Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In Defense of Honey Boo Boo

posted Monday September 24th, 2012

I quit eating candy corn last week.  This week, I’m going cold turkey on Honey Boo Boo.

I have a feeling it’s going to be tougher to give up my new favorite reality show. And that’s saying a lot, because I really love candy corn. But against all odds, TLC’s show about a (very) small town Georgia family’s antics has gotten under my skin, and I’ve decided to stop fighting it. There may not be any nutritional value in a bag of Autumn Mix (those aren’t real pumpkins, folks) but I’ve come to believe there’s redeeming value in TV’s most cringeworthy show, and I’m not afraid to say it.

I love Honey Boo Boo. Here’s why.

First, if you haven’t actually watched the show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, do us both a favor and move along. You have to suffer through at least one full epsiode to get it — or at least argue about it. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all, or at least hunks of each, and I’ve got most of them DVR’d, so come on over.

If you watch reality TV all, you know there’s no rhyme or reason as to which shows you like. I love Cake Boss — but DC Cupcakes drives me nuts. I can’t watch the little people shows, but I’m obsessed with those conjoined twins. I am afraid to watch any of the housewives — terrified of immediate addiction — and terrifed of that show where all the women leave town for entirely different reasons.

My all-time favorite is Project Runway, but I turned off Craft Wars after the first 10 minutes. Hey, it’s a matter of taste. Plus, Tim Gunn versus Tori Spelling? No contest.

I had no intention of watching  Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I am not a fan of Toddlers & Tiaras (although I do love Dance Moms) and didn’t know anything about this kid or her family when I happened to walk by the TV one night just as one of the kids stopped on Channel 42 on the cable box.

We were all horrified. Disgusted, freaked out. Shrieking at the TV. These people are gross — they fart and burp and rub their dirty feet on each other. And I can’t stop watching. “It’s a train wreck!” everyone says. “You just can’t look away!”

But it’s more than that.  This is a family. There’s a lot of dysfunction in this country (have you sat through an entire episode of Hoarders?) and these people certainly have their fair share. There is no debating the poor nutritional choices “Mama” makes for herself and her kids; and as much as I like a good thrifting experience, the epsiode where they visit the dump (which they call the department store) and one of the daughters gets wrapped in a dirty mattress was one of the sickest things I’ve ever seen. And one can only hope that “Sugar Bear” takes some of that money from TLC and gets to a dentist, stat.

But this is a family. “You can’t deny she loves her kids,” a dear friend (who shall remain nameless — you’re welcome, dear friend) said the other day, explaining why she, too, can’t stop watching. Yes, it was a little excessive when 4-year-old Alana (a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) and her sisters toilet papered the entire house using the giant supply Mama’s amassed by extreme couponing, but it was sweet, too, particularly when the parents got home from an anniversary date and instead of getting mad, cracked up. Then everyone cleaned up the mess together. You don’t get more wholesome than that. And a lot of families could take a lesson from it.

I have to admit that Honey Boo Boo’s family reminds me just a little bit of my own. No, we don’t have contests in which we sniff each other’s breath, and we don’t throw our spaghetti against the wall then eat it (not on national TV, anyway) but we have been known to point out one another’s bodily eruptions and one Christmas someone in our family did make a dessert out of an angel food cake and red Jell-O that would have fit right in on Mama’s dining room table (if she had one). And the kids have had some Slip ‘n Slide adventures in the back yard that were straight ouf of rural Georgia. Let he who is without gas cast the first stone, I say.

Frankly, we could all use a little more Honey Boo Boo, because best of all, the members of that family can laugh at themselves. Now, they may not be laughing after watching how some of that footage was edited (I really doubt that woman actually farted during the taping of the intro to the show) but I hope they get the money they ask for and chuckle all the way to the bank.

So the other day when Sophie asked me to curl her hair, then admitted it was because she figured if she looked glamorous, they might ask her to be on Honey Boo Boo, I was horrified at first. And then I just laughed.

I’ll be sorry to see the season end on Wednesday. But I will not be whipping up a batch of  go go juice for the occasion.

Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get updates!
Tags: Filed under: culture by Amysilverman

8 Responses to “In Defense of Honey Boo Boo”

  1. Let me know when you have a marathon…;-)

  2. i watched one episode after you mentioned it on facebook…I can see how it can suck viewers in. Kudos to you for seeing the good in the family, because I am pretty sure that was not the message TLC intended!

    I found it cringe worthy because I felt in a way it was taking advantage of people that I am just not sure really realize how they are being portrayed to the American public.

  3. They have nothing on my family from So Cal. We used to have water balloon fights with condoms in the house. Hoses were also in the mix and the place got totally soaked but my parents never knew a thing. Amazing how dry stuff can be when you turn the heat up to about 100.

  4. I LOVE this post and couldn’t agree more with your sentiments! I too watched in horror and then was won over by the family’s love for each other. A while back, Kris Kardashian (she’s the mom, right?!) came out and said what wretched family the “Honey Boo Boo’s” are. Shameful, right?! So I was immediately won over by the fact his reality show “mom” felt so threatened by such a tight-knit, albeit uncouth family. That’s why I’ll keep watching! :)

  5. I was sooo relieved to read this post! I thought I was the only one who felt the same way about Honey Boo Boo. I see the family the way you do….flawed, but loving and supportive of each other. Mama cracks me up, and I enjoy watching their self proclaimed ‘redneck’ antics. They are definitely “real” and I’ll take that over Kardashian “fake” any day!

  6. heather — i totally agree with you, i think the editors/producers should be ashamed of themselves, they took every cheap shot in the book…. the kind of editing i do is different, of course (words, not TV) but it’s so clear they were holding the camera on these folks extra-long, hoping for burps and farts and worse. now, they got them, and i have a feeling the family thinks the whole thing is funny — at least i hope so — but really, it is gratutious and sad. that said, i will admit that it was while shrieking with laughter at that kind of thing that i realized that what i love about the show isn’t that crap — it’s the love the family has. corny as it sounds!

  7. Amy, i stumbled upon your great 2008 piece on “This American Life” and then found your blog. :-) Just wanted to say your daughters are beautiful!

  8. Never seen Honey Boo Boo so the salient part of this post for me was the fact that you quit eating candy corn. I’m appalled.

Leave a Reply

My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


All content ©Amy Silverman | Site design & integration by New Amsterdam Consulting