TLC is not TV

TLC used to be called “The Learning Channel,” good thing they changed it because there is very little learning going on.
The programming, since the switch, has become more family friendly, replacing their slogan “a place for learning minds” with “life surprises.” The only surprise you will find on this network is someone actually acting normally.
There is definitely plenty to watch in the 21st Century but most of it is garbage. With football season over, people are waking up to the fact that almost everything on TV is just plain stupid. A great example of this mindless TV fad is the History Channel  — not a whole lot of history going on there. More like “Hey, watch these rednecks shoot gators in the face.” Or “Hey, watch these Oregonian rednecks chop down huge trees.”
These shows (“Swamp People” and “Ax Men” — in case you didn’t know) do highlight an interesting positive aspect of this inane TV fad: They are addictive to watch. The History Channel has a few of these types of shows, but, according to my girlfriend, it seems TLC takes the cake (literally, there are three different shows about baked confections) when it comes to stupid TV.
If you’re near your TV, turn it to TLC right now. Brace yourself if you do because there are 28 shows on TLC and about half of them will turn your brain into mush.
Let’s start with “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” Where to begin? How about the description from TLC: “A visually arresting portrait of the secretive, extravagant and surprising world of gypsies in Britain today.” My God! How torturous! I would guesstimate that watching this show is akin to getting shocked, repeatedly.
Britain has a group of people who, as far as I can tell, don’t care for so-called gypsies. I don’t know what these people did to deserve such disrespect but I’m sure it must have had something to do with these over-the-top secret weddings. My theory is that the people of England have seen enough and have been resorting to excommunication to keep these marriage-happy-fashion-disasters out of sight.  And that is exactly what you should do if you ever happen to see this show on TV, look away — quickly.
If you thought a showcase of British culture was bad enough, you might want to prepare yourself for this: “Toddlers and Tiaras.”
I am so embarrassed by this show, mostly for these kids, but also for America. George Carlin would turn in his grave if he saw this level of child worship. Parents withholding and rewarding kids with food? Well, that’s wrong. Children taken out of school for a beauty pageant? That’s just bad. Five-year-old Isabelle calling out her 3-year-old competitor for wearing a “hooker costume?” I don’t want to live on this planet anymore. Seeing bad parenting in public is bad enough but a montage of it is enough to make me want to keel over and die. I highly advise you to avoid this show at all costs.
The problem with all these spotlights of American culture is that there is a “can’t-look-away factor” that keeps you coming back for more. It is like watching a train wreck, you can’t look away. But this train wreck is full of ugly clothes, obsessive behavior and one-liners that will put the palm of your hand to your face.
There are some shows that won’t make you want to set the cast on fire. I am talking about “What not to wear” and “Extreme Couponing.” But still, even those two can, at times, make your skin crawl.
So consider this your warning. Stop watching TLC. Think about how future generations (if they make it) will look back on these shows. It won’t be pretty.

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