What Has Become of TLC?


Submitted by email from Beagles 4

I remember growing up in the 60's and 70's when we were told that the programming on television was all acting. Nothing was real and our parents told us so. Television was mainly wholesome entertainment like sitcoms, made for TV movies, cartoons, Sesame Street, and game shows. The evening news was all that was real and we were sheltered from watching this. "Hell" was considered a bad word to hear on TV.

In the early 80's, television consisted of the same type of shows, although, with more selection, and included more educational programming like Nova, nature shows, and documentaries to aid in learning science and history. This was interesting educational programming. Nature programs provided children with a chance to see animals and other things that up untii then had only been found in books. Also more news shows like Dateline, Primetime, and 20/20 were aired for adult viewers. These shows were very interesting and informative.

In the mid 80's and early 90's, daytime talk shows became predominant. Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey were tasteful and among the first to do these shows. The competition became rampant, in this time period , with others like Maury Povich, Ricki Lake, and Jerry Springer, to mention a few. These shows had people air their dirty laundry on national television for the world to see. These newer shows became trashy and that drew large audiences. Topics such as paternity tests, family dysfunction, and morally incorrect topics became repetitive, but viewers were attracted to others' lifestyles. The trashier, the better, it seemed.

As the mid 90's rolled around, trashy daytime talk shows seemed to be replaced by reality tv shows, like Survivor, as viewer favourites. These showed that people would do anything, including risking their lives, for the almighty dollar. Viewers became addicted to these shows where people ate insects (among other things), did dangerous stunts, and basically put life and limb on the line for money, as we all watched in anticipation each week to see who would win. Suddenly, there were an abundance of reality shows. Gone were many well written sitcoms and made for TV movies.

TLC/Discovery once offered a type of programming when families could sit together and watch decent shows. It was an escape from the reality programs that were taking over the airways. It consisted of programming that had educational elements, hence the name The Learning Channel.

With so many television stations emerging, leading to more competition to get high ratings, TLC began to follow the reality TV trend that was so popular. This channel no longer focused on learning and began integrating reality shows on obesity, as well as disorders that showed people who were drastically different from the so called norm. This started as educational, but then became a freak show where people were coming forward and revealing their stories for the world to see. It seemed TLC gave more air time to more shows that showed the weirder the condition or the heavier the person TLC gave more air time to these shows. Also included were their weekly programs from makeovers to people having children in abundance.

Here are a few examples of today's TLC mix of reality trash television."What Not To Wear" which uses sarcasm to belittle a person's wardrobe and teaches viewers that a 5 day make-over that includes a two day shopping spree, and learning to dress well will change their life for the better. If this were the case, we wouldn't need therapists."Flip That House" which shows that buying a home and renovating it in a short time can allow you to sell for a high profit. There have been many people influenced by this, because it looked easy on the show, and lost all their money."The Duggar Family" which shows how easy it is to raise an abundance of well behaved, Christian children which has led to every large family in America wanting to tell their story on TV."Jon & Kate Plus 8"—now this one is my primary concern and the reason for GWoP. A struggling, young family who can't conceive children and with medical intervention end up with 2 sets of multiple births. The sextuplet birth is the primary reason for this show. As we have viewed this over the past few years, we've seen how bad reality programming has gotten. Jon & Kate have turned their miracle births into a media circus. This is a program that entails exploitation of children at their most intimate moments. We have witnessed Kate Gosselin turn into a greedy, whiny, self-centered monster. She has become the face of the perfect mother in many eyes. With the show, endorsements, book writing, church speaking, and multiple television and magazine interviews, she and her family have now become well to do. However, many of these have led many people to believe that the family is needy. She acts like she is the only woman who has ever had 8 children.

Kate is self-centered, selfish, belittles her husband, and neglects her children. She does all this to make money. She has become the advisor and role model for the mother of octuplets. She is the woman that many of us love to hate or love to love. Kate Gosselin, the coupon clipping, overwhelmed mother of 8, is now one of the most sought out nobodies in America. This is one woman who has taken the media by storm and TLC is the one network who allowed this to happen. There's no point in going on about her since each of us has his/her own opinion.What has become of TLC which was once loved and watched by families for its educational programming? It has become as trashy as any programming can get. It has taught some that having loads of children will bring them a TV show and lots of money. What will this be teaching our children? This is becoming a network that will have to be blocked for child viewing. TLC makes shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy not look so bad after all. Before TLC changed, these were the shows we didn't want our kids to watch.

What are we learning from TLC now?-It's alright to make people, who are different, into circus freaks-It's alright to show sarcasm and belittle people for their looks and choice of wardrobe

-It's easy to flip a house and turn a large profit
-It's alright to have babies in large quantities, and the more born in a single pregnancy, the better
-It's perfectly acceptable to pimp out your children as a merchandising tool and call that a job
-It's perfectly acceptable to belittle your spouse, neglect your kids, yell and scream, hit, claim poverty while moving up the financial ladder, scam viewers/public to get what you want, rant and rave how hectic life is when living in a country that offers so much, while riding on the gravy train

It's sad to see that the youth of America are learning a whole new meaning to work ethics and child rearing as TLC continues to air these programs. I can't believe moral ethics have been set aside by TLC in order to achieve high ratings and therefore more money. This programming has to stop before society becomes more corrupt. Wake up TLC. As quoted by the famous Kate Gosselin "Helloooo…"

74 comments:

Katie C. said...

