PEOPLE's TV Critic: My Apology to Honey Boo Boo
07/16/2013 AT 02:00 PM EDT
When Here Comes Honey Boo Boo debuted on TLC last summer, I thought the sky was falling and that civilization was ending. The show seemed to expose viewers to a new low in what passes for American life on TV – I never got over that local swimming hole with the warning sign about flesh-eating bacteria – and at the same time I thought it exploited you, your Mama June and your siblings.
I thought it was especially condescending, and insulting, for the show's producers to supply subtitles translating your dialogue, even though your family's Southern accents are admittedly jowl-shakingly thick.
But here we are a year later, with season 2 starting Wednesday, and I redneckognize (as you'd say) that you meant and did no harm. All the Boo-hating was a big to-boo about nothing. For instance ...
Is your show responsible for the fact that 90 percent of all TV is now about serial killers?
Is it your fault that a great sitcom like the now-dead Happy Endings enjoyed a viewership of 6.5 households?
Was it your idea to kill off Cousin Matthew with such a stupidly arbitrary car crash on hoighty-toity Downton Abbey?
Are you accountable for NSA spying? IRS profiling?
You are just a little girl doing your best to be a beauty queen, TV star and dutiful daughter to the surprisingly levelheaded June.
And so I welcome the new season, even though the "Watch 'n' Sniff" premiere emphasizes flatulence. More than usual.
But it also allows us to share in many innocent pleasures – such as the Dukes of Hazzard-themed birthday for papa Sugar Bear. How you and the girls shriek when the Daisy Duke piñata explodes in a shower of candy!
And where I once might have been disgusted that a family would make pork and beans from a roadkill pig, as you do in the season premiere, this is actually "green." Or so I believe.
May heaven bless you, Boo Boo. Although I can still give you only 2.5 stars.