Guilty Television Pleasures: Amy Silverman's Defense of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
It's almost the weekend, which means you'll have plenty of time to catch up on the shows you diligently recorded, queued, and bookmarked throughout the week. In celebration of the television you'll be watching (and maybe lying about later), we're introducing a short series of guilty pleasures on the small screen. Today, Amy Silverman, New Times' managing editor defends, one of her favorite shows, TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
I quit eating candy corn last month. Then I went cold turkey on Honey Boo Boo.
It was way harder to give up Honey Boo Boo. I had no choice: Candy corn taunts me from the aisles at Walgreens and Safeway but when the first season of TLC's (arguably) raunchiest reality show yet ended, that was it.
Against all odds, this show about a (very) small town Georgia family's antics has gotten under my skin, and several weeks in, I 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.
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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 horrified by 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.
Still, 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.
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.
Particularly since that means there will be another season for me to watch.
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