Wow, that was an excellent post. I was just discussing with my mother the other day about how TLC has gone down the proverbial drain. It used to be educational - and now it is just a freak show. I won't even let my son watch the channel anymore, it has disgusted me so much. Thanks for this post!

MichelleS said...

Well said...thanks for posting

London said...

Frankly, I am a bit puzzled as to your hatred for "Flip that House". anybody who has actually sat down and watched the program knows that it is far from "easy" and the flippers don't always make lots of cash, their houses don't always sell. If anybody in recent years was actually influenced by this show then I have to assume they don't have brains. With the market cooling (a fact that was usually highlighted at the beginning of each show), and the fact that they highlighted mostly "professional" flippers, I don't know anybody who looked at the show and thought "man this is easy cash"

Dunwoody Mom said...

Your piece was dead-on. At one point TLC could be relied upon to provide quality programming for the entire family, but not anymore. Oh, and don't get me started on "What Not to Wear". Belittling and making fun of people - shameful.

And we must not forget newest piece of TLC garbage - "Toddlers and Tiara's".

Jacqueline Killebrew said...

The only show on TLC that (I feel,) hasn't completely jumped the shark is Little People, Big World. The Roloff's seem down to earth, and appriciative of the oppportunities the show has given them. The have a good take on it all, and are humble. As for some saying that the house and farm have become showplaces, it's well documented that Matt has been working on it for years. Decades.

Good for them, I say!

They still have their other business, and the farm. They do the lecture circut, (as they ALWAYS have,) to bring attention to little people.

In other words, I can't really see where TLC has changed them for the worse.

It's kind of like winning the lottery- the money dosen't change you- it simply magnifies who you were to begin with.

Kate Gosselin, anyone?

Lexie said...

Terrific post!

I've always hated "What Not to Wear" and considered it pretty mean-spirited. Does anyone else remember "Ten Years Younger?" Not sure if its on anymore since I rarely watch that channel anymore, but the part where they put the "contestants" in the box and have people guess their age is incredibly mean.

The only show I like on that channel is "Mystery Diagnosis", but I'm pretty sure that one started on Discovery Health, which is for the most part, a more educational channel.

ReelinYears said...

What Not to Wear is a fantastic show. The people on that show can attest to the fact that their self-confidence skyrockets, not to mention the fact at how appreciative they feel that someone was willing to help them. Our physical appearances are important to how we feel about ourselves (whether we admit it or not), and that show encourages people to feel their best.

Stacy London is huge in her field, and I like that she's willing to help out the average folk. And, let's face it, most of America (myself included) doesn't know how to dress. I've gotten so many great tips from that show. I'm not sure how that show can be considered negative. I actually love TLC. Sorry, I said it.

Liesl said...

There's been questionable stuff on TV for a long time, but it's gone from being the exception to the norm. I was born in the early 60's, and remember watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon, and seeing the fall of Saigon on the evening news...

During the daytime, soap operas have been presenting entertainment designed to look a lot like real life since the 50's. They were really the first to blur the line between entertainment and the real world. And as for talk shows, I remember my mom watching Phil Donahue, Merv Griffin, and Dinah Shore during the day in the 70's. Merv and Dinah mostly chatted with celebrities at their desks, but Phil was the first to bring on controversial guests and deal with edgy topics. He was the one that gave us the medium that led to Jerry Springer, Oprah, Montel, Tyra, and all the other talk/issue shows crowding the airwaves.

At night, shows like Laugh-In, Love American Style, Three's Company, Charlie's Angels, and The Love Boat pushed the limits and redefined what was thought of as "entertainment". They opened the door, and once the horse got out of the barn...everything else followed.

The bottom line is, the people who make TV shows will throw anything and everything at the wall to see if it sticks--if people watch it, it stays on.

The solution: vote with the remote. Watch what's worthwhile, avoid the trash. It's tempting to watch, but it's really just voyeurism. We also need to teach our kids to be discerning consumers, because they're growing up with this as the status quo.

Sheri said...

I don't agree at all with the thoughts on "What Not To Wear". They don't claim to completely fix a person by changing their wardrobe, they just help them feel better about themselves, and if you see the change in people after you would see that it works. And those women/men continue to feel better about themselves even after the show. Most of the problems focused on are poor body image and self esteem and I would have to say that What Not to Wear does help these people immensly but showing them that they are beautiful inside and out.

Stacy and Clinton may make fun of their old clothes, but they say a lot of really sweet things about the person inside all of those raggedy cloths. Out of everything on TLC over the last few years, I would say this is the best show they have because it is all about changing someone's life for the better.

Laura Linger said...

This is a really well-done piece.

And if there is one woman I hate a little bit more than Hate Gosselin, it's that ugly Stacy woman from What Not To Wear. What a pompous little bint she is.

Ilse said...

