From ‘Good Times’ To ‘Honey Boo Boo’: Who Is Poor On TV?
National Public Radio, August 5, 2014

Like it or not, television has the power to shape our perceptions of the world. So what do sitcoms, dramas and reality TV say about poor people?

In life and on TV, “poor” is relative. Take breakfast: For Honey Boo Boo’s family, it’s microwaved sausage and pancake sandwiches; for children in The Wire’s Baltimore ghetto, it’s a juice box and a bag of chips before school; and on Good Times, set in the Chicago projects back in the 1970s, it was a healthier choice: oatmeal.

“If you’re poor, it goes a long way — and it’s pretty cheap,” laughs Bern Nadette Stanis, who played Thelma Evans on Good Times.