Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: It’s Not As Bad As You Think

As the newest member of the Mommyish staff, I agreed to take one for the team and subject myself to the latest reality TV trainwreck that is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I assumed that after watching this show I was going to need to take some very long scalding water showers or pour bleach in my eyes but to be honest with you, I’ve seen a lot of worse reality TV. For those of you unfamiliar with Honey Boo Boo and her family, you can quick watch this video which will basically tell you everything you need to know about Alana (aka Honey Boo Boo).

The family is comprised of Alana Thompson, a finger-snapping, eye-rolling 6-year-old wannabee pageant queen, her mother June, June’s “baby daddy” Mike (Sugar Bear) , a chalk miner who works all week, and her sisters 12-year-old Pumpkin (Lauryn) 15-year-old Chubbs (Jessica) and 17-year-old pregnant Anna (Chickadee). The family resides in rural Georgia, in a dilapidated tract house with a yard full of brown grass and overgrown weeds. A train passes through next to the house. Their furniture is threadbare and cheap, the beige carpeting stained with “cheezeballs” and who knows what else. Mama June feeds little Alana a horrifying concoction of pixie sticks, Red Bull and Mountain Dew to sustain Honey Boo Boo’s energy levels through pageant performances. She buys day old “fat cakes” at a local auction, participates in extreme couponing which she declares is “better than sex” and pauses during episode two to tell the interviewer “Hold on, I gotta scratch my bugs.” They participate in a local “Redneck festival” where they bob for pig’s feet, pass gas at almost every opportunity, and the program runs with subtitles in English because at times it’s difficult to understand their mush-mouthed dialect. The Thompson family is trashy.

I was prepared for some good old fashioned moral outrage upon viewing this show, but other than the child beauty pageants I found myself thinking that these people don’t seem that bad. They are loud, they laugh almost constantly, the girls all seem to mind Mama June and there are some very sweet moments in the show:  Alana declaring that if her new pet teacup pig is gay then “‘It can if it wants to. You can’t tell that pig what to do,” June stating she is proud of pregnant 17-year-old Chickadee finishing school because she herself had two babies by the time she was 17 and only received her GED, June kissing Alana’s crestfallen face after she loses yet another pageant.

It’s a stark contrast to the wealth and shallowness of the Kardashians or The Housewives. Even though I can’t fully relate to the Thompson family, or June Thompson and her goal to one day have Alana be Miss America, I don’t hate these people. It’s as contrived as any other reality show, and yes, I found myself wanting to walk into their living room with a ton of cleaning products and a new life plan for Honey Boo Boo that involves her one day going to law school instead of perfecting her finger snapping head swivel, but I can’t help but sort of root for them.

There is a lot to be judge-y about the Thompson family. You could dump a whole lot of fat-shaming, slut-shaming, “white trash” shaming, poor shaming on them. And I’m sure some people will. But at the end of the day they are just a family, who seems to care a whole lot about each other and are enjoying the life they have made for themselves. And there’s no shame in that.

(Photo: The TLC channel)

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  • A. Levy

    I’m not trying to be a grammar nazi, but I’m unclear. Does Alana live with her sisters (plural), or does she live with her niece, her sister’s (possessive) 12-year-old Pumpkin (Lauryn)? I could watch the show to find out, but that’s just not going to happen.

    • Eve Vawter

      Thank you! I fixed it. I think this maybe illustrates that watching this show rotted my brain :(

  • Jen

    This is the most refreshing thing I have read on the internet in a very long time. Well said.

    • Eve Vawter

      awww, thanks, are you watching it?

  • Véronique Houde

    What a great article :) I’m happy that someone took the time to find something so refreshing to say about a show that everyone can’t help but roll their eyes at ;)

    • Eve Vawter

      I was all ready for some hardcore eye rolling but after watching it … I think the Thompson family is a lot like other families in the US. I can’t dig the beauty pageant stuff but that is probably the worst of it (so far!)

