Toddlers & Tiaras is an American reality television series that debuted on TLC in 2009. The show follows the controversial world of child beauty pageants, looking closely at the pageant contestants and their families as the girls prepare to compete for the title of Ultimate Grand Supreme.The show has spawned a spinoff series: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which is centered around Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family.
Whenever a parent of a child under three insists that the child is the one who wants to do the pageant. Most kids that age are just learning to use the bathroom, much less understand show-business.
When a child who is too young to talk comes on and the announcer does the "this is __ she is __ years old. Her favorite things are __ and __ she wants to be a __ when she grows up and her favorite person is (Stage Mom)."
Many of the children's "talents" are this, especially the babies and younger children who can't do much more than wiggle around, smile, and cry.
On a lesser level, the producers, who claim that they are there to document, not judge. They always make sure to get the best tantrums and most outrageous parents (with a few exceptions) and always manage to paint the majority of pageantry in a grim light.
Alana "Honey Boo Boo Child" definitely counts as one. After appearing on one episode, the audience instantly fell in love with her due to her extremely optimistic personality and her mother's odd coupon-saving redneck lifestyle. It's gotten to the point where she now has her own show (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo). The ironic thing is, at first, most of the audience saw Honey Boo Boo's mom as a terrible mother (most notably feeding her child "Go Go Juice", a mixture of Mountain Dew & Red Bull, and bringing a wiffle bat to pageant practice). However, as the show continues, it's clear that there are MANY much worse parents out there.
Jacyln, whose favorite doll (that must be in the audience to cheer for her) is a dilapidated puppet in a wheelchair. Picture Raggedy-Andy after he was disfigured and paralyzed from the waist down in a car wreck. That thing was more terrifying than Chucky.
Bridgett, who wants to be an exterminator when she grew up because she likes to kill things and claimed to want to kill Justin Bieber.
5 year old Carly seems to have a developing split personality which is unsettling and sad.
Deep South: Quite a few of the pageant contestants are from rural areas in the South.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo takes the trope Up to Eleven at times.
Extreme Doormat: Mackenzie's mother. You really have no sympathy for her when she sulks about her daughter being an unholy terror. Though, they are both getting better.
Genki Girl: Alana, aka, "Honey Boo Boo Child" comes off as this. Some think she's cute, others think it's creepy, if comments on YouTube are anything to go by.
Global Ignorance: Apparently nobody told the pageant authorities that Africa is a continent, not a country.
Homeschooled Kids: A family from New Jersey with two homeschooled kids, Riley and Bob, was profiled on the show. They definitely ranked among the weirdest families shown on the show. Notable for the mom saying she had the little girl dance and sing on the bar at Applebee's followed by an audible Flat "What." from a producer off-camera.
Isn't It Ironic?: In one commercial for the show, they play the Lady Gaga song "Born This Way", a song about being fine with the way you are. Meanwhile, in the commercial footage, little girls prance around with Uncanny Valley Make Up, dyed hair/hair extensions, false eyelashes, etc.
It's All About Me: The contestant interviews at the beginning of the show introducing the girls usually contain some variation of this, said either by the contest herself or her mother.
Little Miss Snarker: Every so often, the show profiles a girl who wants no part in the pageants and responds with blazing, full force sarcasm.
Mackenzie, though she does seem to really enjoy the pageants.
The more common variant is that many of the mothers seem to think that they're doing their daughters a favor by putting them on TV, unaware that the Manipulative Editing is designed to throw the entire process of pageants into the worst light possible. Carley's mother Melissa is the prime example of this. Her whispered threats to her daughter ("you're going to be a very sorry girl; we are on national television; everyone is going to see this") were helpfully subtitled by the production team so that the entire audience could see just how terrible a mother she was.
The less common variant is when a child, usually because they are new to the pageant scene, is woefully under-prepared and both the girl and her mother has no idea what they're doing. Given that its easy to figure out what the pageant basics are (dress, hairstyle, makeup, and routines) just by watching a handful of episodes, its not clear why a mom would apply to be on the show, let alone enter her kid in a pageant, without the right kind of dress or without practicing a routine.
Serious Business: To the parents, the pageants themselves. Quite often, they take it a bit too far. Multiple parents have claimed to spent upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. They could have put their kids through a year of college with that kind of cash.
Split Personality: Two girls so far have showcased one. "Tootie" was a ten year old's, and she seemed weird, but mostly benign. Carly, on the other hand, developed "Darla" who has a whole section on the Tear Jerker page because she's clearly a coping mechanism for handling Carly's pushy Stage Mom.
Stage Mom: The main point of the show. They also show stage dads, who are usually even more obsessive, as well.
Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: For the viewers. Most of the adults profiled have no problems with painting their daughters like hookers and sending them on stage in two-piece swimsuits to dance provocatively.
Mia, who wore the Madonna cone bra costume.
Remember Paisley, whose mom got in trouble with viewers for letting her wear the prostitute dress from Pretty Woman? In her latest routine she rips off her skirt to showcase underwear/bikini bottom and garters. and she won. Yes, the skirt was designed for that.
One episode profiled a family with two children, an older girl, Alaska, and a younger boy, Braxton. After the mom raved about how beautiful and successful her son was, she had this to say about her daughter "I hope [she] can learn to accept failure."
When the family appeared in a second episode, Alaska was on a winning streak and Braxton wasn't even mentioned.
The Sterling twins had the most obvious, and heartbreaking, example of this. The mother obviously favored one of the identical girls, flat out stating she was prettier and looked more like her mother. What's even worse is that the family actually had five daughters, but the mother only paid attention the one twin. Thankfully, the dad had no problem with pulling "the favorite" out of the pageant for acting like a brat.
In "Me and My Pet", a mother said, "I think Alycesaundra has won something bigger than the other child". She also gave one girl a cute little lamb for her routine, and "the other child" got a turkey. She stated that Giovanna, "the other child", is a "mean sourpuss" with "no personality."
Inverted with Lola, who clearly favored her aunt to her own mother, to the point that she refused to be held by her or sit on her lap.
Unfortunate Names: In "Story Book Pageant Diamonds", one of the mothers was named Latrina.
Allyson wore a gown made to look like the feather-trimmed stage wedding dress that Beyoncé wore for a performance at the 2009 BET awards. The problem is, well you can see the dress here. It's practically a swimsuit with a see through skirt attached (and just barely avoids being a Showgirl Skirt). The "best" part is that the girl is Caucasian and wanted her skin "brown" to look more like Beyonce.