Post by Josh Zinn.
Maybe it reveals too much about my personal life or the priorities of my parents, but ever since I was a wee tot I’ve had a deep fascination with the world of beauty pageants. Now, truth be told, I’ve never held much interest in the good deeds this year’s “Miss Southern Soy Belt” hopeful professes she can achieve by winning a crown (though she really does do a sensational job spreading awareness about the embarrassing pain of lactose intolerance, bless her heart), but being an audience to the numerous hardships this brave voyageur of beauty and intelligence (she has a bachelors in Communication!) must endure to claim her throne of dairy-free domination is a guilty delight on par with, well… It’s at least as good as the new, “BOLD and ZESTY!” flavor of Wheat Thins I sampled at Target the other night and that, let me tell you dear readers, ain’t chicken scratch.
The young competitors featured on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras, however, don’t have a much of an interest in saving the world from the side effects of cheese—that is, unless salvation takes them to Build-A-Bear afterwards. No, in the minds of these pint-sized pageant participants, the ultimate goal in life appears to be proving their jazzercise mettle in a vicious arena that’s conveniently located in the conference room of a moderately priced, Midwestern hotel. There, amidst an array of stackable chairs, rotund women in stirrup tights, and the desiccated remains of Pixie Sticks, these tiny purveyors of sunshine wage war with one another through song, dance, and Ritalin-induced fits of hysteria and ennui. As desperate mothers wipe the Cheetos crumbs from their bosom and waddle up to the stage to guide their child through yet another Lita Ford-inspired routine, the world waits with baited breath as to who will be crowned the Ultimate Grand Supreme of such “star-spudded” events as the Nicholas County Potato Festival Pretty Baby Pageant. Needless to say, only one small fry can come out on top.
Toddlers & Tiaras isn’t good for you. It isn’t good for your family, for your neighbors, or even for that annoying woman in the supermarket who feels obliged to comment on the tastiness of the frozen dinner you’ve just put in your cart. In fact, for many, watching its endless parade of prepubescent, prettified Pollyanna’s is akin to welcoming the apocalypse to the dinner table. That said, there’s something eerily calming, refreshing, and downright entertaining in knowing your life will never be as terrible or tacky as the families you see on the television screen every week. If it’s true that everybody loves a clown (author’s note: No, it’s not) then Toddlers & Tiaras is a three-ring circus of painted faces and problematic parenting that’s guaranteed to make your misery seem just a little bit brighter!