Will "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" give America its newest gay icon?
The unlikely TLC hit about free-spirited grade-school beauty contestant Alana Thompson and her Georgia family may next make a star of "Uncle Poodle," whose real name is Lee Thompson and is the openly gay brother of Alana's father Sugar Bear.
In a recent interview, Lee Thompson revealed he is HIV-positive and wants to use his new-found fame to serve as a role model.
"I want to have my own television show and highlight what it is like being gay in the South," Thompson told the online site Fenuxe. "I think I have a good story to tell."
Producers are still weighing whether to make Uncle Poodle's HIV revelation a plot point in "Honey Boo Boo," according to a source close to the production.
"Honey Boo Boo" has provoked a range of viewer reactions, often ridicule and disgust. The Hollywood Reporter called the show a "horrifying" example of "exploitation" for its depiction of redneck culture. Jodie Foster name-checked the show during her Golden Globes speech last Sunday.
But the gay community has already embraced the show, in large part because of the Thompson family's open attitude toward Uncle Poodle's sexual orientation. On Wednesday, the advocacy group GLAAD gave "Honey Boo Boo" a nomination for its Media Awards.
What do you think of "Honey Boo Boo" and Uncle Poodle?