I want to say this: I also love what not to wear. In this world appearance is everything: it bolsters self esteem and it impacts peoples opinions on you. What's wrong with a show that helps people look their best? They never criticize people for being overweight, they help them dress with their body, give them the right hair and make up. I have no problem with that. Yes they can occasionally be rude about their "before" outfits but come on...its what all the viewers were thinking.

J. Killebrew said...

Liesl brought up a good point- Back in the day, (okay, 70's, for example,) Three's Company was considered very racy. Paul Lyne on Hollywood Squares made some extrememly off color jokes and remarks, etc. Even Good Times aired an episode that came with a 'Parental Guidance Suggested', when J.J. had an STD! Even All In The Family was considered as bad by those standards as Nip/Tuck is today. Let's not forget Maude, (her abortion,) and then the 80's came along.

Boy, those were the days.

Several years ago, a relative who hadn't been in the States for years came to visit. As he sat waiting for a connecting flight, he watched American TV in the airport. Shock was all he could think, at our programming, the sheer trash on our airwaves.

And we wonder why other countries think we are gun totin', violent, stupid, sexually deviant, circus freak, Godless trash.

Corinne said...

The only thing I'm learning on The Learning Channel is how to be a b!tch.

lea said...

It does not matter how much people dislike TLC or that horrible show Jon & Kate Plus 8 it will never be cancelled anytime soon because according to some research the minute the octuplet's were born, J&K went up 76% or 3.7 million viewers tuned in. This was the highest ever.
Face it, J&K are laughing all the way to the bank. You can stop buying P&G products or e-mail TLC and everyone, but I do not see any thing's changing. Society want's to see large families on TV no matter what the outcome.

mollybloom said...

Tacky has been with TV from the beginning. Does anyone remember Queen for a Day from the late 50's (the forerunner to many sob-for-money programs, including the Gosselins')? If not, the premise was this: a group of female contestants came on the show and were coaxed by the host to tell their personal stories of hardship (back in those days, I suspect the stories were true). After the dramatic tales with accompanying tears, the audience applauded for each contestant and the loudness of the clapping was registered on the applause-o-meter. The "winner," now stripped of her dignity, was draped in a white robe and a sparkling crown--a queen! She was then presented with a gift. The gift was almost always a kitchen appliance from the sponsoring company and had nothing to do with the contestant's immediate need.

Fast-forward forty years. Jon and Kate bring their story of hardship and sacrifice to the little screen. The audience decides their situation is touching enough to merit loud applause. Sadly, the applause-o-meter hit the scrap heap long ago, but no matter. They are then given products, needed or not, that get a company's name on the airwaves, altruistically and cheaply. The viewers get to be voyeurs in others' lives.

It's one of the formulas that makes TV, well, what it is.

kathyv said...

This is our chance, people....let's use the new potential star of TLC from California ("Crazy Octuplet Lady" (my quote)to
STOP THE MADNESS!
Stop reading about her, stop watching her on TV, complain to networks and magazines who feature her. This is society's chance to stop supporting this C-R-A-P!

Annie said...

lea,
I agree with you 100% I wish that it was not so, but I think the Kon's are here to stay!

irateb/cofkate said...

Good post.

I've always had a bad feeling about "What Not to Wear". If I saw Skunk Stripe Stacy standing there with a credit card all for me, I would not give in. I do not like the whole idea of the show. Here is free money, go change who you are so you fit in in society.

Kon + 8 is a whole other story...

Not much to learn on this channel anymore! But I do not see anything wrong with Flip that House...helps the economy!!! (You could argue that for WNTW too but come on, the general idea of the show is just belittling!)

marypoppins said...

I agree that TLC had changed.
I used to enjoy Clean Sweep. I was horrified at the quantity of THINGS people would accumulate- these were not rich people yet they shopped and spent. Children do not need a roomful of toys.

I enjoyed seeing such people be ing taught how to purge and stop buying things. You really do FEEL better when you house is clean and light.

Little people big world.
Yes they are making money off of showing their kids and yes i would love to go clean their house sometimes. But they did have the farm and regular jobs before the show and if they stopped the show today, they could continue running the farm, stool sets, pre school teacher, soccer coach. The kids are given their privacy and are big enough to state what they want or dont want.The grand parents/family are around and part of their lives. They do seem to be happy family- we do see love and respect, thankfulness.

J and K plus eight- this was fun and cute in the beginning but has to stop now. Kate is NOT a supermom, perfect mom, role model. No none of the above.
I cant think of the last time i saw her in the episode BEING a Mom.

I have heard them say "there were times when we though we wont have food on the table" I thought this was strange after someone posted the list donated to them by companies. Their basic needs were provided. I always thought that Jon should have insisted that he go back to school before having a 3rd child. How was he planning to care for a family of 5? I woudl like to think that he is quietly working on a degree long distance

She speaks to him as if he is a tup. "what did I just say?" "We do not...."
In the 1 hr special he says he has selective hearing. She seems to lack respect for him.

I dont believe its just the grand parents dont want to be filmed (I would have understood that.)
If they were in their lives, we would have heard the kids make some type of reference to them at least once!

