It’s become a standard line of questioning for TV talk shows: What do you think of Honey Boo Boo?
Suddenly, everybody’s talking about the Georgia 7-year-old who took cable TV by storm this past summer with her TLC reality series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Now, it’s practically expected that, no matter who the guest, he or she will be asked about Honey Boo Boo on talk shows ranging from late-night to afternoons.
The little girl – whose real name is Alana Thompson and who first captivated viewers on TLC’s kiddie-pageant series “Toddlers & Tiaras” – is the kind of pop-culture figure who’s an easy target for celebrities and their p.r. reps when it comes time to negotiate talking points with bookers and segment producers on the talk shows.
All a host has to do is ask, “What do you think of Honey Boo Boo?” Or, “Do you watch ‘Honey Boo Boo’?” And the guest goes off and running with an opinion on the precocious tyke who has already developed a series of repeatable catchphrases, including: “You better red-neck-ognize!” and “Dollar makes me holler!” She’s also known for guzzling a caffeinated concoction her mother calls “go-go juice” – a potent (and controversial) mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull that boosts Alana’s pageant performances.
On the talk shows, some celebs have proven to be true fans. They’re the ones capable of reciting minute details from the TLC series, whose first, and so far only, season consisted of 10 episodes stretched over eight weeks (from Aug. 8 through Sept. 26) with titles such as “Gonna Be a Glitz Pig,” “I’m Sassified” and “Time for Sketti!” (“spaghetti” in the language of Honey Boo Boo).
The conversation Chelsea Handler had with guest Miley Cyrus was typical of the Honey Boo Boo discussions cropping up all over the place these days.
“Now, I know you’re a huge, huge – we talked about this – a huge Honey Boo Boo fan,” Chelsea said to Miley.
“Oh my God,” replied Miley, who was promoting her then-upcoming guest appearance on Thursday’s episode of “Two and a Half Men” on CBS. “Since you saw me last, I put a home theater in my house, and then it wasn’t quite loud enough so we got sub-woofers so I can really hear [Honey Boo Boo] extra loud. So when I hear her go, ‘Holler for a dollar,’ it’s like the whole house shakes!”
The “Hannah Montana” star then described a particular episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” in which Honey Boo Boo and her mother, June, went shopping for pageant wigs.
Meanwhile, on “Katie” this past Wednesday, the guest commenting on Honey Boo Boo was none other than Bill O’Reilly of Fox News Channel. Couric asked him about Honey Boo Boo as part of this segment she does called “The Name Game,” where she asks guests to give their impressions of various celebrities. When Couric mentioned Honey Boo Boo, O’Reilly said of the 7-year-old, “I don’t like to see kids in the public eye at that age.”
We suspected that O’Reilly wasn’t really familiar with Honey Boo Boo or her show. That was not the case with Joel McHale, star of “The Soup” on E! and “Community” on NBC who talked about Honey Boo Boo with Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
The subject came up early in their interview when Kimmel mentioned that Honey Boo Boo was sitting in McHale’s chair just a day earlier, when she and Mama June appeared on “JKL” in their first-ever late-night appearance. (Among other highlights, Honey Boo Boo “endorsed” President Obama for re-election.)
“It’s like having Bono here, but split in two!” McHale said of Boo Boo and her mom. He then gave a detailed recitation of one of the episodes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” in which the family was given a dead deer, which they then ate for dinner.
“I didn’t know you had an encyclopedic knowledge of every moment of the show,” Kimmel commented.
“I want to move in with them!” McHale said.
Not every celebrity is a fan of Honey Boo Boo though. The subject came up this week on NBC’s “Today Show” after the show aired a report on Honey Boo Boo’s whereabouts and antics this week as she and her mother made a series of media appearances in Los Angeles.
After the report aired, “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie asked her colleagues what they thought of Honey Boo Boo. “Nothing good can come out of asking my thoughts on this,” said Matt Lauer, dismissively.
Al Roker was also noncommittal. Said he, “I’m just going to take another hit of the go-go juice!”
“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” aired Wednesday nights at 10/9c on TLC, where it emerged as a surprise hit with an average of 2.5-3 million viewers per episode.