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