Toddlers and Tiaras, "Southern Celebrity Mini Nationals": Brock rock

Toddlers and Tiaras, "Southern Celebrity Mini Nationals"
“When Mommy cries, it makes me happy.” - Sydney

southern celebrity mini nationals

Review: Toddlers and Tiaras, "Southern Celebrity Mini Nationals"
(S0404) You seriously cannot make up what these kids end up saying.

Toddlers and Tiara's switches things up this episode with its new pageant toddler Brock Ritter, who thinks of himself as a diva. In addition to Brock, there is toddler pageant veteran, Savannah, and newcomer, Sydney. All three of these children are vying for the high titles in this episode's competition, the Southern Celebrity Mini Nationals. Expect the usual emphasis on the parents' freakouts and creepy doll-like performances.

Toddlers and Tiaras continues to show the stress (and horror) families go through when preparing their children for pageants. The episode begins with Sydney bumping her head while practicing her routine. Her mother argues with her for a second before going to retrieve an ice pack. Welcome to insecurity city, where self-esteem is our currency, I thought to myself. I knew then that this was going to be a ride straight to an insane asylum and I buckled myself up in anticipation of more tears. To be fair, Sydney's mom doesn't come off as insane as Savannah's, who literally becomes She-hulk when her daughter cries before going on stage. It's moments like these that transform reality shows from mindless entertainment to frightening character studies.

What really makes this episode stand out is Brock. Brock is a young boy already making a name for himself in male pageants. Now he's stepping it up and going up against the girls. He loves to dance, and took pride in dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween. Though the boy will have ego problems when he is older, his situation is much more stable then the two girls. Brock performs because he loves it and his mother wholly supports him. So much so in fact that she spray tans him. What's interesting about this is that he enjoys being spray tanned. He giggles about how it's cold, but doesn't complain. He looks healthy compared to Savannah, who looked like a deer ready to be hit by a Ford truck during her spray tan session. 

The addition of Brock causes a new gender dynamic to form on the show. You begin to see the different standards placed on the two sexes. With Brock, everything seems more simple, partly because he loves pageants, but also because he has a more stable mother. On the other hand, Sydney's father comes to support her. Brock's mom establishes that his father supports him, but do you see the father anywhere? Nope. It's a sad irony, expecially because how the mother establishes how Brock is picked on. At the very least, his mother is supportive and not demading (at least not on the surface.) Savannah and Sydney seem enslaved to their respective moms in comparison to Brock who actually talks to his mother.

There could be more said about this episode, but that's for another article. At the end of the episode, Sydney wins a higher title than Savannah and Brock wins all the boys' awards and the high title for personality. It's somewhat anti-climatic considering that he was the only boy competing. It makes all that practice we see in the first act seem worthless.

But then again, why am I analyzing a show where a girl takes pleasure in her mother's tears? If you want more, there is a new episode airing next week.

By Dean "The Machine" Childers.

About the author

Dean Childers is freelance writer in Kentucky. He is a major in Mass Communications. He lurks in the Bluegrass waiting for someone to throw a pokeball at him.

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On: Thursday, July 7, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I've watched one episode of this show and found it to be both fascinating and disturbing. I would certainly love to be able to check in with former toddler pageant participants years later to see what's doing. 

On: Friday, July 8, 2011
Carm said:

I am a friend of Brock Ritter's family and I can assure you that Dad is very supportive.  He just chose not to be on t.v.  He was at the pageant and he is at all the dance recitals.

On: Friday, July 8, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

On the episode I saw, the editing did strongly imply that the fathers weren't in the picture very much if at all, and then every once in a while they would be shown on the periphery. So I can see how that impression could get framed. 


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