Underwear,pooped, potty.. oh boy why do we have to hear these words in every episode. Poor Joel when he gets to high school..."shout out.."
Im sure someone will leave two m and m's on their desks at school- "you get two m and m's"

The kids all lack discipline.
Cara look so withdrawn in evey episode and Maddy is going to hurt someone. I do wonder what their behaviour is like at school.

Virginia said...

I will not watch TLC until this program is removed, J&K. And this makes me mad because I really did like Little People Big World. The more I watched that, the more I didn't see a family with disabilities at all and, as someone who never knew a little person, that is really something. They are real, they will always be real, their family comes first, their friends are their life-long friends.

The Kon show is not now real and I am beginning to doubt if it was ever a real struggle for these two since they apparently had a sugar daddy all along (Jon's dad) and support from the good people of the state of Pennsylvania, as well as corporate folks, Giant food store and church people -- all involved in making their lives easier and brighter. These two did not have to sell their own souls to the devil or sell their children's childhood and privacy. They wanted more...and more and more and more.

So TLC will never get me back if it continues to show this. And, BTW, I have written to P&G and all the sponsors many times and it really pisses me off that P&G is saying they have rec'd so few objections to Katie Irene. Lie to the public, P&G, and your Tide may never sell again.

Laura Linger said...

"its what all the viewers were thinking"

Maybe if you are a judgmental shrew fixated on the notion that everyone "in society" must fit in with no originality or variations whatsoever.

There are those of us who reserve our judgment for people who feel as though everyone must conform in order to be "accepted" by those with limited horizons and viewpoints in need of broadening...

elizabeth said...

My husband is a television executive at a major cable network. He and his staff create & determine the shows that are on television.

I come from a religious and highly moral background. When I visit my family, I constantly hear "why does Hollywood put stuff like that on television?"

It is 100% in the ratings. Ratings are delivered to our house every morning via the internet and rank, on the half hour, how a show did. If an hour long show, lost viewership 1/2 way through a show, why did that happen and what network and show did they turn to?
Shows are ranked by ratings and compared, by ratings, to shows over the past few years on both its own network and its competitors.

Ratings also determine ad revenue.

Executives work hard to be "ahead of the curve" of what people want. They do make mistakes and sometimes its like needing a crystal ball to determine what people want.

However, it is all determined in the end when shows receive ratings or not. If they don't, they will go off the air - even mid-season, mid-contract. Executives lose their jobs over putting on shows that do not generate enough ratings. Morality is never considered, unless it is in the nature of the executive.

Your case, in the article, is well stated. That tv has gone down the tubes.

I do, though, have to add that it is 100% the viewers who determine what stays on television.

I am not exonerating the tv industry for setting it up this way and, I don't think, I'm really defending them.

I'm really just saying that the American public is as responsible for tv content as the people who put programming on the air.

I understand the comment made that if one does not live in a Neilson home it doesn't matter what one watches. I haven't actually asked my husband about this yet.

I can say that the Nielson ratings are considered to be a sampling of what is happening in the greater public. Controversary, unfortunately, is so very good for ratings.

The controversal Howard Stern always says "then turn the channel". What he is saying is dead on, the American public controls what's on television.

Tangerine Tanya said...

Excellent post! This is my favorite line "We have witnessed Kate Gosselin turn into a greedy,whiny,self-centered monster"

June C said...

TLC has become The "Jerry Springer" network. Little People, Big World needs to be moved to another network since it doesn't fall into the Jerry Springer category.

Parsley said...

The Big House episode aired the same night the octuplets were born. I think a more reasonable view is that people tuned in to see the house and see if the rumors about its size were true. What is telling is that if that episode was a 76% increase is that their viewership had dropped over 1.5 million since their peak last fall. Good news indeed for the children.

barb said...

TLC has become the channel for peeking in your neighbors windows and not getting arrested for it.

BostonBean said...

True....some things I really do like on TLC. But for the MOST part, I think TLC is a moral statement: "The Lost Compass".

Beagles 4 said...

I didn't mean to offend anyone who likes Flip That House and What Not To Wear. I do realize that some flippers aren't always successful, but have read about more people doing this based on the success that they see in the show, while losing their money. A one half hour show doesn't tell all the facts.

I also do understand that dressing well makes a person feel good about themselves, but there is more to it than nice clothes. Body image and low self-esteem are huge issues and although the show doesn't pick on individuals about their body type, the sarcasm is about what clothing they were wearing before they went on the show and choices they make while shopping. Old habits are hard to break.I would never subject myself to go on What Not To Wear. I see how some people are traumatized by seeing their old clothing go and I would be one of those.

I had to think of some examples, when making this post, and do realize that there are so many others that I should have mentioned in lieu of these 2. One being Toddlers and Tiaras. Has TLC forgotten about Jon Bonet Ramsey. This show is thoroughly disgusting and probably tops J&K for child exploitation.

My main point was to think of some examples of TLC programming to put in my post.

PM said...

Trading Spaces use to be TLC's number one show. Any time of the day you could turn on TLC and see TS much like J+K. People got tired of seeing the outlandish goofy room makeovers and stopped watching. TS lost their top spot and ratings plummeted.

Guess what the moral to the story is?

Sheri said...

