Say what you will about the kiddie pageant industry, TLC’s jaw-dropper reality hit “Toddlers & Tiaras” has still produced some of the most amusing tots on TV, few more so than 6-year-old rural Georgia resident Alana Thompson, a highly quotable, Kewpie-faced cutup who famously renamed herself “Honey Boo Boo Child” in one of the show’s most talked about episodes.
Thompson’s antics — combined with the plain-spoken parenting style of her mother, June Shannon — made her an overnight YouTube sensation. And now Honey Boo Boo’s coming back to TV in her own TLC docu-series, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” The show, which premieres Wednesday, Aug. 8, follows the daily lives of the rambunctious pageant queen, her mom, dad “Sugar Bear,” and her three sisters, including Anna, a 17-year-old expectant mom.
Though Shannon suffered enormous backlash for fueling Alana up pre-pageant with “go-go juice,” a homemade concoction of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, her unabashed delight in the girl’s fourth-place finish — amid a sea of mothers demanding only top titles — was endearing. And that, says Shannon, is the familial devotion at the heart of “Honey Boo Boo.”
“There’s going to be people who love Alana, and there’s going to be people who don’t agree with what Alana is doing,” Shannon explains. “We respect both sides, but I just wanted to make it clear to everybody we are a wholesome family. We are a family that sticks together, and I think that once the show premieres America will see that.”
So while Alana’s firecracker personality will still be very much on display, the go-go juice has been retired (“That was a one-time-only thing,” Shannon says), and she is relishing being a normal little kid – albeit one with a camera crew hanging out at home.
“I look at Alana as a 6-year-old child, bottom line,” Shannon says. “I don’t look at her as a celebrity. This is kind of like a dream to me — like I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be for real. But we’re having fun. And when Alana says it’s not fun anymore, then we don’t do it anymore.”