I already love the family from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, but if I hadn't already, I would after learning more about them. They may act like a backwoods sideshow a lot of the time, but the truth is that June and her daughters are much more grounded than many of us would be if we got a taste of reality fame.
After catching America's eye as a then five-year-old Alana downed go-go juice on Toddlers and Tiaras, the family has garnered both fame and criticism for their lack of manners and poor eating habits (sketti, anyone?), as well as their unconventional family outings. In their show's first episode, fifteen-year-old Jessica "Chubs" went bobbing for raw pig's feet, and later in the season the family went dumpster diving while talking about their penchant for eating road kill. It's easy to see how some people could turn up their noses at this family, if it weren't for one small fact.
This family totally loves one another. There is very little drama, and no question about how much mama June loves her four daughters. If you can understand Sugar Bear with his mouth full of dip, you would know he feels the exact same. While their show has been green lighted for a second season, the group still continues to live their regular lives in the tiny county of McIntyre, Georgia. June is doing everything she can to make sure that fame affecting her family is not an option.
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A Gawker article gives a more intimate look at the family dynamic. Yes, they love going to the mall and shopping at Wal-Mart. Cheddars is fine dining. The family is often approached by fans, which is alright by June who says, "I like meeting new people. We like socializing."
June won't even entertain the idea that the show will change her family. She has refused to hire a manager because she doesn't want to book gigs that would take her away from her daughters. As for the money that they are surely raking in, it all goes in a trust for the girls, save for what they spent on a new car and four-wheeler. The family continues to live off of Sugar Bear's chalk mining paycheck. June isn't oblivious to the fact that all this hoopla could end at any time. She says, "Reality TV don't last more than three years. People have a good run for about three years. Some people fizzle out within a couple of weeks. We've had about 10 weeks and if it stays for the next three years, great."
The family explains that most of what we see is exactly what they'd be doing if cameras weren't around. When the producers wanted to film a family dinner, we got the ketchup and butter concoction that the everyone ate out of old Country Crock tubs. When the producers wanted Sugar Bear to take the family out, they went to the barbeque restaurant he where he would normally treat them to dinner. The "Whose Breath" game was a staged family activity, but only after Jessica joked about how gross it would be.
"Our life isn't scripted like other reality shows," shares June. "Yeah, there are some things we've done that we wouldn't normally do, like, that day, but it's pretty much our lives. Honestly."
The show filmed Wednesday through Sunday in the summer for about eight hours a day. June is wary of the media, which isn't odd given that they have dragged up skeletons in the Shannon-Thompson closet. The oldest daughter Anna confirms that she was raised by her grandmother, and basically only returned home to film the show. June references home "security issues" saying, "The network took care of it before it got anywhere," and citing that the family has a 24/7 bodyguard who takes the girls to and from school.
As to whether the family is going to be bombarded over something as simple as a trip to Macon Mall, June flippantly states, "It doesn't matter where the f*ck we go. They may or may not. If they do, they do."
The sisters are mixed on their new found celebrity. Twelve-year-old Pumpkin acts out the most, and she reveals, "There's one girl in all of my classes, and if I do anything, like if I drop my pencil, she's like, 'Stop acting stupid like you do on the TV show.'"
Chubs, on the other hand, hasn't had any issues with classmates, saying, "Everybody thinks it's cool that they're friends with a celebrity."
June also describes the praise she's heard from fans as "They're real, they spend time with their family, she loves to do things with her kids," and she admits, "I wouldn't call us extraordinary, [but] we're awesome to ourselves."
June recognizes that many critics think the family is embarrassing themselves–as if these people could ever be embarrassed! June says, "I don't feel like I should be embarrassed about anything. I didn't say I am representing Southerners. I'm not representing people in Georgia. I didn't even say I was representing people in our county. I'm just representing our family. People will say, 'You're white trash.' Whatever. You don't even know me. But it is what it is. You've got critics. You've got people who love you and people who hate you."
The family knows that people are laughing at them, but they are in on the joke. June shares, "We're laughing at our asses, too."
In the event that anyone thinks this family is being taken advantage of, think again. June sees all the episodes before they air, and she is able to pick and choose what is shown on TLC. While some may argue that she gets final say over her family's image and she shows us these gag worthy shenanigans, I would have to say, she got us talking, didn't she?
And we're not the only ones talking, Dance Mom's Abby Lee Miller had some recent choice words for the youngest family member, pageant queen Alana. Abby tells TMZ, "[Alana] needs to get in shape. She needs to be at a dance studio. She needs to be training. She needs to work on her turnout." Oh Abby, way to keep it classy!
TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JUNE'S FAMILY? WERE YOU SHOCKED TO LEARN THAT THEY AREN'T SPENDING UP A STORM? COMMENTS ABOUT ABBY TALKING SMACK ABOUT A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD'S WEIGHT?
[Photo Credit: TLC]