TLC: The Sad Channel

Once upon a time, there was a network called TLC, short for “The Learning Channel”. It was a cool channel to watch! It’s prime entertainment was educational programs and documentaries, both of which were chock-fulla learnin’! Ever since I was little, I loved watching educational programming. It showed otherwise dry subject matter in an entertaining way. Up here in Ontario, Canada, we had TVO (Television Ontario), which was like PBS. It was one of my favourite channels to watch.

When I got my first satellite dish, I was looking forward to watching more channels, like Knowledge (a western Canada PBS-style channel), the ‘actual’ PBS, Discovery channel, History, and TLC. But even then, there were some shows that weren’t all that educational. The more I watched, the more sensational they got, and more turned off I was.

It was also during that time that Reality TV was breaking huge. Sadly, TLC jumped on the bandwagon, with shows like Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, A Wedding Story, and A Baby Story. They were sorta harmless, and there was still educational shows on TLC, so I didn’t mind.

Perhaps I, and others, should have minded back then, cause now, it’s a mess. Shows like Kate Plus 8, Extreme Couponing, 19 Kids and Counting, and Sarah Palin’s Alaska have shown where TLC was prepared to go. I thought it hit the bottom with Toddlers & Tiaras, a pedophile’s dream show, filled with little kids dolled up like little adults. What blew my mind was that I was really wrong. Toddlers and Tiaras wasn’t rock-bottom. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is rock-bottom.

For those blessed enough to be oblivious to this show, I’m sorry to have to reveal the idea behind this sad, sad show. It is a spin-off of Toddlers & Tiaras, featuring beauty pageant contestant named Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, her mother, June Shannon, her father, Mike Thompson, and her sisters. The show is filmed in a town outside Macon, Georgia, and reveals the life of this one particular family.

This kind of “day-in-the-life”, cameras-following-people show has been done before, but usually with wealthy people, people used to being over-exposed, and exploited. This show is gross. What it is doing to the family, showing their life in all its gory, white-trash glory, should be akin to child abuse.

The child at the center of the show, Honey Boo Boo, is a sweet, average kid, who has had her head so jammed fulla crap from beauty pageants, and now reality TV, that she’ll probably end up completely messed up, using other reality shows to support her over-inflated sense of importance. I would hope her Mom or Dad would do something to change this, but they seem quite happy to let this happen to a little kid. What is worse, TLC, and anyone who regularly watches this show, are encouraging this idea of so-called “entertainment”!

There are literally millions of kids around the world who are treated terribly every second, yet there aren’t cameras there to film it for primetime television. Why not? Maybe TLC hasn’t scoured the nation or the world hard enough. I’m sure there are other children to exploit, and low-income families display on TV for the world to laugh at? Yes, I know they probably spin some idea that they are showing a slice of American life. But there’s no dignity in what they show. All they care about is profits and viewers. The show is dirt-cheap to make, and easy to promote to the lowest common denominator.

What I said before, about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo being rock-bottom is probably wrong. In fact, as you read this, I’m sure the producers at TLC are watching the hype surrounding this show and trying to think up the next exploitive piece of shit to draw in the mindless zombie viewers. Even as I write this, sadly, I’m helping spread the word of this show. Hopefully you, dear reader, are smarter than the average viewer. Hopefully you’ll see what I’m trying to accomplish here, instead of mindlessly switching on the TV and seeing what Honey Boo Boo is up to next.

There is a simple way to eliminate such trash from television. Don’t watch. Don’t casually watch it, don’t channel surf over to it, and most importantly, talk to people about what this show is really about. Exploiting the lower-income families and children.

I’m just waiting to see if TLC will rebrand themselves, “TEC: The Exploitation Channel”. Or maybe “TUEC: The Un-Educated Channel”, Personally, I think is should be “TSC: The Sad Channel”, cause once upon a time, it was all about learning. When the learning ends, that’s just… sad.


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