Body image and low self-esteem are huge issues and although the show doesn't pick on individuals about their body type, the sarcasm is about what clothing they were wearing before they went on the show and choices they make while shopping. Old habits are hard to break.I would never subject myself to go on What Not To Wear. I see how some people are traumatized by seeing their old clothing go and I would be one of those.

I do see what you are saying, but most people who go on the show are shopping that way because they dont' know any differently, or they feel they don't need to dress well now because they haven't lost all the weight they wanted.

What I really like about the show is that Stacy and Clinton help these people recognize that they can love themselves no matter what body they have. They aren't telling these people to lose weight, they are saying that you don't need to look like you don't care about yourself in the process. They should be proud of the bodies they have and recognize they are beautiful no matter what size they are.

I'm not trying to create an argument or anything, this just happens to be a show that I really like and I think most of the people who are hating on it probably haven't watched that much of it. The confidence the women/men leave with is huge in comparison to the confidence they had coming into the show. I think I've only ever seen 1 episode where someone was still unhappy after.

The whole message behind the show is incredibly positive, I think.

Taylor Taylor said...

June C said...
TLC has become The "Jerry Springer" network. Little People, Big World needs to be moved to another network since it doesn't fall into the Jerry Springer category.

2/06/2009 12:52 PM

---

Are you kidding me, June?! LPBW *IS* the original KON. And just like KON, LPBW did it first.

- The Roloffs did it at first for noble reasons; to show the world they're just like regular people.

- But KON did it PURELY for income to support a giganormous family *THEY* chose to have.

But the two forks in the road come together as the series hits its stride. It's aaaall about the perks and they become selfish, self-indulging divas.

Check out the LPBW IMDb message board. It's a (rightfully so) b***ch-fest over there by sanctimonious, hypocritical Roloff families. About the _only_ thing that now separates them from KON is the fact that there's no Roloffs Without Pity blog dedicated to them. They're repulsive!

4girlsoneboy said...

The only show on TLC that (I feel,) hasn't completely jumped the shark is Little People, Big World. The Roloff's seem down to earth, and appriciative of the oppportunities the show has given them. The have a good take on it all, and are humble. As for some saying that the house and farm have become showplaces, it's well documented that Matt has been working on it for years. Decades.

Good for them, I say!

They still have their other business, and the farm. They do the lecture circut, (as they ALWAYS have,) to bring attention to little people.

In other words, I can't really see where TLC has changed them for the worse.


Jacqueline, I couldn't agree with you more. Don't you think this has something to do with Amy having been a good person before she ever appeared on TLC. I am not crazy about Matt although I don't dislike him. I keep asking myself why I feel so strongly about my feelings for Kate. Has there ever been such a villain on TV before? No matter where I go anymore conversations seem to turn to the Gosselins and I haven't heard one nice thing about them for sometime.

kateisaWHACKjob said...

My husband hates "What Not to Wear". He hates it that in order for a person to get $5000 worth of new clothes, he or she has to suffer being ridiculed by Stacy and Clinton on TV. He hates Stacy more than Clinton because she is more brutal with how she criticizes the person. Ironically, I saw an earlier episode (2003) and they were not as sarcastic as they are now. I guess sarcasm sells?

J. Killebrew said...

4Girls- Thank You! I feel the same- Something about Kate just rubs me the wrong way. She pushy and domineering.

I mentioned that it's like winning the lottery- the money dosen't change you, it just personafies who you really are.

The Netwrok Exec's wife that posted said it BEST- (quoting Howard Stern,) If you don't like it, don't listen. I know this, but I just can't stop myself. It's like I have J&K tourette's! Aaaarrgghhh...

luna1580 said...

The Learning Channel: TLC should have changed it's name years ago, it still makes me mad that they have zero educational programing left.

that said, i feel all the people hating on "what not to wear" haven't really listened to the show at all. the whole point is they say wonderful things about who these (mostly) women are, and teach them how to use clothing to let the world see the great person wearing it.

yeah they might make fun of a shirt that makes a 40 year old look like she stole it from a teen-aged hooker -but they never make fun of the woman wearing it! rather they tell her she is a person worthy of respect and that she is too beautiful to be using such outrageous clothing as a costume, distraction, or other defense mechanism.

then they show her how to look and FEEL twice as sexy as she wanted to (but never really did) in "hooker shirt" in an outfit that shows the world she respects herself and expects others to do the same.

-how can that possibly be a bad thing? the message of the show is "you are more than your clothes. use clothing to show the real, beautiful you."

and carmindy never puts more makeup on anyone than they are comfortable with. she listens to their lifestyle and what they want their look to say and then shows an easy, beautiful way to get it. and she always points out at least one "great feature" on every woman's face and tells her she's beautiful.

yhu said...

Hello everyone, I'm a big fan of this site but I have only lurked before. It really has opened my eyes and the commentary is always enjoyable.

However, I feel the need to agree with you on flip that house. My family and I are victims of a flip house. The people who re did it did a terrible job- they hooked up no appliances (what a surprise we had when we went to turn on the dishwasher and had a flood in the kitchen), massacred the plumbing so when we used the second shower parts of the ceiling caved in, they didn't ground the wiring in the attic- amongst other minor and more serious problems... sadly we did have the house inspected.

