PEOPLE's TV Critic: My Apology to Honey Boo Boo

07/16/2013 at 02:00 PM EDT

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: PEOPLE's TV Critic on the New Season
Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson
Gene Young/Splash News Online
Dear Honey Boo Boo Child:

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?

No.



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.



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