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Toddlers & Tiaras is an American reality television series that aired on TLC from 2009-13, then again in 2016. 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.
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The show had spawned a spinoff series: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which was centered around Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, her mom "Mama" June Thompson and her family.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Take your pick. You've got parents who obsessively favor one child over the other, parents who see nothing wrong with giving their three-year-olds (or younger kids) spray tans, parents who threaten their children if they don't win, parents who are clearly trying to live out their fantasies through their kids and won't take "no" for an answer...it's enough to make one have to remind themselves not to call Child Protective Services while watching the show.
    • Some of the moms under the notable controversies in the Where Are They Now?? special are also clearly unrepentant, equating the fans' negative reactions to being "haters", with the one girl notable for the Pretty Woman pageant outfit to quit pageants altogether.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: These pageants are loaded with them, along with age inappropriate hair and makeup.
  • Attention Whore: Some of the girls, though it was more of the mothers than the girls.
  • Beauty Contest: Beauty contests for children and, very rarely, their parents.
  • Blatant Lies: Whenever a parent of a child under 3 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)."
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    • 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.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Woo boy howdy, quite a bit. Thankfully though, some subvert it entirely.
  • Breakout Character: Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson 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 demonstrated, it's clear that there are MANY much worse parents out there.
    • Mackenzie Meyers probably counts, a sarcastic sharp-tongued little girl, who had Ashley Tisdale play her in a Funny or Die parody of the show.
    • Also Cassadee's family prompted a whole new series too: Cheer Perfection, where the moms tend to be worse because they act like they're on a soap opera.
  • Competition Freak: The moms and, less often, the actual contestants.
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  • Cool Crown: Usually every little girl competing, even the ones who didn't win a title, receives a crown or tiara. The winners tend to get massive crowns that can't fit on their heads.
  • Costume Porn: Many of the girls' glitz dresses are beautiful, if totally age-inappropriate.
  • Creepy Child: Jaclyn, 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 seemed to have a developing split personality...which is quite unsettling and sad.
  • Deep South: Quite a few of the pageant contestants are from rural areas in the South; Honey Boo-Boo is the best example.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: One of the points of the show, if Point-and-Laugh Show doesn't come into play.
  • Downer Ending: When one of the spotlighted girls loses, it's played as this.
    • "America's Trezured Dollz" was a disaster. The pageant director turned out to be a scam artist and ran off with the entrance fees and prizes.
  • Dull Surprise: Pam Courmier, one of the pageant judges in a season 5 episode, is this. She combined this with Jerkass to rather sourpuss levels due to the pageant kids not looking at her, the other judges or lipsync'ing... or with moms asking her on simple advice to improve their kids' scores.
  • Extreme Doormat: Juana, Mackenzie Meyers's mother. You really have no sympathy for her when she sulked about her daughter being an unholy terror. Though lately they've gotten better.
  • G-Rated Drug:
    • Pixy Stix, powdered candy packaged in paper straws, is sometimes referred to as "pageant crack", as stated by June Thompson.
    • There is also Alana's infamous "go-go juice", a cocktail of Red Bull and Mountain Dew, two soft drinks notorious for their high sugar and caffeine contents.
  • Genki Girl: Alana or "Honey Boo Boo" in her season 4 debut 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. Watch the clip here.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Season 6's parents in both Kayla and Kailia's moms, as while one of the girls thought the other was a friend and was hurt that the other girl wasn't her friend, the moms clearly weren't friends.
  • 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 contestant herself or her mother.
  • Jerkass: Some of the more extreme pageant moms and/or dads are this, but notable examples include:
    • Kelly and Ron Lyerly, the parents of Alycesaundra and Giavanna (the Tiara Twins), but eventually both divorced. Kelly proves to be a consistant one time and time again, giving one judge "The Reason You Suck" Speech in season 7, reappearing in season 8 without drama but returns in season 9 with a vengeance and solidifying this trope on her and her husband when they have her kids' pet goat poop all over Cambrie's side of the dressing room.
