By Alyssa Goldman, EnStars | Sep 13, 2012 03:10 PM EDT
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Seven-year-old Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson is not only the center of attention - she's the center of controversy.
The second-grader, who previously appeared on the TLC show "Toddlers & Tiaras," now stars in the show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" along with her mother June Shannon and their family.
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Two to three million weekly viewers laugh-out-loud to her outrageous catchphrases - "A dolla makes me holla!" and "You better redneckognize!" - however, residents of McIntyre, Ga., do not find the town's portrayal to be a laughing matter.
Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce President Jonathan Jackson said to The Associated Press that the show portrays the area unfairly - choosing to fixate on the town's unappealing qualities such as focusing the cameras on junk cars, garbage dumps and stray animals.
"You can't very well ask and expect a television network to possess tact and taste - unless it makes them a dollar," he said.
According to 2010 Census numbers (via the AP), McIntyre is a town within a rural county whose population is around 650 with nearly 40 percent of the families making an income that puts them below the poverty level. Main Street is only three blocks long and features a few businesses.
The AP reporter asked more than two dozen locals how they felt about the series. An overwhelming majority responded that, for better or worse, it has "put McIntyre on the map."
Many confessed that they watch and enjoy the show; however, most don't believe it represents the way majority of the people in the area live.
"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 resident who works as a tax preparer.
Anita McGahee, owner of a flower and gift shop near the family's home, dubbed the Thompson family as "simple, country people."
"It bothers me a little that people might think that that's what everyone here is like," McGahee said, though she is an avid viewer of the show. "It's like we all don't have any manners."
The town's residents who had strong negative opinions of the family did not share their names with the AP because it is such a tight-knit community
But Shannon knows not everybody in her town is a "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" fan.
"It's small town living," she said. "I don't have any trouble with anybody here or whatever, but people are going to have opinions. I mean, that's everyday life."
A scene from NCIS season 11 episode 10, "Devil's Triad."
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