August 15, 2012 12:45 PM

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo gets its second airing Wednesday night (10 p.m. ET) on TLC, and already I’ve absorbed interesting life lessons – what life lesson isn’t? – from this bizarre breakout hit about a 6-year-old beauty-pageant contestant and her crass, jolly family in rural Georgia.

“Crass” and “jolly” are loose approximations. This is a show that features a mother flatulating in the opening credits.

1. “Redneck” can be used as the root for new words.
For instance, “redneckonize” – as in: “You better redneckonize.” I think this means “to show respect for and/or recognize redneck culture and behavior,” but the term emerged too late to make it into the new Merriam-Webster, so we’ll have to wait for a clarification. Or how about “Redneckaissance” (noun), the cultural period that began with the premiere of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

2. Your muffin top is your friend.
There is no reason in the presence of cameras not to grab the flab around your naval and squeeze it so that your stomach “talks” like a ventriloquist’s dummy. (Or tummy.) Little Alana Thompson, whose nickname is Honey Boo Boo Child, likes to do this. The only requirement is a slight chunkiness or baby fat. In other words, Bethenny Frankel would be rendered speechless.

3. “Etiquette classes are for stupid people.”
Honey Boo Boo Child said that, and it just rings true.

4. He who hesitates will be – well, just don’t hesitate.
If it’s hot as a firecracker outside, and you’re near a pond and inclined to take a dip, don’t worry about the large biohazard sign that warns about flesh-eating bacteria in the water. Similarly, if there’s a huge puddle of mud, go ahead and belly flop into it. And if you have the opportunity to stick your head into a tub of water filled with raw pig’s feet – go for it. As a general rule, if you are in any proximity to an unhealthy body of liquid, dive in. You can always wash your hair later in the sink.

Alana Thompson and her mom

5. Be yourself, even to excess. Especially to excess.
Honey Boo Boo and her family clearly understand what’s going on here: Expected to be so outrageous they practically seem foreign to viewers, they’re just a reality update on the profoundly hayseed tradition of Green Acres or Jim Varney’s Ernest P. Worrell. In exchange, they get to become stars. Which is a much greater accomplishment than the rhinestone pageant crown that Honey Boo Boo wants so badly.

Watching the show again after an intensely adverse reaction to the pilot, I began to feel that at least the Thompsons seem sincere on camera, untroubled (even happy?) at letting it all hang out.

“All hang out” is another loose approximation.

If the show seems exploitative, it nonetheless has a kinder heart than the Real Housewives, with all their crabbed misery and blingy wealth.

Better to play in the mud than sob in the penthouse. Am I right?

You May Like