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"The Theriot Family: The Riot in the Bayou” Review: I Suck Head and Pinch Tail

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | February 28, 2011 |

By Adrienne Saia Isaac | TV | February 28, 2011 |

Tell me you’ve seen this fucking show. Tell me you’ve seen it and it’s making you as irrationally angry as it’s making me. Tell me that I’m not crazy and it also makes you want to disavow the bottom half of America.

All the positive PR that Louisiana got in the wake of Katrina has been all but destroyed by this family of backwoods cretins. From the Confederate flag posted proudly in the son’s room to the legitimization of domestic violence and underage drinking to holding wrestling matches in horse shit, this show is one clusterfuck of epic, redneck motherfucking proportions.

“The Theriot Family: The Riot in the Bayou” is listed under the True Life series on my Comcast menu, but I can’t believe that this is conceived in the same vein as the rest of the True Life series. I love that show for the issues it covers (everything from drug addiction to albinism) and the captivating way that it’s edited. This show, however, wants to be “Jersey Shore” so badly it hurts, and it fails in every aspect: the location sucks and the people are even more disgusting.

The show focuses on a Louisiana family, the Theriots: Momma Tiff (the mace-wielding enabler); Dad (the formerly drug-addicted domestic abuser); the slutty oldest daughter; the shit-covered cowboy son; the insecure youngest daughter; and April, the drunken 17-year-old middle child whose narration drives the show. She claims to be a virgin and thinks her older sister is a horrible role model for giving it up to her dirtbag ex-boyfriend. The eldest slutbag indeed is not a good role model, but neither is the booty-shaking and burping April. There’s nothing special about them other than the fact they’re willing to drink, fuck and have their Confederate flags and asinine behavior filmed for television. Granted, they’re not really different than the rest of the families or groups of strangers picked to live in a house (at least none of them got peed on — in this episode, anyway — like a certain Kardashian sister who is now mindbogglingly famous). The only significant difference? Two of the “stars” are under 18. This is unusually disturbing.

It’s one thing to drink underage, but it’s another to film it, broadcast it to millions, and have your parents condone it on tape. Everyone freaked the hell out over adults on “Jersey Shore” and “The Real World” getting shitcanned on camera — but these are kids. Am I bothered by this because they’re young? Or is it because this family represents everything I dislike about America? They’re crude, overweight, unabashedly white trash, skanky as hell, and absolutely unapologetic about all of it. I’m all about self-confidence, but I’m also a proponent of having some modicum of self-respect. There’s a difference between capturing something (legitimate documentary) and glorifying it (MTV). You could argue that the family unconditionally loves one other and that it’s refreshing to see a happy family, but my family loves each other too (dysfunctional as we are) and we’re not glorifying the Confederacy nor am I shaking my barely-legal tits and fucking in a barn on television to prove how close I am to my family or how much I love my life.

It’s not my intention to piss off a lot of Southerners. Unfortunately, these are the people chosen to represent an entire region. Stereotypes exist for a reason; they’re often highlighted and perpetuated by a select few and the most outrageous examples remain embedded in the collective memory of popular culture. Case in point: not all Italians behave like the “Jersey Shore” cast, but the actual Jersey shore can be skanky, juiced, gelled and liquored as hell. But this show just confounds. It’s bizarre to watch and makes me glad I don’t have the fame whore complex that consumes an ever-growing number of Americans. It’s desperate. Pathetic. And the worst part? It’s not even compelling television.

(Full episode video)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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