“Honey Boo Boo” Alana Thompson and Mama June Shannon appeared on The Tonight Show last week, where the 9-year-old taught Jimmy Fallon a cheer and refused him a friendship bracelet. But, according to one audience member, the footage left on the cutting room floor actually showed “a tiny, dimpled monster.”
In a new post forSalon, writer Christy O’Shoney said she was horrified by the scene at last Wednesday’s filming.
“The Alana I saw on The Tonight Show set was visibly troubled: disrespectful, defiant, entitled,” she said of Jimmy’s lengthy interview with Alana, which was later cut down for broadcast. “Of course, with a bit of editing, ‘disrespectful’ becomes ‘precocious,’ ‘defiant’ becomes ‘sassy,’ and ‘entitled’ becomes ‘confident.'”
Among the troublesome things she observed at the filming were Alana’s “hostile” attitude toward Jimmy, Mama June coaching her daughter’s every move and — worst of all — when Alana actually hit her mom.
She became so fed up that she actually struck Mama June. Up until this point, Fallon had been doing a great job of navigating Alana’s weird behavior, but it was at this moment when he became positively awesome. ‘NEVER hit your mother!’ he exclaimed, in a voice that was serious with just a hint of a joke, and the studio audience erupted in applause. Finally, we thought, someone is addressing this child’s attitude… But really, it’s television, so instead of getting a timeout for hitting her mom, Alana was handed pompoms and asked to lead the audience in a cheer. We reluctantly played along for Jimmy’s sake, but it felt strange, like we were giving her some kind of reward for her behavior.
Despite having worked in live television before, Christy said the experience made her rethink everything shown on reality shows.
“It made me wonder how much of Alana’s life is itself left on the cutting-room floor,” she said. “Where do the producers of Toddlers & Tiaras or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo have to draw the line? There must come a point where they say: This is not good TV, it’s just sad. Let’s cut it.”
Christy also wondered about the toll that a hectic reality filming schedule has taken on Alana, who first appeared on TV when she was six.
“Surely, she watches the fictional version of herself on television, and like any child, she is able to suspend her disbelief and imagine that she really is the spritely cutie on the screen,” Christy said. “The truth is, she’s growing up, about to enter puberty, one of the most confusing periods of human existence.”