I used to watch flip that house hoping that people would suceed in their projects and hopefully sell them. Now I watch with more than slight bitterness. I wish TLC would create a show about the true victims of flipping houses- the poor people who end up living them. I'm not saying all house flipping companies or groups are bad... but they are out there. Those who do minimal work, hire terrible carpenters, etc.

Excellent post- thank you for writing it :)

Dee Dee said...

Anybody watching TV these days would think that the average American woman can not possibly dress herself, come up with a becoming hair style or do her own makeup without a team of experts descending upon her to show her how.

I used to laugh my head off watching Sex and the City when the cameras would pan back and show the lead actresses actually trying to walk down the street in those $400 sorry-excuses-for-shoes.

And what is with the designers falling all over themselves to have the honor of dressing stars for the red carpet? 99% of the audience watching from home will never have a reason to wear a dress like that or, even if they did, wouldn’t be caught dead in some of those ridiculous styles. So why are the designers killing themselves to get the exposure? What’s the point?

Don’t even get me started on the stylists who talk these poor insecure actresses into wearing ridiculous hairdos and get ups. I can just imagine them sitting at home laughing their heads off as the stars get trashed by the media the next day.

People, stop watching these ridiculous shows and PUT AN END TO THE MADNESS!!!

Daner said...

I am hoping the backlash that is starting from the octuplet mom spills over to the Gosslings. Not that I want anything bad for any kids involved. It seems like parents having 8 or 14 kids are now expecting free stuff from everyone...like we owe them. Wrong! Maybe more and more people will see what TLC and Kon are doing and stop this free ride.

mollybloom said...

What Not to Wear ""guests" have the option to refuse the money and makeover. Apparently a handful have, although most accept. Both reality show "stars" and we viewers have the option to say no. In a media-drenched, celebrity-worshiping culture, ordinary people want to view and be viewed. Small children, those who lack mental capacity, and children are exempted and should not be exploited.

I have little sympathy for competent adults who willingly sign on to projects--especially those who do it repeatedly--and then complain when their greed brings about negative consequences.

wramblinwreck said...

I'm beginning to believe the reports that TLC is considering the possibility of doing a show on the octuplet mom. Because I just saw a commercial for their new special, The Pregnant Man. That's right, the latest freak show in the line-up is the story of the PG man, including the labor and delivery of the baby.

In fact the Sunday night schedule is:

- The Pregnant Man
- The Mermaid Girl
- The Woman With Giant Legs

All we need is the carnival barker: "Ladies and gentleman, right this way to see, before your very eyes, the amazing, the horrendous, the repulsive! Step right up!"

gameover said...

lea said...
It does not matter how much people dislike TLC or that horrible show Jon & Kate Plus 8 it will never be cancelled anytime soon because according to some research the minute the octuplet's were born, J&K went up 76% or 3.7 million viewers tuned in. This was the highest ever.
Face it, J&K are laughing all the way to the bank. You can stop buying P&G products or e-mail TLC and everyone, but I do not see any thing's changing. Society want's to see large families on TV no matter what the outcome.

*******************************
Well, I sort of seeing this as good news. If new viewers tuned in after the octo-birth....they watched Kate at her best and witnessed first hand how exploiting your children makes you rich, entitled and bitchy proving the point the critics are trying to make.
Now if the new viewers watched the first two specials, they could have been sucked in like most of us.

wramblinwreck said...

"but most people who go on the show are shopping that way because they dont' know any differently, or they feel they don't need to dress well now because they haven't lost all the weight they wanted."

This has been the main reason I've disliked WNTW: Stacy and Clinton know the person they're supposed to help doesn't know how to shop for themselves, and yet they only give the person an overall review and some examples of how they should dress, and then send them off to shop alone while they observe and make nasty comments about their poor choices. It's as if they set up these people to fail to create "good TV" because very few people who haven't been making good choices for their appearance will magically translate everything Stacy and Clinton tell them in one session at the 360 mirror review. They've spent years making those bad choices and one session is unlikely to give them all the skills they need to become a savvy shopper. I've always thought it would be much more interesting to have Stacy and Clinton actually go shopping with the person from the beginning, rather than later in the show after they've ridiculed the initial shopping done without them. Of course, eliminating the sarcasm and ridicule makes for a dull show, and more important than learning--it's entertainment!

Beagles 4 said...

"The Pregnant Man", now I've heard it all. You're right TLC is a circus show. Maybe they should travel the circuit. The only way I can see a pregnant man is what is called a hermaphrodite. This person would have both male and female parts. You can't carry a baby without a uterus,so this is the only thing I can think of to explain that one. My 8 year old happened to be looking over my shoulder when I read this post. She knows about pregnancy and how babies are made, so I had to explain what I figure can be the only way a man can have a baby. Imagine, this is what our children are watching on this so called educational station. I may as well take my child to the circus. At least it would be a day out and away from the tv to watch freak shows.

marypoppins said...

Does anyone know how much you get paid to appear on a one hour special? ( eg mermaid girl)

The pregnant man was on Oprah. She is a woman who a had a sex change, (but kept her baby having parts. her mom died when she was little and she had issues with her dad etc etc

undergrad RN said...

