Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has become more than just a reality television show. It has become an important slice of modern American culture. Within each episode, there are many complex themes and hidden Easter eggs. This recap is intended to decipher the subtext of the show using the critical vessel of the recap.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's second season continues to question the societal construct of holy matrimony. It is clear that the showrunners are pushing the theme of marriage as merely a legal agreement, not an emotional bond between two people madly in love. June and Sugar Bear are committed parents, but are they committed to one another? The couple has decided against a traditional wedding, instead opting for a commitment ceremony with many low-budget, money-saving techniques. As opposed to showcasing their relationship with a celebration of excess, the bride and wedding planner, June, continues to make frugal design decisions. Their wedding could exhaust June’s stockpile after years of extreme couponing, but that’s a risk she must take to ensure a cheap wedding.
June uses old thank-you cards as wedding invitations. Many couples spend hours deliberating the stylistic choices of their wedding invitations because it is an extension of their joint identity as newlyweds. Calligraphy, typography, and paper type are important design decisions that can define an entire wedding’s aesthetic. Couples stress over the wording of information, listing of family members, and envelopes. It gives your guests the first taste of what they should be expecting at your branded experience. Sending thank-you cards as the invitations is commentary on the financial expenditures by wedding guests. The elder married couple in the family (traditionally the parents of the bride) carry the main financial burden of a wedding. However, wedding guests in the era of commercial flight are forced to pay for high-priced plane tickets to commute to weddings in all parts of the world.
A rising generation of 20- and 30-year-olds wants to capture the vintage formality of ‘weddings,’ but it is no longer about congregating at the local church and inviting nearby family and friends. June and Sugar Bear’s wedding seems to focus on a geolocal network of guests. Because of their economic situation, they are tied to a region that provides adequately priced infrastructure for their daily needs. Destination weddings fuel the travel economy, and can help remote island countries fuel tourism. But the carbon emissions associated with a wedding party should force us to rethink traveling more than 100 miles to a wedding. While communication technology connects us to our most remote friends and family, it pushes us toward isolating ourselves from them for years at a time.
June swears by the theory that “as long as you have food, people will come,” which is indicative of our rabid consumer society. We have immersed ourselves in service-oriented dining experiences. Americans want as much food as possible at the cheapest price, cooked in less than one minute and served with a genuine, gracious smile. The microwave and deep fryer provide pre-prepared fast-food options with an opportunity to succeed, but at the cost of our health. Online review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon attempt to ‘crowdsource’ a general rating of dining and service establishments. This desire to rate and evaluate every meal attempts to break us away from our innate role as hunters and gatherers. Cavemen didn’t draw on walls to rate their latest meal, they were busy hunting for the next one.
At times, it feels as though June and Sugar Bear are only just getting to know one another on an emotional level. Sugar Bear come to the realization that they have only ever danced once, performing the act of the 'horizontal bump.' This is the trouble with intimacy in the online era. There is no courtship or postcoital process. Intimacy extends beyond just a physical display of affection in private. She claims that they have not made love in more than eight years, which happens to be the age of their youngest daughter, Alana. The couple decides to attend a dance class to avoid embarrassment at the wedding. Learning how to dance is a metaphor. The teacher says, 'If people can dance together, they can live together. It’s push and pull. Give and take.'
We all hope that one day, June appreciates Sugar Bear for pulling so much weight and giving his entire soul to the family.
At the end of the episode, June buys vegetables, which are not common around their household. June wants her family to get serious about the weight-loss challenge, creating a vegetable stew filled with cabbage, celery, lemon zest, and more. The stew looks like vomit, and the children refuse to even try this attempt at healthful living. Honey Boo Boo child declares, 'I like junk food because it taste good.' Though she is only a child, she speaks for the majority of Americans, and our tendency to reach for carby, starchy snack foods to satisfy cortisol emissions in times of stress. Despite the addition of healthful options, calorie counts, and apple wedges in a wide range of restaurant menu offerings in America, our physiological addiction to junk food might never be broken.