I wouldn’t have bothered checking out Here Comes Honey Boo Boo if it wasn’t for watching a clip of Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, and Sam Rockwell do a dramatic reading of scenes from Honey Boo Boo while promoting Seven Psychopaths (which is awesome and totally worth checking out along with In Bruges). As soon as I heard Walken say “vajiggle jaggle” and “beautimous” and Colin Farrell read the lines of someone called “Chubbs” I just had to check out what sounded like – and is – a total redneck monstrosity.
The star of the show Alana, aka Honey Boo Boo, appeared on another TLC show about pageantry called Toddlers and Tiaras. She’s a six year old pageant regular who comes from a family of proud rednecks. The show basically ridicules her obese mother, slow father (who clearly works very hard and loves his family), pregnant 17 year old sister and lastly her two boisterous slightly overweight ruffian sisters. In a way the show is quite mean-spirited as they focus on every grotty aspect they can such as not cutting away from Mama June sneezing and swatting away gnats. The addition of subtitles is a bit farfetched to as it is pretty easy to understand what they are saying. For all their flaws they are a pretty loving family who seem pretty happy with the way they live their lives.
Alana’s pageantry is almost secondary in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. What TLC presents is what they probably see as disgusting white trash antics. There’s redneck games, mud boggin’, dumpster diving, coupon-ing, going to auctions for junk food, etc and in between this you’ll see Alana get fitted for a dress and attend a pageant. I don’t know what fans of pageants will think of this show because Alana is no Jean Benet. She’s crude, she’s chubby, loud and obnoxious, but she’s adorable when she is done up and has a real charm about her and all the crudeness just drops away.
I suppose I was meant to come away from the show being disgusted by this family and while the idea of ‘sketti’ and roadkill does appall me, and I cringe whenever Mama June sneezes repetitively they seem to be a well adjusted family who love and care for each other and I am not here to judge anybody for what they do with their children or how they choose to live their lives.
Is it a car crash? Is it exploitation? Is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo really what is wrong with America? It really depends on your world view. To me the Kardashians are a far more vile and repugnant family than the cast of HCHBB. We are far too quick to judge and love to look down on other people for being ugly, poor, white trash or fat; then we flip the channel and we’re envious of money, fame and beauty. From redneck hillbillies to hoity-toity rich folk, the lengths people go to for fame be they rich or poor are equally as bad and because of that I think shows like this really do have a value about them. Does Moma June exploit her kid? does the Kardashian mother exploit hers? Who is the least tasteless and crass? The fat chick sneezing who has a happy but simple life or the dragon dressed in Armani who is so consumed by money she can’t enjoy the fruits of it? Sure reality shows will never be on par with Italian Neo-Realism but they don’t belong in the garbage bin either.
I’ve watched it once and I won’t watch it again but I don’t think it is a show to be avoided. Recommended for reality tv fans who love quirky characters but a warning you might need to have a strong stomach if bodily functions and abnormalities gross you out.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo [Season One] is available on R4 DVD from Magna Home Entertainment.