TLC - The Lost Cause.

Snarygirl said...

Stacey London is smart, funny, gorgeous, and sucessful...so please do not put her in the same category as stupid, ugly, child exploiting KON...

mnms are yum said...

i so so miss the TLC of early 90s.

laura linger said...

I don't need Stacy London or any other such nasty shrew telling me to "love myself no matter what my body type is" or other such nonsense. I believe that love and self-worth comes from what is on the INSIDE, not the outside. I'm a good person. I do good things. And I feel good about myself as a result.

I mean, what arrogance! Did it ever occur to Judgmental Thing One and Judgmental Thing Two on that ridiculous show that their "targets" ALREADY like themselves and how they look and do not want their so-called sage advice?

Ariana said...

what not to wear is actually a show that is based off of the british version (much like "the office" and "kath & kim" and many other non-reality shows in america).

i disagree with you about "flip that house." that show is mostly based on first-time flippers (London - the A&E version is based completely on professional flippers) and i've actually learned a lot about home renovation from that show.

toddlers & tiara's is just a ridiculous show. well, it's not so much that it's ridiculous, but the parents are ridiculous. the thing i question, though, is that most of the postings on this site is about how kate exploits her children - doesn't toddler's and tiara's kind of expose the exploitation side of pageants? i watched one tonight where a 2-year-old was participating. her parents claimed it was to "make her confidant and prepare her for the future." in my opinion, kids can get the same confidence doing dance or gymnastics or theatre... things in which kids are not competing for a lump of cash.

but i've completely digressed from my point. it may seem unfortunate, but jon & kate plus 8 is currently TLC's highest rated show. so until that rating falls, we will continue to see the show and it is very probable that if jon & kate do decide to no longer participate in the show, TLC will give them some high-cash incentive to continue it.

Sheri said...

Did it ever occur to Judgmental Thing One and Judgmental Thing Two on that ridiculous show that their "targets" ALREADY like themselves and how they look and do not want their so-called sage advice?

If that were the case than those people would refuse the money and stay as they are. No one forces anyone onto this show, they have a choice. Obviously anyone who goes onto WNTW is open to change and their advice.

Transconian said...

When our cable picked up this channel around 1990, it really did mean The Learning Channel. Remember those shows Great Books and The Secret Life of Machines?

I agree with the poster who calls it the Total Lobotomy Channel. It's become the equivalent of the midway side show. The people who are running it now won't blink before giving that irresponsible octuplet mom in Cali a show - the fact everybody who has a TV hates her guts would be considered a draw, as far as the TLC execs are concerned.

Serena said...

This thread is technically about TLC, but please no more talk about WNTW... thanks!

Callie said...

My friend said that she saw an hour-long special on TLC one time about a man with a tail. Does anyone remember seeing this one? I noticed that they play a lot of their specials over and over and over again (and then try to pass them off as "new"). Mermaid Girl for instance was new earlier this year and it looks like they are playing it again on Sunday (along with "Pregnant Man" which actually is new). And how many times have they played "Half-Ton Man" or "World's Tallest Woman?" You'd think they'd want to play Tail-Man more than once. Lol.

just an FYI said...

don't mean to nitpick, but Phil Donahue started his talk show in the 1960's, not the 1990's

ROFL said...

Does TLC stand for:

Trashy
Lunatic
Channel
?

ROFL said...

If you dislike the TLC channel please make sure you contact your cable/satellite provider. I think if companies got enough calls from angry viewers they would be concerned. Make sure you tell them why!

havasubums said...

Remember: While You Where Out? Doing good for a loved one with a small budget? That is the TLC I remember and love :(

Maggie said...

I have seen so many of TLC's "amazing" stories, but I do want to see the man with the tail!

JJ said...

Curious: what shows on TLC used to be educational? I'm in my 20s and have vivid memories of watching TLC when I was a kid during summer holidays. I remember shows like Zoobalee Zoo but once afternoon hit, it was all Baby and Wedding stories. It seems to me it was always a "reality" show channel? Maybe I just changed the channel when something didn't interest me but I really don't recall anything terribly informative a la Discovery Channel.

London said...

Ariana-
I defer to your wisdom on that one. I do watch both A&E's and TLC's flip that house and is definitely possible I got those 2 confused!

Transconian said...

JJ said...
Curious: what shows on TLC used to be educational?

***

James Burkes' Connections and The Day that Universe Changed

http://home.comcast.net/~billotto/Day_Universe_Changed.html

A series called Understanding, that Discovery only airs on the Science Channel (which I don't get)

http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=48.15728.75667.5854.x

Walter Kronkite's War and Civilization, Carl Sagan's Cosmos.

jcurran23 said...

How about this idea for a show TLC, "Normal sized people, small house, BIG problems!"

South Carolina Mom said...

