Since the dawn of reality television, mankind has understood that one day the most evil of television genres would, eventually, signal the end of civilisation as we know it.
When Noeline Donaher rose out of the sea like the horny headed beast whose arrival foreshadows the end times, things did indeed seem close to the brink. The Kardashians. Jersey Shore. She who is known as Snooki.
Each and every time something new and more horrific emerges it seems society inches closer to the edge.
Some believe Toddlers & Tiaras, a reality TV series which opens a glittery window into the world of baby beauty pageants, pushed us closer than ever before and, for the first time, brought the abyss into view.
If that's the case then the new series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo will push us off.
That's it, folks. The world, as we knew, it is over.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a spin-off to Toddlers & Tiaras which focuses on 6-year-old beauty pageant regular Alana Thompson.
She may seem like a baby, but she's no spring chicken. Honey Boo Boo's grasp of modern economics and its relationship to fame and beauty is very clear from the moment she shrieks "A dolla' makes me holla'."
No, you didn't hear incorrectly. A. Dolla. Makes. Me. Holla.
She is many things Honey Boo Boo, not least of which is all class.
The series launched in the US last week and was, as you can imagine, a smash hit.
It also divided opinion and turned Honey Boo Boo's mother, June, into a pariah.
June has three other kids Pumpkin, 12, Chubbs, 15 and Chickadee, 17. Chickadee is, as you might expect, pregnant. And the three older children all, as you might expect, have different fathers.
And when Chickadee gives birth to the baby - warning: imminent spoiler - the baby has two thumbs. On the one hand. And no, we're not making any of this up.
The hapless schmuck putting a roof over this circus is a man they call Sugar Bear.
Yep. The more you know, the more you wish you knew less.
Of course, it's all engineered to provoke the very reaction it is getting. Outrage from one side. Mockery from the other. And mute horror from everyone in between. (If you're still reading this, that's probably where you fit in.)
Amy Winter is the television executive who commissioned the show for US television. For obvious reason, she defends Honey Boo Boo and family.
"They don't care what people think about them; because at the end of the day, they are having a good time and know exactly who they are," Winter told US media last week.
"Not everyone is going to appreciate that, but an awful lot of people are enjoying them."
That's true, if by "enjoying" you mean "having a joke at their expense".
Of course, the greatest irony of it all is this: in the US the show airs on a channel called TLC, an acronym derived from the channel's original name, The Learning Channel.
Yep, the channel where we learns us some stuff.
And, as they say in the classics, that's all folks.
* Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has not yet sold to an Australian TV network. Its parent program Toddlers & Tiaras airs on the Foxtel channel LifestyleYou.
The story Here comes Honey Boo Boo ... and the end of the world first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.