When "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: A Very Boo Christmas" arrived for me to review, I was truly ecstatic. The show was one of the few series' I'd classify a guilty pleasure. From the infamous "sketti" episode of the show's early days, to the more recent offerings, where, truthfully the appeal had begun to wear thin quickly, I couldn't help but look away. Sometimes the term "train wreck TV" is used to describe something so awful, you know you shouldn't watch, but you feel compelled to anyway. If ever a modern "reality" show deserved such a moniker, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" wore theirs proudly. A cultural and socioeconomic foil to the equally vapid, but perhaps less moral and civil, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" encapsulated not just the nail in the coffin for any case being made for TLC's origins as The Learning Channel, but a sad reminder that Hollywood can exploit any situation into a living sitcom.
Since receiving the DVD and watching it, the "Honey Boo Boo" empire has crumbled. Overworked father, Sugar Bear and extreme couponer, Mama June called it quits after Sugar Bear was found trolling dating sites. If the crumbling of a outwardly dysfunctional, but still seemingly happy and loving family weren't heartbreaking enough, things got much worse. Without going into graphic details, June was revealed by the media to be dating a convicted child molester. The child molester, as the story unfolded, was not just some random sleaze off the street, but in fact an ex-boyfriend whose conviction stemmed from the rape of June's oldest daughter. Although the initial reaction was to play this off as a misunderstanding, two of June's daughters both confirmed to the (tabloid) media, that June was actively dating the man.
Sit back. Let that all sink in for a moment. Needless to say, my snarky commentary on the two episodes contained in this release are no longer appropriate. I personally feel ashamed for allowing myself to get caught up TLC's exploitation of a family whose private history is now known to have already involved exploitation of a much more sinister quality. All I will say is there are elements in the two episodes provided, one the advertised Christmas special, the other a "best-of," to show that foul language, lack of manners, and the appearance of living in semi-squalor aside, the family followed by TLC did care for one another and that caring did extend to those less fortunate than themselves, as evidenced by the whole plot of the Christmas episode focusing on raising money and toys for charity.
Some may make the argument that one shouldn't feel bad for watching in the past, but the fact remains that I do. Only in hindsight does the extent of exploitation from all angles become evident. Many others and I laughed at the show for reveling in stereotypical ignorance. Perhaps the only solace can come from knowing, that it's a public fact, the money the family earned from the show had been put into trusts for all the daughters. Yet, that doesn't reconcile the fact that one of the shows key players, chose to bring back into the lives of her daughters, a man that victimized two of them. Only in the wake of the cancellation of the series, does the ultimate sick unspoken punch line arrive: the dysfunction was real and even as the cameras are shuttered, the exploitation looks to continue. I honestly wish I could wipe all memory of such trash TV from my mind, but I can't and I don't deserve to.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is more than serviceable. A low production value show, colors are generally natural, but lighting differences can make the overall image inconsistent. Detail is firmly average and there are some noticeable digital artifacts.
The Dolby Digital English stereo audio track is what one would expect from a reality TV/documentary style program. Interview segments are clean and clear, while actual dialogue can be muddled, not only from the family's failure to enunciate but poorly placed microphones.
There was a brief time I found the train wreck element of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" entertaining. Now that the sad, disgusting truth has come out, let us only have empathy for the children caught in this mess. Skip It.