It doesn’t matter how you mess up, as long as you keep counting.
Honey was my jam in high school. I spent four days out of the week at my local dance studio, stretching, sweating, and wondering when I’d ever master a triple pirouette. (Never quite did.) But in abilicious Honey Daniels, I imagined my sparkling future—”making it” as a dancer, with multiple music videos under my belt. She was talented, ambitious, and possessed a heart of gold. Plus she was played by Jessica Alba. I would have traded my soul to become this fictional character.
Disclaimer: I was never that great of a dancer. I was just kind of okay. I look back on old videos of myself dancing, and I’m like, ew too floppy, hands are always weird, a little behind the beat. Also, I fell off a chair trying to dance sexy to Britney’s “I’m A Slave 4 U.” We don’t need to rehash the details.
I rewatched Honey recently, and I had some thoughts. The first being hey, why did I think this was good? That opening scene where she clocks off from bartending and murders everyone on the dance floor is crazy. It’s nostalgic, and Honey looks cute as heck, but the choreography? The choreography is so bad, I’m obsessed. There’s an Instagram user named ”sabinesafar” who parodies old dance movies, and her break down of this scene is pure poetry. The ”wiping the floor with legs, head switch x 2” part kind of kills me every time. Please watch it.
There’s a scene where Honey is teaching her hip hop class at her mom’s community center when a younger dancer slips and falls on a puddle of water. First of all, you’d think they’d ensure the floor is dry and fit for safe dancing conditions beforehand, but I guess that kind of stuff wasn't that important back in 2003. Second of all, real life dancers in a group like that would never laugh so cruelly at a youngster falling. I just can’t see it happening. But third of all, it sets up the corniest “dance lesson” of all time. Honey comforts the young dancer, saying, “It doesn’t matter how you mess up, as long as you keep counting. Alright? Watch this.” She slides on her knees. One and two. She turns and finishes in a crouch. Three and four.
The class erupts, impressed with her adaptability. “Oooooooh,” they go. IT’S THE CORNIEST SHIT EVER. I’M DEAD. They add the slide into the choreography, and everyone becomes a better person.
Also, the villain is played by Kirk Cameron Lite who manipulates and takes advantage of Honey. He’s a skeevy producer type that ends up hurting her and the kids she teaches by last-minute changing the concept of the Genuwine music video they’ve all been working so hard on. Like, go back to making shitty rapture movies, dude. Leave the kids alone! And stop perving out on Honey! It's commanded in the Bible!
Honey does a lot in the movie. She finally makes a connection with Lil’ Romeo and his Lil’ Brother. She makes things right with her friend Gina for being absent at her birthday. She makes out with Mekhi Phifer. She wears sweatpants with letters on the butt. She calls Kirk Cameron Lite a bitch. She tells her mom that she just doesn't understand. She impulsively puts a down payment on a studio space, which could potentially ruin her financially. She puts on a four-minute-long benefit show with only one dance number. All while having abs.
That’s the beauty of Honey. As perfect and righteous as Honey’s character seems, she makes mistakes. She messes up, as we all do. But you know what? She keeps on counting, and things work out for her. She is now a respected detective who runs a multi-million dollar clean goods company.
So next time you make a mistake— maybe you rear-end someone, maybe you hurt a friend, whatever!—just count. It’ll be fine. Just go: “Sorry for crashing into you/not being there for you/whatever, and a five, six, seven, eight!” Bonus points if you pull your shirt off halfway and wear the sleeves only.