Back in 2012, Honey Boo Boo became a household name after the TLC show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” premiered on TV. The reality show revolved around Alana Thompson, a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo, and her relationship with her family as she deals with being a beauty pageant child. Not only did the show seem to be mocking this poor Southern family, but it also made the treatment of Alana feel incredibly exploitative and inappropriate for a child.
The fact that the show was constantly trying to make fun of Honey Boo Boo’s plus-sized body was awful, and the way this little girl had so much confidence in the face of such shaming just made you feel angrier at these ridiculous TV producers. Thankfully, a new age of body positivity has been heralded in, making these shows obsolete.
All in the Family
Anyone who wasn’t born in the 90s will know who Archie Bunker is – the iconic patriarch of Norman Lear’s Emmy-award-winning show, “All in the Family.” Premiering in 1971, the show ran for nine whole seasons, and although it does deserve praise for dealing with some sensitive topics back in the day, the show had some serious issues.
Firstly, what made Archie’s character funny back then was the fact that he was a loudmouthed, ignorant bigot who basically defended every stereotype to ever exist. His wife was a sweet lady but not exactly whip-smart, a fact that Archie constantly pointed out by calling her a ‘dingbat.’ The show also let the characters voice outright racist comments that would never be allowed on television today.
The Dukes of Hazzard
‘Good ol’ boys’ Bo and Luke Duke were always trying to be the Robing Hoods of their rural community in Hazzard County, but somehow always ran into trouble. Aired in 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” could have passed as a light-hearted, albeit somewhat outdated, show if it weren’t for the extremely controversial confederate flag atop their iconic Dodge Charger.
It may have passed muster back in the day, but even in 2015, they had to pull reruns off the air because of harsh criticism. A symbol of such racial intolerance would never be allowed on TV today, and it never should have.
Created as a spin-off of “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” aired in 1975, and it almost immediately became an enduring pop culture symbol. From the famous theme song “Movin’ on Up,” to its beloved characters, this show was groundbreaking in the sense that it portrayed a hard-working, very successful African-American family that moves to Manhattan.
The only problem was that the head of the Jefferson family, George Jefferson, could sometimes be as bigoted and rude as Archie Bunker himself. Being a show from the mid-70s meant there was a lot more leeway given to certain offensive and even racist remarks since they could be passed as comedy. Try to watch the series nowadays, though, and you’ll find several episodes quite controversial.
Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People
It’s no wonder that with a title like that, this show only made it through six episodes. “Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People” aired in 2003, and it basically consisted of a gross judgment of a person’s looks in the most shameful way possible.
The judges, who apparently were the yardstick of beauty and included Lorenzo Lamas (the soap opera actor from “Falcon Crest”), would use a laser pointer to highlight the woman or man contestant on that particular episode. It was heavily criticized back in the early 2000s, so imagine what would happen if something this offensive were to air today.