So this was the week Honey Boo Boo, real name Alana - who was named checked by President Barack Obama during his candidacy - finally belly flopped (quite literally at one point during the 'redneck games') onto our screens. The show has been a hit in the US with some episodes gaining upwards of three million viewers, so new TV channel TLC was banking heavily on this addition to its UK scheduling.
From the start the show, full title 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo', seems warm and friendly as it introduces us to Alana, her mother June Shannon, her father Mike Thompson and three older sisters nicknamed Pumpkin, Chickadee and Chubbs. Humorously the family began the first episode by declaring that they definitely were not rednecks before promptly heading off to the 'redneck games' which seemed to be less Olympics and more mud and alcohol.
As the first episode progressed you began to get a feel for the very different and rather captivating dynamic where June, a relatively young mother at 32, seems more best friend than mum to the three girls as they joke about diets. Like everything in the show, their diet is as outrageous as you'd expect it to be - farting.
One of the striking features of the show is the way in which 'Mama June' runs the finances. Whether it's reminding the children the value of each sweet in a jar or carefully buying food at auction she turns a very tight discipline to the family finances whilst also clearly making sure the family doesn't go without and Alana can participate in her pageants.
When the first pageant itself comes about you find yourself very much rooting for Alana and feel a sense of disappointment when she doesn't win and we watch her and her mother's genuine upset at her loss. A moment which shows how much her daughters pageanting means to her comes about in the second episode where June not only buys her a pig, called Glitzy of course, to help her get over losing but also organises etiquette lessons for her.
'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' is filled with good natured humour and makes you feel a genuine warmth towards what is clearly a close family who care deeply about one another's lives and achievements.Some argue it's exploitative television, others argue the children seem to have an unhealthy lifestyle. I'd argue it shows you a mother who loves her children and is teaching them some very good values. Plus it brings us words like 'smexy'!