TLC's deliriously trashy Here Comes Honey Boo Boo makes a lot of people whine about the quality of TV (as though you can't just change the channel to find something to rest your highbrow on), the exploitation of children (as though this show is a cause and not a symptom of much greater cultural values) and the fall of civilization (as though we haven't been headed there anyway, and as though that even matters since the world is going to end this year). However, it hasn't made anyone actually cry (to my knowledge)...until last night.

The scene above, from last night's show, strikes a balance of tone that is uncommonly masterful for reality TV. In it, Alana aka Honey Boo Boo aka Smoochie aka Mootie Moot is forced to say goodbye to her beloved, possibly gay teacup pig, Glitzy. (Even if I weren't obsessed with the content, I would love this show solely based on the sentences it forces me to write.) June, Alana's mom, explains that they're "just too busy" to take care of the pig that they dangled in the face of their little girl for a brief period of time. My favorite line of this explanation is: "It'll squeal if it's hungry, which that's anybody." Perhaps the Thompsons have spared themselves a visit from Pig Protective Services, perhaps this is the best for the pig (I don't even understand what these people do that would make pig care a challenge, since we mostly see them either sitting around their house or setting up things like a redneck Slip 'n Slide or Christmas in July display outside of it). Regardless, the montage of Alana and Glitzy's brief time together is tender and also includes farting (duh) and pig defecation (on a table...while he was lying on his stomach...bizarrely). That's what I mean when I say "balance of tone."

But look, saying goodbye to a pet is hard, and it's a particular kind of hard when you know that pet will go on living, away from you. I could relate to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo way more than I ever would have expected: I totally squeal when I'm hungry, too.