And The Most Evil Show on Television Is...

Something wicked this way comes… across the pageant stage, wearing a tiny bejeweled $2000 dress, hairspray-lacquered locks, a spray tan and fake teeth (yes, fake teeth).

Okay. In all fairness, what came across the stage isn’t wicked. Her parents, however… another story. A somewhat malevolent story. So what better time than this Halloween season to turn our minds to the dark… the hellish… the evil. Yes, I’m talking about Toddlers & Tiaras, that reality show ode to child beauty pageants from the folks at cable channel TLC. TLC, by the way, stands for The Learning Channel. But with programming like Sister Wives (reality show about polygamy), LA Ink and NY Ink (reality shows about people who tattoo pretty much every square inch of skin), and I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant (reality show about morons), they really ought to change the name to TFC – The Freak Channel.

Amidst this video onslaught against all that is right and good, Toddlers & Tiaras should seem relatively innocent. After all, you may well ask, what could be so wrong about a bunch of little girls playing at Miss America?

Oh, dear reader. There are so many ways it is wrong – dreadfully, revoltingly wrong. Allow me to enumerate. But I caution you – this journey is not for the faint of heart, nor weak of stomach. And if you make it through this, an even more chilling fate is in store at the end, where a commercial-free 45 minutes of Toddlers & Tiaras – the Halloween Bash pageant edition, awaits you. Menacingly.

You have been warned. Here then, ten reasons why Toddlers & Tiaras is yet another ominous omen of the end of civilization as we know it. Let the horror be unleashed:

Reason #1: Creepy, Spooky People

The cast of characters of every episode of T/T is bursting at the seams with disturbed, dysfunctional folks. Nope, not just the parents (more on THEM ahead). Someone has to produce these contests, judge them, emcee them. So consider the emcee of the Halloween Bash beauty pageant, one Todd James. Or as he prefers to be called, Mr. Todd.

Mr. Todd had numerous costume changes during the Halloween Bash, and clearly enjoys performing every bit as much as the little competitors.

Other episodes have introduced us to pageant judges ranging from matronly botoxed types to adolescent-looking boys (what the heck?) to this guy:

How exactly does one qualify to judge kiddie beauty pageants? I don’t know. But the pageant producers have tapped into a real moneymaker – pageant parents spend thousands of dollars to participate, some of which goes to entry fees; the prizes are generally along the lines of cheap and gaudy crowns. What a racket.

By the way, can a child contestant be creepy, too? Why… YES.

Yes. This woman dressed her child in THAT.

Reason #2 – It’s Paradise (if You’re a Pedophile)

It just doesn’t get any better than this for perverts – little girls (and sometimes boys) decked out in completely inappropriate, sexually suggestive outfits. At the Halloween pageant, the director of the event mocks parents who might be “conservative” and lets them know they better be prepared to show some serious little girl skin if they want that crown.

T/T has chronicled a miniature prostitute a la Pretty Woman:

 A mini-Marilyn Monroe lookalike complete with fake boobs:

 And a petite Vegas showgirl (I guess we should be thankful they didn’t opt for the topless showgirl costume):


But how they’re dressed pales in comparison to what they DO. What their MOTHERS have TRAINED them to do. It’s straight up appalling. The Halloween episode features a throwdown between a sexy Daisy Duke (age 9) who struts and gyrates  and makes sex-faces…

(Is it wrong that I'm jealous of how good she looks in those shorts?)

…competing against another 9-year-old who… well, words fail:

 You can watch this pedophilic faceoff in the episode at the end (yes, it will be wrong of you to do so), but for now, here’s a preview, courtesy of another child pageant star who “performed” at a New York Fashion Week event:

Reason #3 – How to Mess Your Daughter Up for Life: Body Image Edition

As if training their daughters for the stripper pole wasn’t going to cause enough problems, let’s throw in some enormous mixed messages about body image, too, shall we? One of the Halloween pageant moms has a litany of complaints about her daughter – these are all things she said during this episode, some of them within earshot of the child:

  • Her daughter doesn’t really have winning facial beauty (Mom’s solution includes eyebrow waxing).
  • Her daughter’s hair and eye color (brown and brown) is inferior to blue-eyed blonde children (Mom’s solution includes “honey blonde highlights” and spray tanning).
  • Her daughter’s 9-year-old smile looks like a joker or a jack-o-lantern (Mom’s solution involves a device called a “flipper” – fake teeth that cover up the holes left by baby teeth).

Psycho mom didn’t say anything about her daughter’s weight, but presumably it’s been discussed before, as the little girl lets us know she doesn’t want to be a jack-o-lantern for Halloween because “they’re fat.”

I’m betting this young lady will log some serious time on the therapist’s couch one day.

Reason #4 – How to Mess Your Daughter Up for Life: Food Issues Edition

This one involves inappropriate rewards, and ties in nicely with the body image issues above. Not only are the girls learning that it’s death to be fat, but, just to get them hopelessly messed up, they’re being given foods that are completely contrary to commonly-understood guidelines on healthy nutrition.

Problem: These pageants go on all day long, and little kids need rest and naps and such, which are not going to happen when the hairdresser needs a couple of hours to tease the locks into standard pageant big-hair hairsprayed glory, and the makeup person needs another hour to cake it on, and then there’s the various pageant costume changes… so, you gotta rev up these little beauties somehow. Can’t have ‘em nodding off up there on the stage. And they are too little for cocaine (right? RIGHT?), so most of these parents go for the T/T approved alternative – Pixy Stix. Some moms feed their contestants up to a dozen of these sugar straws, known as pageant energy sticks, before they hit the runway.


