Cheer Perfection finally returns to TV tonight. What’s that? You have no idea what Cheer Perfection is or why I’m so excited? Well let me back-up the child abuse truck and give you the 411 on this amazing show. It stars real live parents supporting their real live children at a competitive cheer camp. And before you start to fall asleep at the though of watching small children tumble, let me tell you the best part…the parents are insane.
Because of course they are. Tell me the last time you watched a reality TV show and thought to yourself, “these are healthy and well-adjusted parents who are not at all vicariously living through their children.” Probably never right? Sure, sure, sure, there’s always one parent that seems normal, but that’s only relative to the other crazies.
Here’s the thing you always have to remember: good parents don’t put their kids on TV. They just don’t. No matter how “badly the kids want it” or how much money the kids “will save for college.” The negatives always out weigh the positives when it comes to reality TV. That’s obviously what makes it so fun to watch as viewer, but so horrible to participate in as a child.
So with that in mind, I’ve taken it up upon myself to rank the best shows that highlight abusive parenting on TV.
1. Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Kris Jenner might be the devil’s evil stepmother, but at least she’s given her children careers. Do they deserve those careers? Absolutely not. But it’s not the worst gift that a mother can give her child. So while we certainly feel punished by their success, I can’t say that Kris actively destroy’s her children’s well being.
2. Showbiz Moms & Dads
While this show seemed outrageous when it it aired in 2004, it now just seems meh. So what? A few parents push their children into careers, despite their children not having the talent or the drive to do it. Thankfully for these kids, reality TV kicked it up a notch in the ’10s and aired 1400 more offensive shows. Meaning these kids can safely fade into obscurity and not be reminded about this embarrassment every day of their lives. Although, fine, I do sometimes let myself wonder what Shane Klingensmith is up to now now.
3. Cheer Perfection
This is Dance Moms lite. Sure the parents are just as competitive and crazy and all around unhinged, but their cheer routines aren’t anywhere near as inappropriate as Abby Lee Miller’s dance routines. So minus ten points for never putting their kids in outfits that are meant to make them look naked.
4. Toddlers & Tiaras
If these parents were living any more vicariously through their children, they’d be inside of them. Just right up inside their little bodies — doing their age-inappropriate dances on stage and stopping themselves from crying when the hot curler burns their ears and convincing themselves that winning a $500 dollar scholarship makes the whole thing worth it. Even though we all know that getting ready for that pageant cost $1000 and they therefore lost $500. Seriously try doing the math on this show without getting a headache.
5. Jon & Kate Plus 8
While there will be plenty of traumatic moments for these kids to look back on — and I do mean literally look back on thanks to this show being on DVD — the worst will definitely be their father prancing around town with Michael Lohan while wearing Ed Hardy. Ugh, could he be a more atrocious human being?
6. Dance Moms
Any parent that exposes their children to Abby Lee Miller doesn’t deserve their children. And yes, that includes Holly. Actually, especially Holly. As the most educated parent there, she should pull her kid off that show and put her in a dance program where the director isn’t an outright racist. I know that it might all be for the cameras, but it’s still probably not all that good for a 10-year-old to be taken down by a middle-aged woman on the reg.
7. 19 Kids and Counting
Giving your children all J names is stupid. Denying your children a chance to succeed in any world is pretty cruel. But putting your daughters in long denim skirts and acting like that’s anywhere near okay should get all 19 of their children taken away. Even Josh — he actually might need the most help from the outside world. Oh and as always, #FreeJinger.
8. Kid Nation
Remember that time that CBS aired a reality show based on Lord of the Flies. You know the one where they filmed kids aged 8-15 running a town all by themselves to see what would happen? No? You probably blocked it out of your head because WHAT WERE THE ADULTS THINKING? OMG, come on humans, we’re better than that. I think? Actually based on this list, maybe not. Maybe this show just came too early on in the whole “let’s see how much we can harm young children” reality TV show trend.
9. Disney Channel Shows
Okay these aren’t reality shows, but the reality of their after effects is enough that they made the top spot on this list. Do me a favor real quick and name one Disney star who emerged from the Disney machine unscathed. And don’t say Hilary Duff. Don’t you dare say it. She’s totally normaled out now (and has an adorable kid to boot), but she did spend her teen years in a love triangle with Aaron Carter and Lindsay Lohan. That’s gotta scar someone for life. So ring a ding ding, if you see a parent entering an audition for a Disney Channel show with their kids, call child services.