I’m not embarrassed. I can’t wait for Wednesday nights when I watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on TLC at 10 p.m. I’m not into reality shows, but this one transcends the genre. The show is so earnest. Dare I call it informative and enlightening? It’s just a bunch—6 to be exact—of boisterous, creative and heavy rednecks who are trying to beat the heat in McIntyre, Georgia. Did you see their homemade slip-n-slide put together with an old tarp, a garden hose and some cooking oil? That was brilliant. Catsup-and-butter ‘sketti’? I just can’t find the words.
June, 32, is the coupon-happy, Glitz-pageant-loving momma to four girls including the show’s eponymous star, Alana, 6. The others are teenagers, and Anna, 17, also known as Chickadee, is supposed to have that baby on this week’s episode. (Update: She did, and it had two thumbs!) Mike, er, Sugar Bear is June’s partner of 8 years, and Alana’s father. His job is to go along with whatever the girls dream up while smiling and grunting with a some chew stuck to the side of his lip. The family is poor—their house is small and has a train track running through the yard—–but they’re refreshingly happy and functional, obesity aside. There’s big love between them. They must be tight, or how else could they have a blind-folded, breath-smelling contest?
I realize Alana is a pint-sized, Georgia pageant queen. TLC plucked her from their other reality show, Toddlers and Tiaras. But she dresses up and practices with such enthusiasm that it’s hard not to cheer for her even when she looks like a plump Jonbenet Ramsey. The only thing I don’t understand is how this family affords those formal dresses, wigs and fees for their state’s crazy pageant scene. Before this show—TLC only paid them $40,000 for the current season—their only income came from Sugar Bear’s job at the chalk mine. June is currently negotiating their fee for Honey Boo Boo’s second season. I love her, and I hope she gets what she needs. She needs money to fix her forklift foot. I hear the family will show up on TV soon for the HOLLAdays.
These people remind me of my uncle who played his banjo with his three kids in a trailer when I was growing up. Only he drank and cussed too much—along with my crazy aunt. June represents my uncle’s family only sweeter. She’s shedding light on how millions of people really live, and she doesn’t seem to care about peoples’ judgments; I know my family doesn’t. It’s okay to laugh with and at Honey Boo Boo’s family. They’re funny, and they’re in on the joke. They’re not as dumb as they act because I think they’re pulling the fast one on their audience. (Or at least on the Republican National Convention, which they pummeled in the ratings.)
Do you watch the show? Would you let your kids watch? (One friend on Facebook told me, “Never ever.”) I let my kindergartener and first graders see the episode where Alana tells how babies are made. See the clip above. My children giggled about what pops out of a woman’s ‘biscuit’ for days. Lesson learned. If they love Honey Boo Boo that much, they can watch the reruns when they’re like 10.
And to all the haters: Just go ahead and do it. Redneckognize.