I Survived Honey Boo Boo

Samantha Parish

David Schmitt

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.

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9 Responses to “I Survived Honey Boo Boo”

  1. egrose on February 7th, 2013 4:54 pm

    It’s honestly so sad to see how children are exploited by their parents and pretty much brainwashed into participating in a huge number of beauty pageants. Not only are make-up, heels, fake, nails, and teeth whiteners not meant for five year olds, but beauty pageants send the message to children that superficial beauty is the most important quality for one to have. And I can’t believe that that woman makes her child drink Red Bull every morning; that should be against the law.

  2. sparish on February 7th, 2013 8:37 pm

    Honey Boo Boo really is quite terrible, just like Toddlers and Tiaras. But worse. I’ve never been able to sit through an entire episode of it. I commend you on your ability to write an entire review on it.

  3. josephrabinovitsj on February 8th, 2013 12:13 am

    Since I had first heard of Honey Boo Boo, I was immediately abhorred. However, I could never bring myself to actually watch an episode, or for that matter, part of an episode. Thank you, David, for confirming my conviction of the absolute vileness of this television show.

  4. ewebb on February 8th, 2013 12:35 pm

    I think something that people should also know is that even though the family is receiving $50,000 per episode, the mom is making sure that all of it is going into college funds for her children.

    David Schmitt Reply:

    Thank you, and duly noted. However, I still don’t agree with the family’s treatment of Honey Boo Boo, regardless of what the proceeds fund.

  5. Tyler Finn on February 12th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Why on earth do you subject yourself to these horrible shows!!! Although if you’re looking for something that will compete with the train wreck that is Honey Boo Boo, you have to take a look at Dance Moms. I can’t even watch it because my blood pressure rises so much I might have a heart attack.

    David Schmitt Reply:

    You’ve set yourself up perfectly to join me next time, Tyler

    jacob.pfau@gmail.com Reply:

    speaking of next time, I hear South Korea has an e-sports channel. You should check it out.

    amacfarlane Reply:

    Speaking of speaking of next time: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/12/2012-year-in-review-25-worst-tv-shows/anger-management#galleryS