Tuned In

Corporate Press Release Theater: The Littlest Miss Sunshine

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The TLC network has done a pretty remarkable job lately of targeting a particular psychographic: parents, largely but not exclusively moms, particularly of young children, who (like myself) are inordinately nosy about the lives and choices of other parents. Sometimes we want to see their tearjerking stories (A Baby Story et al.), sometimes we want to get a glimpse of parents in unusual situations (Little People, Big World), sometimes we want to see an extreme version of our own juggling acts, with far more dependents involved (Jon and Kate Plus 8, Seventeen Kids and Counting). 

And sometimes we want to judge. Actually, pretty much always we want to judge. This is the seeming impetus behind TLC’s disturbing, and yet I suspect irresistible, new series concept it announced this morning: 

New York, NY – November 19, 2008 – In late January, TLC will premiere TODDLERS AND TIARAS, a captivating new series that goes behind-the-scenes of the child beauty pageant world, and profiles a number of young contestants from all different ages and backgrounds, as well as their fanatical parents. 

[Self-flattering executive quote redacted]

Each week, TODDLERS AND TIARAS takes viewers inside the world of youth pageantry to witness the demanding lifestyles of these pint-sized beauties. Every hour-long episode follows a different group of contestants, vying for the coveted crown. This compelling series showcases the traditional elements of child pageants, jam-packed with stage moms and dads, hair extensions, spray tanning, makeup and glitter. Moreover, this series also features extremely non-traditional and modern aspects of the pageant scene, from girls entering the competitive landscape with less makeup and a more natural look, to child beauty pageants featuring boys mixed into the competition. 

“Less makeup and a more natural look”! How progressive! I already feel unclean, and yet undoubtedly will set up my Tivo for this when the time comes. Cue up Superfreak.