Honey Boo Boo Makes Me Want To Cry


Over the long holiday weekend I happened to catch an episode (or maybe two) of the TLC series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Maybe you’ve heard about this controversial new show that features one of the breakout stars from Toddlers & Tiaras (which I’m happy to say I’ve never watched, or at least not an entire episode).

Starring 6-year-old Alana (nicknamed Honey Boo Boo), the reality show chronicles the family’s prepping for these scary child beauty pageants, along with the day-to-day activities of Mama June, Sugar Bear (the dad) and their other three daughters in McIntyre, Georgia (including a 17-year-old who is pregnant). Let’s just say, it’s all rather horrifying. But the show is a big hit. It’s TLC’s top-rated show — more popular than the hoarding show (which is similarly hard to watch, yet hard to look away when it’s on). Here Comes Honey Boo Boo even beat the Republican National Convention in ratings.

There’s been a lot written about the new show, from USA Today and LA Times to Gawker and The Hollywood Reporter, which called the show awful and soul-crushing:

At some point, awful is just awful instead of entertaining. And isn’t it about time TLC was held accountable for making the world a worse place?

There are lots of things that make this show awful (even if it’s hard not to be a rubber-necker and watch in horror). But what really horrified me the most is how they eat and the way they talk to each other about their weight (one daughter is nicknamed Chubbs). Mama June is a self-described “coupon queen,” but she spends her money on junk. They went to an auction to save money on food (so they could buy the $1,000+ pageant dresses for Honey Boo Boo), but they came home with cookies and chips (but such a good deal!). One episode had them talking about going on a “diet,” but it seemed to mean just taking away the cheeseballs (that one daughter was eating off the floor). There are lots of packaged, processed foods lined up on shelves, but I never saw anything that resembled a vegetable. Nothing fresh. Not sure if they ever cook.

The mom is passing on her poor eating habits to her kids and it’s really tragic. But what’s extremely sad to me is what the mom gives Honey Boo Boo before she performs in her pageants– it’s her “go-go juice” that’s a mixture of Red Bull and Mountain Dew. Here’s the result of this go-go juice, and it’s just a crime…

Have you seen Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Or will you admit it? There are lots of issues with the show — and the behaviors of this family (even if they do have a lot of fun and the show makes you laugh). But it’s the nutrition behaviors that I find so disturbing. How about you?

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  • So sad that people do this to their children!! There is so much wrong with this that I could discuss, but I’ll limit myself to two. If Alana’s mom thinks that there is no harm in giving Alana a sweetened concoction made from Red Bull and Mt. Dew, she is wrong. Energy drinks have been know to kill young people. Watching Alana acting “jacked-up” on her “go-go juice” reminded me of how young girls who are abducted and sold into prostitution slavery are drugged. In this clip we get fleeting glimpses of Alana disliking the whole thing. Thanks for bringing my attention to this Janet. I will make sure to never watch this program!That seems to be the only way that I can show my displeasure.

    One more thing, what a sad comment on our country that more people watched Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo than the RNC!

  • I watched a bit of it last night after reading your post. Giving a kid Go Go Juice seems borderline abusive. Maybe there’s an opportunity for a spinoff show in which the whole clan gets a dietary makeover with all the nutrition support, counseling, and cooking classes (along with a blank check to the farmer’s market) they need to rehab their eating habits.

  • Hello,

    I’ve watched both the Toddlers and Tiara and the Honey Boo Boo shows out of pure curiosity. I was aware of the ‘go-go juice’ and the sugar overload snacks (Pixie Stixs) given to the toddlers from the Toddlers and Tiara show so when Mama June ‘opened up’ about her use of the ‘go-go juice’ I was not surprised…rather, I expected nothing less.

    I also saw one Boo Boo episode where she buys 30+ cake mixes with the coupons for a baby shower and several boxes of Splenda ‘because someone at the party was a diabetic’.

    I think that it is easy to criticize the way people live and raise their children and I won’t do that here. It’s not necessary because the lack of nutrition the family possesses is evident from the lifestyles and body forms they have become. However, I do believe there may be some lessons to learn from this show for anyone who struggles with finding good nutritional balance in their lives.

    There may be a little bit of ‘Honey Boo Boo’ in many Americans who may see themselves and may wish to make some changes. That may be wishful thinking but I can only surmise that this show couldn’t hold out long enough based on its ‘entertainment value’ alone.

    I won’t watch the show again. I wasn’t thrilled with the way ‘Glitzy’ the piglet was left on the family table, which no one seems to eat from anyway (probably a good thing since the piglet defecated on the table).

    The show depicts a family obviously ill-educated on nutritional eating habits. I’m guessing an episode will be forthcoming with some kind of nutritional intervention. Sadly, then the show may not be so popular viewers.

    Great post! Thank you.

    Janine Gregor
    Virtual Assistant to Dietitians

  • All the other drama aside, I’m saddened by this family’s eating habits. Not because they’re “bad” per se, but because eating predominantly fatty, processed foods greatly increases the kids’ risk of developing devastating diseases–like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer–down the road.

    I’m guessing that when their babies were little, Mama June and Sugar Bear didn’t put them in the car without strapping them into car seats–because for all their foibles, I imagine they want to be good parents. So why would they risk their children’s health nutritionally? And why is our society not discussing this?

  • Haley

    I am a Registered Dietitian based in Atlanta, Georgia and I emailed the show and asked if I could help Honey Boo Boo become healthier either behind the scenes or on the show. I haven’t gotten a response back. Childhood obesity begins at her age or before and it’s so important to start now with healthy eating an exercise in order to slow her weight gain as she continues to grow. Growth is on her side, but we can’t say the same about her family environment.

  • Wow—simply horrifying. Setting aside the enforced sugar highs brought on by go-go juice, I was most troubled by the way Alana is encouraged to flash her little belly in order to highlight her “individuality.”

  • This is horrific on so many levels. What a truly dysfunctional family.

  • RAW17

    I like them.

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