  • Melanie

    This is a nice article. I think these tv stations and programs put these families on for that very reason: to incite shaming and basically so they can be made fun of and gossiped about. It’s sad, but most people take the bait. If we didn’t there would be no market for these shows and the world would be a better place.

    • Eve Vawter

      Oh yeah, because reality TV is so much more inexpensive to produce than scripted TV. and especially when the family obviously has economic disadvantages it’s pretty terrible. I really hope that they are taking advantage of TLC and making a lot of money off the show, because reading all the reviews, ugh, people are being awfully mean and it’s a six year old girl! Yipes! She doesn’t really understand that her shtick is creepy or wrong, it’s sort of awful. I’m just happy it seems like the family is happy.

  • hifihigh

    This is a really nice article, and I wholeheartedly agree. I normally detest reality tv; I never watch Real Housewives or anything having to do with the Kardashians because I can’t even handle those people.
    I am guilty of watching Toddlers and Tiaras though occasionally, and I decided to check out this show as well, even though I was convinced it was going to be another rage inducing introduction to everything that’s wrong with society (really, like Toddlers and Tiaras is…I don’t know why/how I endure that show). I was pleasantly surprised like yourself! I like how unaffected they all are; they seem like really genuine people.
    I like what you said about not being able to relate to them, but not hating them, or even judging them for that matter (because I was totally prepared to, at the very least, condemn them for being fame whoring, child pageant-pimping attention seekers, which they don’t come across to me somehow).

    • Eve Vawter

      I think the child pageant pimping comes along later in the season :( haha. I mean, yeah, I don’t really understand a lot about these people. They are hard to relate to especially when you see what Boo Boo eats for breakfast. But they just don’t seem like EVIL nasty cruel people, ya know? I have never watched T&T… Or Dance Moms. But mayyyybe I should!

  • debby

    you waste time on this garbage , its doesn’t say much about you , or does it ? you don’t teach a child to ack like this . oh yeah don’t forget how proud they are for their 14 year old pregant daughter ! shame on you for showing and supporting this crap !

    • Eve Vawter

      The pregnant daughter is 17. And yeah, I really don’t like the idea of ANY girl pregnant at 17, but this happens, in a lot of families. So what do you suggest the mom does? Throw her daughter out for being pregnant?

    • Véronique Houde

      well, cranky pants got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?? Debby, why do you feel the need to insult someone based on the blog article that she was made to write? You take all that is positive and open-minded and turn it into a judge-fest. I don’t think that it’s right for you to say what someone should and shouldn’t support, especially in that way.

    • Eve Vawter

      I just wanna know how I teach a child to ack :(

    • Véronique Houde


  • Lize Du Plessis

    No, no, it’s bad! Really bad! I’m appalled!

    • Eve Vawter

      Why do YOU find it bad though? (Thank you guys for talking about it with me! I don’t feel so alone now, haha!)

  • Eileen

    This was my exact reaction! The family’s a little different from mine, for sure (a daughter who calls her father “Sugar Bear”? A boyfriend who gives his girlfriend a bronze deer as an anniversary gift because they like to eat roadkill? A woman who’s going to be a grandmother at only 32?), but they seem like kind, hard-working, law-abiding people who care about each other, so who am I to judge them?

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  • Sara

    Okay, so I have to admit that I read this article the first time around with copious eye-rolling and muttering (not literally, but you know what I mean). But I’m actually watching the show right now for the first time, and I completely see your point. No, I can’t get behind the child beauty pageants, and I don’t find anything to admire in the family’s lack of (and complete disregard for) education, but they’re obviously a close and loving family, and there’s a lot to admire in the way that they relate to one another. I think as far as reality TV families go, there are far, far worse out there.

  • lisacuddy

    I love this article, oh and i love Alana and the whole Thompson family. They really love each other and they are so laid back, it’s really refreshing to watch them. Alana is such a cutie pie, my heart melts everytime i see her. I am rooting for them as well.