I just watched two seasons of Toddlers and Tiaras. I need help.
April 15, 2014 2:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm sick. I'm watching a lot of Netflix. Specifically, I've been watching a lot of Toddlers and Tiaras. At first I didn't know what had come over me, but I think...I just like watching kids get interviewed about their lives? Even if their lives are ridiculous? I'm in my early thirties and I'm also super into those AT&T commercials so maybe it's a biological clock thing, but I'm too exhausted to second-guess myself about it. I know John & Kate + 8 exists, but that's just as gross and exploitative as T&T, as far as I can tell. I loved the 7 Up documentaries and also enjoyed Babies. What other recommendations for reality TV/documentary film about kids, pitched to adults, do you have for me? Bonus points if it's online. Thanks!
posted by pretentious illiterate to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'. It won Best Documentary at the Oscars that year, and is great fun - it's about the dance program Jacques D'Amboise ran for a while in New York's public schools.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:07 PM on April 15, 2014

Is 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom something that might interest you? I recently watched the documentary First Position and really enjoyed it.
posted by kat518 at 2:08 PM on April 15, 2014

Kids Say the Darndest Things - either the very early Art Linkletter series or the remake Bill Cosby version. Both are pretty funny as they interview kids.
posted by cecic at 2:09 PM on April 15, 2014

There's always the trainwreck that is Dance Moms.
posted by kinetic at 2:09 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

First Position is really excellent, although the age range of the interviewees is more preteens/teens. I'm pretty sure Netflix has it available for streaming.
posted by shornco at 2:10 PM on April 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

"Child of our Time" is (was? not sure if it's carried on) a BBC documentary that followed the lives of a number of children born in 2000, meeting up with them yearly to see how their lives have changed, and track their development. Should be online somewhere.
posted by mymbleth at 2:10 PM on April 15, 2014

I was planning to recommend 7 Up - so glad you've watched it!

Here's a huge list of documentaries about children.

I particularly like Spellbound
posted by leitmotif at 2:10 PM on April 15, 2014

There was a great one shown on PBS called Please Vote For Me about 3rd graders in China campaigning for class monitor.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 2:11 PM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you can view Youtube, the "Kids React To..." videos there are pretty funny. And "Kid History" too.
posted by tacodave at 2:12 PM on April 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Came into say Dance Moms. Spellbound is great, too. And Jesus Camp, if that's you're thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kid Nation! That somewhat controversial reality show where a gaggle of kids got to take over a "ghost town" and were charged with building a community and supporting themselves largely "unsupervised" except for host and crew. Looks like you might find it on youtube if not elsewhere. So many adorably earnest interviews.
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Brooklyn Castle, about IS318 and the NYC public school (and beyond) chess program. Great movie and kids.
posted by kcm at 2:17 PM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed Mad Hot Ballroom--it reminded me of the excellent Spellbound, which someone else mentioned above.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:18 PM on April 15, 2014

To Be and to Have is a really nice French documentary about schoolchildren.

On the less highbrow end of the scale, there's 19 Kids and Counting.
posted by lakeroon at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I came in here to recommend To Be and to Have. It won't rot your brain but it will please you greatly.
posted by janey47 at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2014

While the adult version has its share of unpleasant, shouty moments, MasterChef Junior is endearing. Season 2 starts later this year.
posted by gnomeloaf at 2:40 PM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm about to mark a few favorites, but these are all great! Hopefully, I have watched my last episode of Toddlers and Tiaras - my soul thanks you.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 2:45 PM on April 15, 2014

I'm also super into those AT&T commercials

I binge-watched a bunch of these the other day and found this nice little"behind the scenes" piece. I was happy to see that the kids really are unscripted and to find out the spots are directed by The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:05 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The PBS miniseries Broadway or Bust is pretty fun.
posted by bluefly at 3:46 PM on April 15, 2014

I went looking for confirmation of my memory of American and South African versions of the Up series, and there appear to be many similar documentaries listed in the Similar Documentaries section of the Up Series Wikipedia article.

I'm personally going to have to track down the USSR one.
posted by cmoj at 4:26 PM on April 15, 2014

Make Believe
The Short Game (streaming on Netflix)
posted by lakemarie at 4:43 PM on April 15, 2014

Watch all the Kid Snippets!
posted by mibo at 5:13 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nthing Dance Moms. The choreographer's cut is better. You get to see the whole dances. Plus the crazy moms.
posted by kathrynm at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2014

If you haven't seen it, Hoop Dreams is excellent and on Netflix, last time I checked.
posted by hairy terrarium at 8:36 PM on April 15, 2014

Please Vote For Me is like Game of Thrones in middle school
posted by spunweb at 10:44 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

19 Kids and Counting? Sister Wives?
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 9:08 AM on April 17, 2014

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