Warning: Something smelly is headed to television viewers across the nation on Wednesday night.
Fans of TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," the reality show depicting the trials and triumphs of the eponymous pint-sized, curly-haired pageant queen and her eccentric Georgia family, will be treated to a second-season premiere that offers entertainment beyond the visual. With the help of a "Watch 'N' Sniff" card, audience members can have a full olfactory experience, scratching and smelling when prompted to during the episode, which airs at 9 p.m. ET. According to the TLC website, there's even a chance to win $5,000 if you can "match the smell to its numbers."
Around 10 million "Watch 'N' Sniff" cards have been made available through inserts in People and Us magazines, as well as at some Time Warner Cable (TWC) outlets and through street teams handing them out in major-market cities.
The show, a spinoff of "Toddlers & Tiaras" that debuted last August, has made major celebrities of 7-year-old Honey Boo Boo (her real name is Alana Thompson) and the rest of the crew, which includes matriarch June Shannon, father Sugar Bear, three older daughters and an infant granddaughter.
From their professed love of roadkill cuisine to their affection for pet pigs and enthusiasm for mud-rolling, the family has been criticized by some for what could be considered a condescending portrayal of the South and its denizens. But with irresistible catchphrases such as "You'd better redneckognize!" and a young star who spouts precocious lines with impressive comic timing, the show has seemed to charm many more; it commanded an audience of some 2.2 million during its first season and was one of TLC's top-rated shows.
TLC is one of 162 global channels owned by Discovery Communications (DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) which, according to its website, serves more than 2 billion cumulative subscribers across 223 countries and territories. Formerly a part of Liberty Media (LMCA), it was spun off in 2005 and has three classes of common stock trading on the Nasdaq. While the "Honey Boo Boo" factor is just one small part of a media empire that includes Animal Planet, Discovery Fit and Health, and joint-venture OWN, it's worth nothing that, since the show's debut, the Discovery shares are up an average of more than 50%.
Wednesday won't mark the first time smelling and viewing have gone together. From the 1960 Smell-O-Vision film "Scent of Mystery" to the John Waters offering "Polyester" to the recent BBC show "Filthy Cities," which featured odors including sewage on cards obtained from British libraries, the method has been used for decades. This will, however, be the first time TLC has entered this realm.
"We wanted to bring a new sensory dimension for premiere night that was more than sitting back and watching," says TLC Executive Vice President of Production Howard Lee. "We could not think of a stronger series that always brings up fun odors that is a part of our fascination with the family. This also makes it far more interactive."
Given the Boo Boo family's love of the dirt-encrusted and scatological, it's understandable if some fans are feeling fearful of the "Watch 'n' Sniff" experience. Therefore, in the interest of public service, we at Yahoo! Finance attempted a sneak-peek sniffing fest, with puzzling results: Number one ... might be baby powder. Number three might be a sugary snack.
The rest of the smells are ambiguous enough that we have to wonder: Are the odors supposed to be this hard to identify, or did we get a bum card?
So the suspense remains, and only Wednesday will provide the true answer — both of what the odors are and whether audiences are still interested in life at the house of Honey Boo Boo.