Feature: I Survived Honey Boo Boo

Photo Credit: Samantha Parish

Due to copyright issues, we need to use an approximation of Honey Boo Boo, this is what we came up with.

There’s a thick (I’d even venture to call it fat) line between funny stupidity and stupid stupidity. And I’m easily amused by stupidity; even Jersey Shore reruns tend to rouse at least one chuckle from some boneheaded comment or action.
Yet, the Learning Channel’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” could not pull from me even a simple grin.

For those who are unfamiliar, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is a spinoff of another show, “Toddlers in Tiaras”, which tracks the child beauty pageant scene. The eponymous character, Alana “Honey Boo Boo”  Thompson, is a 6 year old driven to a life of pageantry by her, for lack of a better description, redneck family from rural Georgia.

As mentioned earlier, the show airs on the Learning Channel, so one might expect to find it fairly educational. Sure enough, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” taught me valuable lessons in how not to parent. The first word that comes to mind when analyzing the relationship between Honey Boo Boo and her mother is exploitation. The child has been, in essence, brainwashed into believing that beauty pageants are life. This fixation from the family is highly detrimental to Honey Boo Boo’s health, as, among other near-atrocities, her mother has her drink “Go-Go Juice” a sippy-cup filled with Mountain Dew and Red Bull Energy Drink, almost every morning. The caffeine intake, coupled with whatever else is in Red Bull (which is illegal to consume under age 18 in some states), cannot be good for that child. It’s easy (albeit horribly distasteful) to joke about abuse like this, but nearly impossible to laugh at the actuality.

So “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” fails as a comedy. Can it succeed as a reality show about the life of pageant families, or even just this particular family, which is riddled with obese members? To put it gently, absolutely not. Outside of the pageantry, there is no drama; everyone in the family seems ok with their existing personal conditions as overweight non-contributors to society (perhaps because the family makes an estimated $50,000 per episode, so they see no reason for change). While everyone, mainly the women, strive to make Honey Boo Boo the most beautiful she can be (though not in the most constructive of ways), they seem to neglect themselves and their own personal images. While this could somehow be conceived as selfless parenting, it instead comes across as an obsession with winning pageants, and, rather than creating a strong parent-child relationship, objectifies Honey Boo Boo more than anything else.

I restarted the “I Survived” series in hopes of finding diamonds in the rough of television. “Honey Boo Boo” is beyond rough, it’s downright painful to watch. Perhaps the disastrous nature of the show is what compels people to watch; but I can see no positives. If “Honey Boo Boo” is the future of reality television, perhaps we need a reality check.