A new TLC show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo debuts tonight, and Hank Steuver at the Washington Post finds himself "powerless to look away." The main reason is 6-year-old Alana Thompson, aka Honey Boo Boo, a beauty pageant contestant from rural Georgia who all but stole the show in TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras. Her family ("We are not rednecks!") plays a prominent role, including her 309-pound mom, June, who practices the art of extreme couponing and gives her daughter copious amounts of "go-go juice," a mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew.
The show is "horrifying and yet strangely sweet," writes Steuver. And don't be fooled: It's "about seemingly dumb people who are in fact quite smart," especially Boo Boo herself. Don't bother watching the show with either condescension or outrage, advises Steuver. "Instead, bafflement is a good resting spot; a guilty-pleasure glee works even better." As for that go-go juice: BuzzFeed notes that Alana's mom is starting to get criticism for it. Click here for that, or read Steuver's full column here. (Read more TLC stories.)