Other moms skip the fancy packaging and just hand out sugar cubes, like dog treats, to buy the kid’s cooperation. Others skip any pretense of kid-friendly cuisine and have their daughters downing Red Bull (I kid you not).

One of the moms at the Halloween Bash pageant feeds her munchkin beef jerky, which in comparison to the tricks mentioned above, practically qualifies her as mom of the year.

Reason #5 – Parents with the Marquis de Sade Stamp of Approval

Daisy Duke’s mom, with her long list of her daughter’s physical flaws, uncorked this nugget of parenting love and wisdom during the Halloween pageant, when the kid balked at the eyebrow waxing:

A little bit of pain to win a little bit of better title? She’ll take it all day long.

Really, Mom? How ‘bout you get a Brazilian bikini wax, all day long? Or a root canal? (Readers are invited to offer their own suggestions for activities that Mom can “take all day long.”)

Other parental sadists have entered siblings into a pageant, competing against each other, and then speculated on camera on which child was more beautiful. Nah, that won’t cause any issues down the line.

Reason #6 – Parents with the Forrest Gump Stamp of Approval

One of the reasons often parroted by these parents as to why their child is on the pageant circuit involves the little darling “learning how to speak in public.” Come to think of it, that might be legitimate, in light of the abysmal use of the mother tongue we often hear on T/T. In the Halloween episode:

Mom: What if you lost and you don’t get a crown or nothing, how are you going to hand out a goody bag?

Child, pantomiming handing over a goody bag: Here’s your goody bag, and I’m thanks that you won.

Good grief.

Reason #7 – Parents on an Epic Adventure in Self-Delusion

Full disclosure: I had a daughter who figure skated at an elite level. And I recall some parents who stood by the entrance to the ice and “showed” their daughters what proper jump technique should look like. It was embarrassingly uncomfortable to watch these parents making asses of themselves.

But again – it’s all relative. The skating parents were paragons of dignity in comparison to the moms of T/T, who stand behind the judges’ table and gyrate with their daughters on the stage to make sure the children don’t forget their “routines.” Every hideously inappropriate move the daughter makes is mirrored by the overweight mom in the audience, including all the wiggling and sexpot faces. Plus, most of the moms scream things like “sell it girrrrl” while their little precious is on stage.

I think every last one of the moms ever interviewed by this show has insisted that her daughter LOVES doing pageants and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. This is immediately followed by video showing the kids screaming their head off at being spray tanned or eyebrow plucked or whatever. You can see for yourself how happy these kids are:

At least they're happy when they win! Oh...wait...

Reason #8 – Fathers: Missing In Action

Watching these little girls dress and act like prostitutes, one question keeps coming to mind. Where the hell are the fathers? Most of these families have one – after all, it’s practically a full-time job to be a pageant mom, and someone has to pay for the spray tanning and $2000 dresses. But for the most part the dads are completely MIA. More than one T/T episode has shown mothers confessing that their husbands have no idea how much money they’re spending. Other dads put in an appearance, but lurk around the perimeter helplessly, caring for the (presumably) less important other children, while mom yanks princess’s hair into place and princess melts down into a temper tantrum. It make me want to smack dad upside the head and tell him to grow a pair. If one parent is damaging a child, it’s the responsibility of the other to step in. These dads are useless.

Well, I guess not completely useless

Reason #9 – Parents from Hell create Children from Hell: Spoiled, Selfish and Nasty

Whenever you see a kid – in the store, at the playground, or on T/T – who is just asking for a spanking, that often means it’s the parent who really deserves one. I mean, how can you not create a monster when you say, as one of the Halloween pageant moms states, “I was put on this earth to wait hand and foot on my child”? This same mom went on to explain that her daughter “has a very good knack of getting her way.” The kid in question is 4! Apparently mom has “a very good knack” of being an idiot.

But T/T has spawned a few particularly spoiled “stars.” Case in point: Makenzie. She’s known for a nasty demeanor (biting fellow contestants!), demanding and disrespectful behavior toward the adults around her including (of course) her doormat mom, and her unnatural attraction to her pacifier, which is named “Ni-ni”:

Now – do you know what happens when little girls like this grow up? They think that they’re entitled to everything, including the things that are yours. Or the things that belong to “rich people.” And they don’t have any patience for anyone who disagrees with them. Behold – the natural end result for a Makenzie:

Reason #10 – Moonbattery Run Amok: Praying for Victory

As you will see by watching the Halloween episode below, one poor mama deserves a category all her own. Unlike many of the other parents, she seems bighearted… yet terribly misguided. First, she prayed for God to send her a husband with a 5-year-old daughter she could pageant-ize. (After all, why waste time bearing and nursing a child who’s not really pageant-ready?) She found some poor sap (see MIA fathers category, above), married him, bought a china cabinet in which to display the girl’s winning crowns, and went to work praying for victory. Describing herself as a “conservative Christian,” she prays about the spray tanning (God said yes), and her daughter’s routine (watching her practice, mom announces: “that praying is kicking in!”). They try to pray and worship their way to a pageant glory… Mom even wears a t-shirt proudly proclaiming the kid a “Pentecostal beauty.”

Do they get the victory? Watch for yourself. But be warned – as my daughter’s youth pastor wrote on his Facebook page: “I tried to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, but I couldn’t stand the smell of my soul burning.”

Heh heh. To that I would add… sometimes it’s hard to hear the show what with all that baying of the hounds of hell.

Behold: The Halloween Bash Pageant. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here: