By Curt Wagner
6:01 PM CDT, August 7, 2012
I kind of hoped 6-year-old Alana Johnson's 15 minutes of fame were up after she became a sensation for her appearances on "Toddlers & Tiaras," TLC's reality show about the train wreck known as child beauty pageants.
My hopes, however, have been dashed. Why? Because "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (9 p.m. Wednesday, TLC; 1 star).
That's right, TLC has given the "go-go" juice-swilling camera hog a six-part series of her own, and while watching the premiere I sat, slack-jawed and scratching my head, wondering why TLC wants so badly to hold this little girl and her family up for ridicule.
The spin-off's premiere follows Alana without the sequins, eye makeup and age-inappropriate costumes she wears at the "glam" pageants. She and "Mama June" are joined by chalk-miner dad "Sugar Bear" and Alana's sisters: 12-year-old Lauryn "Pumpkin," 15-year-old Jessica "Chubbs" and 17-year-old Anna "Chickadee." ("She's pregnant," Alana tells us.)
We see the family in their natural rural McIntyre, Ga., habitat, where they do fun things like belly flopping in mud pits, picking up road kill for grilling and bobbing for pig's feet.
They get serious, however, when Alana enters a smaller pageant to practice for a bigger one. That's when we see her transformation into Honey Boo Boo, as when she says, whipping her head from side to side with attitude, "Ain't nobody going to take home that trophy but me, honey boo boo, child."
But what happens when she doesn't? She breaks down in tears. It makes you wonder what all this exploitation will do to her in the long run. I also questioned June's motives for putting so much time, energy and money into the pageants. Then I realized June is the Coupon Queen from TLC's "Extreme Couponing."
Seems to me she's desperate to stay in the spotlight, um, if you can call what she's been in a spotlight. Either way, all I can say to that is, "Honey, bye-bye."
Before "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" premieres at 9 p.m., she appears in an all-new "Toddlers & Tiaras" at 8 p.m. on TLC. Below you'll find video clips from both shows, and a recap of Alana's past, um, glory.
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