It's kind of weird that a 7-year-old is the butt of every joke in America right now.
Alana, or Honey Boo Boo, as she is also known, is a vibrant, quirky, loudmouthed elementary schooler who, thanks to her big personality on TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras, ended up as an internet meme and landed her family a TV show. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a Kardashian-type program with very un-Kardashian-like stars. It's full of a ton of sass and enough potty humor to please the foulest Brit. And though, sure, it lets us peep into the lives of a rural Georgian family, it also gives us the delight of experiencing Honey Boo Boo herself.
Alana is like a drag queen reincarnated into a cherubic Southern child. She offers fantastically web-friendly one-liners and pretty accurate commentary on the affairs that surround her without any judgment.
In one scene, they introduce the little wannabe beauty queen to the stunning and composed Miss Georgia. Honey Boo Boo passes gas at the table to the horror of her host. Later, they tape Alana saying: "Miss Georgia 2011. She is very pretty. And I don't think she farts." She doesn't deliver the line nastily, rather neutrally. Though Miss Georgia spends the episode snarling and cringing at the little girl (it's edited, of course), Honey Boo Boo don't let it bother her none.
She and her mom embody a preternatural confidence rare in women. People might find this surprising since they're both overweight, a "problem" that keeps many a girl up at night. Her sisters seem less pleased to be on the show. The middle two are goofy but mired in adolescent discontent. The oldest, 17-year-old new mom Anna "Chickadee," who apparently wasn't raised only by her mom
(who had her at 15), looks miserable about 100 percent of the time but is the most traditionally attractive and the thinnest.
They're not your typical "American family" except that they eat shitty food and have babies too young, and a stepdad of sorts. They don't give a shit what you really think about them. Just the thing that attracts us to the Kardashians, the candid big vibes of snide-talking females, is present in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
There's something so refreshing about seeing a child on TV who is an actual child. Alana plays with her belly fat like kids do; she wanders around, wide-eyed, saying the craziest things she either heard from her mom or on television; she weeps when she loses. Though she's competed in beauty pageants, she's hardly your typical little pageant diva. She's more like a RuPaul's Drag Race diva.
They participate, on one episode, in the Redneck Games, which mom June compares to the Olympics but with "a lot of missing teeth and a lot of butt cracks showing." One daughter bobs for pigs feet, which, June worries, are uncooked. She jokes dramatically, "She's a natural... a natural fucking disaster!" Clearly, Alana got the 'tude from mama bear.
The Honey Boo Boo clan are, well, country folk. Father to Alana "Sugar Bear" supposedly works in a chalk mine (this is according to Wikipedia
; we're talking about a reality show here) to support the crew. But they seem to be blessed with all of the things a family needs, including a house, about a thousands rolls of toilet paper (thanks to mom's coupon fetish), and birthday parties. Who knows how much of this is staged or if little Alana is fed all of her delightful lines. Also, who cares?
This is good, heartwarming television. It makes you feel good not because you're laughing at these "white trash" people but because these are characters great writers wish they could create. They're right here, without actual scripts, barefoot in a convenience store, making funny faces into a camera for ten minutes, and happily naming themselves "Honey Boo Boo Child."
Honey Boo Boo is a human, and no laughing matter.
Catch the finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tonight, Wednesday, September 26, on TLC.