TLC's new spin-off of Toddlers & Tiaras' breakout star, Alana "Honey Boo Boo Child" Thompson, begins with the six-year-old-child farting at the camera. The promos featured the word "redneck" prominently. Most people who were familiar with the little girl had heard her utter the phrase "A dolla makes me holla!" That is to say: We were warned.
After watching the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo premiere, I was left with many questions, a lifetime's worth of material for our Tumblr and most importantly, the desire to watch the next episode. To say Honey Boo Boo's pilot episode is a success is subjective, and in an attempt to cover the three simultaneous viewing experiences I had watching the Georgian Thompson family, I present to you the three entirely different shows I saw last night. It's up to you to decide which narrative you'd like to follow -- and if it's none of the above, you'd be in good company, too.
In what is essentially Idiocracy realized, Honey Boo Boo revolves around an obese family living in a stockpiled bunker, where they spend their days binging on junk food, body shaming each other and pressuring their youngest child to perform in degrading and emotionally devastating contests in which she learns at a young age that other females -- nay, people -- are her enemies. Abandoning basic human hygiene, the English language and, frankly, elementary science, mother June teaches her daughters that personal health is not a priority, while a silent, defeated father lingers in the background. June, who has internalized her self-hatred, runs a household where children grow anxious about money, and where the most her daughters can aspire to be are champions at literally drowning themselves in raw pig feet and throwing themselves into mud. Desperate, the young women long to jump in a lake with known flesh-eating bacteria just to escape. This is how the world ends/Not with a bang but three bellies.
Though the Thompsons are a dysfunctional group, they are representative of a certain kind of American family -- and not necessarily a terrible portrait, either. Matriarch June and father "Sugar Bear" spend a great deal of time with their daughters, encouraging themselves to embrace their uniqueness, social norms be damned. Celebrating the strong culture of the American South, self-proclaimed rednecks are represented as fun-loving, generally harmless people. Rather than feeling disgraced by their glaring health issues and educational shortcomings, they laugh at themselves and live an easy-going lifestyle with the background of socio-economic despair. The fact that every family is obese is especially demonstrative of our country, and rather than glamorizing fat culture, Honey Boo Boo explores what it means to live a life as an overweight American, where health is so poorly taught in classrooms that teenagers believe farting 12-15 times a day signifies a effective diet and lifestyle, and aids weight loss... but taking things seriously and somberly won't make dropping pounds any easier.
Look, if you hate this series, don't watch it. If you enjoy Toddlers & Tiaras (and there are many reasons to like it, which I've talked about at length before) and were disappointed by the lack of a storyline or general watchability in Eden's World, then Honey Boo Boo is fun. It's at times horrifying, yes, but June and Alana are captivating, and there aren't too many people on TV quite like them. I think "beautimous" is going to be a part of my vocabulary from here on out, and if watching a little girl giggle while covered in mud is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.
What are people saying about your favorite shows and stars right now? Find out with Talk Without Pity, the social media site for real TV fans. See Tweets and Facebook comments in real time and add your own -- all without leaving TWoP. Join the conversation now!
MOST RECENT POSTS