Guilty pleasures don’t hold our attention for long. So after four seasons, we admit that we’re not as diligent about watching “Toddlers & Tiaras” as we used to be. (Our love for psychotic parents and sexy babies is more easily satisfied by encore viewings of the Tom Hanks spoof anyways.)
But maybe that’s a mistake. Thanks to some well-chosen clippage on a recent episode of “The Soup,” three-year-old Olivia has revived our love of exploited, spray-tanned youngsters in under two minutes.
While mother Karey praises Olivia’s mature sensibility and “sass,” we cut to shots of Olivia channeling that girl who crawled out of the well in “The Ring,” creepily whispering “I don’t like you” and calling mom a “crazy fool.”
The source material gives “Toddlers” a lot to work with, but the editors behind the TLC series are long overdue for an Emmy, the nonexistent Pulitzer Prize for Humor or at least an advanced Presidential pardon for the federal charges that will one day fall on this franchise.
Predictably, a few moments with Olivia just wasn’t enough. So after watching her entire episode, a trip down the “Toddlers” clip rabbit hole ensued. And now the obsession is revived.
It’s Olivia’s particular brand of fledgling sociopathy — the Patty McCormack in heels and a weave — that keeps “Toddlers” captivating so many episodes in, despite being overshadowed by the Eden Woods of this world, with their pop songs and rehearsed talk show appearances.
Still, the show is pretty messed up. And behind every laugh, we do feel a twinge of guilt for participating in something we don’t actually condone.
“Toddlers & Tiaras” is kind of like ordering veal in that way. Sure, the calves led horrible lives. But they’re on the grill now, so why let it go to waste?