    • Nikki Williams, a pageant coach to Faithlyn and a few other kids in season 7. She also proves to be an Alpha Bitch AND The Bully on top of it, dissing the contestants as though they're beneath her and her pageant kids. She's made notable appearances in season 8 and 9, even appearing alongside Kelly in one of the episodes that notably doesn't have either of them in a central role.
    • Faithlyn herself in both her appearances was mostly this, due to Nikki's influence.
    • Trystian, Kelsie's mom in season 8's second episode, nearly picking a fight with Carol Fleming of the California Tropics pageants and being escorted out by Fleming's husband in the same episode. It's apparently not the first time she's done that, too. She later tries a Wounded Gazelle Gambit after going through a breakdown upon her ejection, but the police tell her to leave, which she does... but not before being banned. She later returns somewhat changed a few episodes later, but the changes didn't stick.
    • Lyric Carter's entire family in her episode. Woo boy howdy.
  • 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.
  • Mama Bear: Any of the moms in particular whenever their kids are negatively talked about. Season 7's third episode has a particular mom who stands up to Nikki due to said coach being a bully.
    • Cambrie Littlefield, full stop. While she and her Court try their best to win titles, at the end of the day she cares about her girls and the moms despite the mama drama and so on. It's also the same with the Sassy Supremes coach and her team, as well.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Some of the dads are a lot more fabulous than their wives.
  • Mouthy Kid: Mackenzie, as a particular example.
  • Narcissist: Everyone to one extent or the other, but special mention goes to Danielle, whose every word seems to be some variation of "I'm so pretty." God help the high school she ends up going to.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars a dress!
    • In "Me and My Pet", Kelly Lyerly (Alycesaundra and Giavanna's mom) admitted to paying $8,000 for one dress.
    • In "Universal Royalty Christmas", Hailey's dad buys her a $5,000 dress. Hailey, to her credit, suggests she should have saved the money for college.
  • My Nayme Is: All over the place. Among many examples, Maddisyn-Rae, Alycesaundra, Kendyl, Jozy, Jersie, Shian, Mykel, Kaydence.
  • Only Sane Man: Occasionally, a family member, typically the contestant's father, will point out that the pageants are a waste of money or that the costumes are inappropriate.
    • In "Kentucky Southern Celebrity", one mother backs out of doing the pageant entirely and says "It's not worth it" after seeing her two-year-old cry while being shoved into a dress by multiple adult family members.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show: Could also be classified as a "Point and call Child Protective Services" show.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Comes in two flavors.
    • 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 it's easy to figure out what the pageant basics are (dress, hairstyle, makeup, and routines) just by watching a handful of episodes, it's 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've put their kids through a year of college with that kind of cash!
  • Split Personality: Two girls so far have showcased one. "Tootie" was Madison Berg'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.
  • Talent Contest: The plot of each show, following a group of girls and their parents preparing for and then competing in a beauty contest, typically including a specific talent competition segment.
  • 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. Yes, really.
    • Paisley, who wore the prostitute dress from the movie Pretty Woman. She was known by fans as the "prostitot" because of it. In a season 6 pageant episode she rips off her skirt to showcase underwear/bikini bottom and garters and won. Said skirt was designed for that. Sadly she quit pageants after awhile because of the earlier controversy she and her mother were embroiled in.
    • Destiny, in season 6. She had dressed as Sandy from the film Grease in the 50's wear pageant and had a very real cigarette, provided for by her mother as a prop.
  • The Unfavorite: Nearly every family with more than one kid has an obvious (to the audience) favorite.
    • 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. Alaska also went through a serious case of Jerkass Ball upon winning a puppy, as well, near the end of season 4.
    • 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 to 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", the mother of the Tiara Twins said "I think Alycesaundra has won something bigger than the other child". She also gave Alycesaundra a cute little lamb for her routine and Giavanna got a turkey. She stated that Giavanna, "the other child", is a "mean sourpuss" with "no personality." (...Though if that's the case, then it might just be a result of her treating her own children like crap.)
    • Inverted with Lola, who clearly favored her aunt to her own mother, to the point that she refused to be held by the latter or sit on her lap.
  • Unfortunate Names: In "Story Book Pageant Diamonds", one of the mothers was named Latrina.
  • Whole Costume Reference: 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.

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