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Toddlers & Tiaras was an American reality television series that aired on TLC from 2009-13, then again in 2016. The show looked at the controversial world of child beauty pageants, following pageant contestants and their families as the girls prepared to compete for the title of Ultimate Grand Supreme.
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The show spawned a spinoff series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, centered around former contestant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, her mother "Mama" June Thompson, and her family. In 2021, a limited series checking in with former contestants, Where Are They Now?, was released on Discovery+.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: In many flavors. Some parents obsessively favor one child over the other, some parents give their young children spray tans, some parents threaten their children with various punishments if they don't perform, and parents trying to live out their fantasies through their kids.
    • In the Where Are They Now? special, many of the moms are clearly unrepentant about their prior behavior, describing fans with negative reactions as being "haters".
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: These pageants are loaded with them, along with age-inappropriate hair and makeup.
  • Attention Whore: Some of the girls, though often the mothers are even more so than their children.
  • Beauty Contest: Beauty contests for children and, occasionally, 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.
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    • 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.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Many of the child contestants, notably recurring contestant Mackenzie.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. After appearing in one episode, she was given her own show (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), and her family appeared on another spinoff (Mama June: From Not to Hot).
    • To a lesser extent, Mackenzie Meyers, a sarcastic sharp-tongued little girl. Ashley Tisdale portrayed her in a Funny or Die parody of the show.
    • Cassadee's family prompted a whole new series, Cheer Perfection, centered on their cheerleading team.
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    • Eden Wood had her own short-lived reality series Eden's World on Logo.
  • Competition Freak: The moms and, less often, the actual contestants.
  • Cool Crown: Typically, every little girl competing, even the ones who didn't win a title, receives a crown or tiara. The big winners tend to get massive crowns that don'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, notably Honey Boo-Boo.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: The contestants' routines, hair, makeup, and costumes are all designed this way.
  • Downer Ending:
    • When one of the spotlighted girls loses, it's played like 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 lipsyncing or with moms asking her on simple advice to improve their kids' scores.
  • Extreme Doormat: Juana, Mackenzie Meyers's mother. She quietly sulked about her daughter being an unholy terror.
  • G-Rated Drug:
    • Pixy Stix, powdered candy packaged in paper straws, is sometimes referred to as "pageant crack", as stated by June Thompson.
    • 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.
    • Another child drank "Tinker Tea", a similar caffeinated and sugary soda concoction.
  • Genki Girl: "Honey Boo Boo" Alana in her season 4 debut.
  • Global Ignorance: Africa is described as a country in one global-themed pageant.
  • Homeschooled Kids: A family from New Jersey with two homeschooled kids, Riley and Bob, 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.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: In Season 6, Kayla and Kailia's respective moms. 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, fake hair, false eyelashes, etc.
  • It's All About Me: The introductory contestant interviews at the beginning of the show usually contain some variation of this, said either by the contestant herself or her mother.
  • Jerkass: Some of the more extreme pageant parents, notably:
    • Kelly and Ron Lyerly, the parents of Alycesaundra and Giavanna, the Tiara Twins. Kelly gives one judge "The Reason You Suck" Speech in season 7. In season 9, Kelly and Ron allow their kids' pet goat to poop all over the dressing room for the contestants and throw absolute tantrums when asked to clean it up.
    • 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, insulting and mocking the other contestants. She's made notable appearances in season 8 and 9, even appearing alongside Kelly in an episode that didn't feature either of them in a central role.
      • Faithlyn herself in both her appearances was mostly this, due to Nikki's influence.
    • In season 8, Trystian, Kelsie's mom, picks a fight with Carol Fleming of the California Tropics pageants and is escorted out by Fleming's husband in the same episode. It's apparently not the first time it's happened. 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 permanently banned from the property.
    • Lyric Carter's entire family. They are asked to leave the premises of the hotel.
  • 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 Cambrie's Court contestants try their best to win titles, she seems to genuinely care about her girls and at one point arranges a visit to the eye doctor for eye exams for the whole team. The Sassy Supremes coach is protective of her team as well.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Some of the dads are a lot more fabulous than their wives.
  • Mixed Ancestry is Attractive: One family was a blended mixed-race family, and the white mother described how her mixed-race son was more beautiful than her white daughter.
  • Mouthy Kid: Mackenzie, as a particular example.
  • Narcissist: Nearly 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."
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars per dress!
    • In "Me and My Pet", Kelly, 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.
    • Alessondra's mother Alane buys her an inexpensive, used dress and explains how she would rather spend thousands of dollars on feeding hungry children than on a glitz dress.
    • In "Universal Royalty Christmas", Hailey suggests that she should have saved the $5,000 her father spent on her dress for college.
  • 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:
    • Many 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 a prime example. She whispered threats to her daughter note  which were helpfully subtitled by the production team so that the entire audience could see how terrible a parent she was.
    • Sometimes a child, usually because they are new to the glitz pageant scene, is woefully under-prepared, and both the girl and her mother have 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 pay to 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, Multiple parents have claimed to have spent upwards of tens of thousands of dollars on pageants.
  • Split Personality: Two girls so far have showcased one. Madison Berg went by "Tootie" on pageant days, and she seemed odd 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 pageant, typically including a specific talent competition segment.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: For the viewers. Most of the adults profiled paint their daughters like hookers and send them on stage in two-piece swimsuits to dance provocatively.
    • Mia, who wore the Madonna cone bra costume.
    • 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 episode, she rips off her tear-away skirt to showcase underwear-style bottoms and garters and won. She later quit pageants after a while 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-themed 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 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 or defeat with a smile on her face."
      • 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 near the end of season 4.
    • The Sterling twins, from a family of five sisters, were an 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. Thankfully, the dad had no problem with pulling the favored child out of the pageant for acting like a brat.
    • In each of her appearances, Kelly, the mother of the Tiara Twins, went back and forth about which of her two daughters, Alycesaundra and Giavanna, she favored.
    • 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.


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