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Why 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' makes me sad

I am not a TV snob. I’m not the person who has ever said, “Ugh, I’ve canceled my cable because everything on TV is such trash.” Nor am I the parent who says, “I limit my kids TV” or “My kids only watch movies that I’ve pre-approved,” or anything that remotely resembles good parental screen-time limiting.

Nope, I am the person who watches everything, from Mad Men and 30 Rock, to So You Think You Can Dance and Top Chef, to tabloid talk shows I’m too ashamed to name — though I only watch them while I wash the dinner dishes.

I love TV. I love it as entertainment. I love it as an escape. And yes, I’ll even admit to loving it as a babysitter once in a while.

Having said all of that, I have to say that I am horrified by the previews for the new TLC reality show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which is a spin-off of TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras.

Full disclosure: I have never seen Toddlers and Tiaras. I don’t know a lot about the colorful cast of characters. My impression, which is admittedly based on very little, is that watching it would make me feel very sad.

Because that’s how I feel when I watch all of the commercials and previews for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which premieres tonight.

Sad.

Let me be clear, I don’t feel sad because I feel morally or intellectually superior to these people (well, maybe I do, just a little). I feel sad because these parents, June and Sugar Bear (yup, that’s the Dad), are knowingly throwing themselves — and more importantly, their four young daughters — to a pack of hungry, vicious wolves named Society that is going to crucify them.

Whether the show is entertaining or not, a hit or a dud, they are all going to be called names — names far worse than their family-given nicknames of Pumpkin, Chubbs, Chickadee, and of course, Honey Boo Boo. They’re going to be called stupid. They’re going to be called trash. And that’s sad, because they are just kids.

Their parents should know better. Although that may just be expecting too much from the woman who believed that feeding her six-year old “Go Go Juice” (a combination of Red Bull and Mountain Dew) before a pageant was a good idea.

What is interesting is that as far as I can tell, this is actually a family that loves each other very much. They spend time together (jumping into mud pits is one form of recreation) and they make each other laugh. It’s probably safe to say that June, while uninformed about basic nutrition and hygiene issues (“Hold on, I’m scratching my bugs.” Really? A lice joke?) actually loves her daughters.

Yet, she is voluntarily going to put them in front of a firing squad — a TV audience that is going to spend way more time laughing at them than with them. And that just makes me feel sad. (And itchy. After that lice joke, I felt really itchy.)

But for all I know, we’ll all be surprised and everyone will fall in love with the whole lot of them and not have a bad word to say. What do you think? Are you maintaining cautious optimism about the show?

Krissy Mac has three kids ages 6, 3 1/2, and 1 1/2. If she did a tequila shot for every time she said “No,” “Stop” or “Why isn’t anyone listening to me?” she’d be one happy lady. Instead, she spends her days trying to avoid meltdowns — her own. She writes about the completely uncontrolled chaos that is her life at www.whoneedsanap.me.

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