Watching the Brie Train: Douglas Family Gold

It’s an established fact that I like gymnastics, and I love reality TV. So you can bet when there is overlap I’ll be watching. Enter Douglas Family Gold. Oxygen aired the six episode (30 minutes each) series beginning in May 2016, though the action all takes place in 2015 as Gabrielle Douglas (aka Gabby/Brie), reigning […]

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Bravo Academia: What I Should Have Asked Andy Cohen

I am, what sociologists of culture call, a cultural omnivore. I consume high and low art whether it be books, TV, movies, music, etc. Sometimes my DVR looks like a teenage girl (Pretty Little Liars, Teen Mom) and other times a middle-aged woman (Real Housewives, The Sisterhood). I love reading serious non-fiction as much as […]

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More Talking, and Writing, about Competition (while being a mom)!

It’s been a busy week; and I suspect it will continue to get busier as I prepare for the release of Playing to Win— or at least I hope so! Before detailing those though, some thoughts on making all this work as a mom: On the day I did the two TV appearances described below, […]

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Cheering on Cheer

Today I woke up excited it was Friday– but then I realized I wouldn’t be getting a new episode of Cheer and I had to hit the snooze button to recover. Cheer, which has aired on CMT for the past six weeks, quickly became one of my favorite reality series, warming my normally analytical sociological […]

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Custody Cases, Child Beauty Pageants, and Reality TV: New Slate Double X piece on Toddlers & Tiaras Justice with update from 11-12

Last Friday a feature story I wrote about the Maddy Verst custody trial appeared on Slate’s Double X. You may recall that I also wrote about the now six-year-old Maddy last fall after she appeared on the cover ofPeople.   Like many others, including hundreds of pageant moms, I think the TLC series Toddlers & […]

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The Justin Bieber Effect?: Kids and Competitive Reality Shows

Kids and reality television are a popular, if controversial, mix. What happens when you add competition to the mix? The situation can become volatile. It seems that kids are appearing more often in what are “competitive reality shows,” as opposed to “candid reality shows.” What’s the difference?  Candid reality shows, which would include the Real […]

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The “Grand” Finale: Ending Season 4 of Toddlers & Tiaras (from The Huffington Post Culture)

You’ve seen the four-year-old dressed up as Dolly Parton (complete with “enhancements”), right? And, of course, you’ve seen the images of the three-year-old dressed up as Julia Roberts’ prostitute character from Pretty Woman, haven’t you? Judging by the ratings for TLC’s fourth season of Toddlers & Tiaras, it seems you have. Each week over two […]

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Kin Ties: Coal, Coupons, and Conception

It’s no secret that I love reality television. I don’t really discriminate, I pretty much enjoy it all, which is likely the ethnographer in me. Three new shoes that have entered my rotation are Coal (on Spike), Pregnant in Heels (on Bravo), and Extreme Couponing (on TLC). What could these very different shows possibly have […]

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This Week in Stage Mothers on Reality TV

Stage moms are taking over the airwaves– from Fox to TLC to E!. Should we be validating this type of (mis)behavior? 1. The American Idol Moms: If Toddlers & Tiaras was a reality show about 15-16-year-old (very talented) African-American singers I hope they make it far, as the moms are just so entertaining to watch. […]

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