the pleasure of a terrible guilty binge

This weekend I fell into a vortex of bad television. Do you have TV show you hate to admit to watching? Mine is embarrassing. Like, really really embarrassing. I have to preface the name of the show with a yes I know this show is terrible and anti-feminist and trashy and portrays Americans at their worst.

Have I built it up enough yet?

Toddlers and Tiaras.


It’s out now.

Yes – I know. Toddlers and Tiaras, the TLC series with an impressive rating of 1.8 out of 10 on IMDB. Toddlers and Tiaras, pretty much universally hated and looked down upon. As a college-educated, New York Times reading, Atlantic Monthly subscriber, an avid reader of literature, I should know better. I gladly look down upon people who love 50 Shades of Gray and usually avoid most “low-brow” entertainment, unless I enjoy it ironically like the Real Housewives Franchise.

But I can’t even ironically watch it. I know the show is rotting the brains out of my head, but I still love it. It is darn entertaining and I discovered the ninth season this past weekend and binged the whole damn thing over a couple of days.

Why? Why am I so amused watching 2-year-olds put on eyeliner and wigs? What about the frantic Moms, running around hotel hallways, late, swearing, bellies flopping all over, what pulls me in and entraps me so?

My guess is it’s the combination of a real-look into everyday people’s lives, unfiltered, that really intrigues me. Because, most of the pageant moms, they are putting up their airs trying to appear a certain way, but it is usually easy to see through their air-tanned facade. TLC has a way of showing silent shots of a cluttered house, desperate moments of an interviewed Mom blinking as they realize what they just said was utterly ridiculous, that makes this stupid show somehow seem endearing. At least, to me. There are layers upon layers of meaning if you really look close.

Plus, the kids are always amusing. The bratty ones slapping their mom’s in the face make me feel like I’m raising my kids right, and the super dedicated kids, who learn crazy routines and look happy on stage performing the, well, a part of me hope my own kids find a passion they love. Not a passion of pageants, of course, but just a passion for some event or hobby.

Anyway, my weekend wasted away, I’ve learned nothing practical or insightful about life by watching this silly show, but I was entertained and amused so I guess that’s worth something. And now I’m all caught up on the stupid insipid show and can go on with my life until the next season is released….


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