I remember a much simpler time when TLC was all about stories. There was A Makeover Story (fun fact: The Office's Angela Kinsey and her friend from an improv group were once on it before she became famous), A Dating Story, A Wedding Story, and (the only one still left) A Baby Story. Sure, it was a really long time ago, but The Learning Channel didn't used to be all about scary pageant moms, wedding dress salons, and Gypsy Sisters getting kicked out of hot pink stretch limos and tanning with motor oil. The only thing I learn from the network these days is how to make Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's sketti. I must add that my boyfriend Clinton Kelly calls TLC home, so he's bringing the class.
Now TLC is just ninety minutes up the coast from where I reside, in what may be South Carolina's version of the Jersey Shore. That's right! The Learning Channel has landed in Myrtle Beach, or "The Dirtle" as many call it. Don't get me wrong, Myrtle Beach is all kinds of fun and has a little of everything. It's like a tiny Vegas with a Planet Hollywood, a Hard Rock Cafe, and a giant shopping/restaurant/bar/music venue that spans city blocks and includes everything from Medieval Times to a mini Grand Ol' Opry that features singers who look just like actual country stars. Add in the helicopter tours and a shop on every corner that sells over priced beach towels, shark tooth necklaces, and hermit crabs, and you've got a little slice of heaven in the Palmetto State. Don't take my word for it–you can now see for yourself on TLC's new series Welcome to Myrtle Manor. Joking aside, I have friends from Myrtle Beach who are none too thrilled at the idea that this show is potentially mocking their hometown.
You have to love what constitutes a star these days…especially in the eyes of ABC execs when they are casting Dancing with the Stars. You can't really blame them though…whenLindsay Lohan turns down the show, it may be time to call it quits.
As always, rumors are swirling about who may foxtrotting across the ballroom. Some of the names being tossed around are more believable than others, and some would be pure television gold if the gossip proves to be true. Likewise, the speculation is often more exciting than the dancing itself. ABC's Bachelorette darling Emily Maynard's name has been thrown into the mix, as well as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo matriarch June Shannon. How amazing would that be?
There is nothing like the Shannon Thompson crew sporting tacky Christmas sweaters for yet another Here Comes Honey Boo Boo holiday special. It's a tad depressing to be watching all the Christmas preparations almost two months after the fact, but I am sure I will soon be thanking my lucky stars that I didn't spend my Christmas being sneezed on by any member of this family!
The episode begins with the June, Sugar Bear, Uncle Poodle and the girls decorating for Christmas and preparing for the crew's annual canned food and toy drive. I must commend them for their charity work. Last year, they were able to help 108 families in need, and this year June's goal is to raise $10,000 in donations. Sugar Bear is in charge of decorating the yard with countless light up plastic candy canes and nativity scenes, and I'm sure there will be some giant inflatable snow globes in the mix…a girl can dream at least. In the days leading up until Christmas, the family will spend their evenings standing in the overly decorated yard with Sugar Bear dressed up as Santa. Folks will come from miles around to see the debacle and donate items to the charity. They locate the plastic baby Jesus in the shed, but alas, his toes have been chewed off by some animal. I can barely get the phrase "forklift foot" out of my mouth before Chubbs steals my thunder.
Some of the decorations have seen better days, but June refuses to throw anything away. She attempts to fix a light-up white tree to no avail, declaring it the "Leaning Tree of Pisa." Alana shares that her mother is a hoarder and is also "bat poop crazy" when it comes to Christmas decorations. Hey, at least she said "poop," right? June is quite the handy woman with a roll of duct tape. Alana stays out of the way…singing a lullaby to the plastic baby Jesus before sneezing on him. I knew it was coming! I have to give it to June, she goes all out with the decorations, and she takes a lot of pride in their yard as it shows their Christmas spirit.
Love them or hate them, the Shannon Thompson family has catapulted to international stardom for nothing more than being their normal, everyday selves. Sure, the majority of people think that their normal, everyday selves are unhealthy and a bit gross, but nonetheless, they truly seem to love and accept one another.
Now the crew from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is facing some sad news, but something tells me the family is going to pull through it even stronger. Sugar Bear's brother and Alana Thompson's beloved Uncle Poodle, Lee Thompson, has just announced that he is HIV positive. In an interview Poodle explains that he wants to use his diagnosis as a platform to put an end to bullying.
I would like to personally thank whoever at TLC had the briliant idea to put June Shannon, Sugar Bear, and family into Pilgrim garb for the opening sequence of their Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Thanksgiving special. It was amazing.
We begin the special in the hospital, where Mama June and Sugar Bear are talking to a groggy Pumpkin. Unfortunately, the key catching incident from Halloween was worse than they originally thought, and Pumpkin had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina. Poor girl! Sugar Bear plays the doting father figure (seriously, how sweet a guy is he?), while June plays with her daughter's belly fat. A drugged up Pumpkin just slurs her disdain. Back at home, Pumpkin is on strict bed rest, so June gives her a metal bowl and spoon to bang if she needs assistance. They are like a family of fat McGyvers!
TRAIN! Alana is working on a project for school about the first Thanksgiving. She knows there were turkeys and that the Indians Native Americans ended up getting screwed over with a crappy meal and some casinos. She also knows that the Pilgrims came over on the Mayship the Flowership the Mayflower. According to Chubbs, this happened in 1942 (near the time of Pearl Harbor) when Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. Close, Chubbs. Very close. The first Thanksgiving meal was held at the Piedmont. Wait, no. Kribbet's Rot. Make that Plymouth Rock. I'm getting much dumber by watching these two minutes of television, but it is totally worth it. And TRAIN…twice!
This was a good week for our favorite reality shows! It seems that everyone is getting back into the swing of 2013, and with a routine comes our favorite old habits…watching some of the most fantastically trashy television series known to man.
Pick on June Shannon and her family all you want, but you have to hand it to this reality TV mom for having a good financial head on her shoulders.
June has said in the past that she won't change the way her family lives just because they're earning good money on reality TV. June is frugal and wise, knowing that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo won't last forever, so she saves every cent she can. The celebrity mama is squirreling away all that TLC money for her daughters' futures.