I have a few things to add:

1. One reason for the onslaught of reality television - the screen writer's guild strike. Writers of sitcoms began demanding more money for writing shows (rightfully so in my opinion). Anyway, networks dropped sitcoms and started making reality shows and game shows (Millionaire, The Weakest Link)because they were so much cheaper than having to pay writers and actors high salaries.
2. TLC and Discovery are part of the same network.
3. TLC has always been reality based programming, just not the circus freak variety being aired now.
4. Sunday is the WORST night for TLC. My husband and I called it Freak Show Night.
5. It seems like ALL TV has gone downhill, not just TLC. Shows today are trashy. It's such a shame that that's what sells.

My son watches nickelodeon and Disney movies. He's watching Pete's Dragon right now. Those were the days of family entertainment.

Sorry for the ramble. Have a great day!

Pamela Jaye said...

>TLC has become the channel for peeking in your neighbors windows and not getting arrested for it.

wow, I liked that!

also the freakshow network. - people can't still indulge their curiosity for people like Tree Man, but no one has to see them doing it, as in the days of the traveling circus. (snd we thought we had improved. we haven't - we've just pretended we have)

Of course Kate is the biggest of the freakshows. like stopping to watch an accident, some of us can't resist. (also, I really do want to see that house)
I admit to being curious about tree man or giant tumor lady.
perhaps, the shows should also let us get to know these people as people, if they must display them.

whatever. It's not the Learning channel. really.

my brother reminds me as well, that sice the days of the fischer and kienast quints and Yours, Mine and Ours - I've had a fascination with large families - alas, like Kate, i'm more interested in the logistics than in the child rearing.

Pamela Jaye said...

>1. One reason for the onslaught of reality television - the screen writer's guild strike. Writers of sitcoms began demanding more money for writing shows (rightfully so in my opinion). Anyway, networks dropped sitcoms and started making reality shows and game shows (Millionaire, The Weakest Link)because they were so much cheaper than having to pay writers and actors high salaries.

So what we are saying here is the same thing that has caused the banking disaster and all the layoffs while CEO's continue to get rich:
Greed.
If we can get more ratings and pay less for it, let's do that.
If we can put less nutrition in our food thereby spending less but getting the same $$ for the product - let's do that.
If we can lay people off and have the remainder work till they drop - let's do that.

Above all, we CEO's must keep our jobs and get more money. As for the rest of us - let them eat cake.

Pamela Jaye said...

btw, aside from the sentence that you started to edit and then got distracted (I do that too) this was a great piece and if i were the author, i'd submit it to newspaper/magazine/mainstream website - anything with a large viewership/readership. More people should hear this.

JJ said...

Beagles 4: "The Pregnant Man" is not a hermaphrodite, it's actually kind of misleading and false advertising. It's a female-to-male transexual.

Without being too politically incorrect or insensitive, it's essentially a woman who had her breasts removed and took some testosterone and grew some facial hair. "He" still has a uterus, vagina, etc. all working female organs. Got pregnant via sperm donation because "his" partner was unable to conceive. It was a media circus last year.

(please note that the "he"s in quotes is just to avoid confusion in the explanation. Politically correctly speaking (and legally since the legal gender was changed as far as I know), Thomas is a man and should be referred to as such with no questions. Therefore, he is a "pregnant man". Biologically and physically speaking, he is female with female parts. Transexual/transgender is kind of complicated and confusing, and a very sensitive topic for some so I hope I didn't offend.)

South Carolina Mom said...

Just to clarify - I was stating the reason for the increase of reality programs on television (ie. cheaper to make), not condoning the practice. I, for one, would love to see a return to well written television programming, but I do believe that the writers should be paid more, considering the astronomical salaries that the actors bring in. My vote for best written television program - Gilmore Girls. I would LOVE to see a return of that kind of programming. Keep fighting the good fight!

Beagles 4 said...

I have to add another piece of trash that TLC has been advertising to premier soon. This is "Jockeys". It's supposedly classified under "Animal Planet". This is thoroughly disgusting since we will be witnessing idiots riding horses who will be hurt (not talking about the idiots) and then done away with when they become useless to race. How can this be "Animal Planet" material? I thought "Animal Planet" was a program that aired animals in their natural habitat with how they live, survive, etc--this is without humans making money interfering in their natural livelihood. I guess although animal life is reality, it is not reality enough unless there is some jerk making money at the expense of something that can't speak or make choices for itself.

BJC said...

How can this be "Animal Planet" material? I thought "Animal Planet" was a program that aired animals in their natural habitat with how they live, survive, etc--this is without humans making money interfering in their natural livelihood.

Animal Planet is a network, not a program. Have you ever heard of Steve Irwin? His Crocodile Hunter was also on Animal Planet. Id say he "interfered" with the animals.

Punkinbugg said...

If you learn something worthwhile, it's not necessarily bad TV.

From watching WNTW, I learned how to help my teenage daughter choose a cute blazer that was flattering to her figure.

The Amazing Race (my fav.) teaches me about the world.

Supernanny teaches parents of young children how to discipline and organize a house. (HOW I WISH I'd seen those bedtime techniques when we struggled with our youngest.)

So far, the Gosselin's have taught me how cute their kids are, how NOT to speak to my husband, to cut pancakes with a pizza cutter, and to put a rug in the garage.

Frankly, when that cameraman zoomed in on the first Juicy Juice label.., my heart sank.

They have thrown away (sold out?) a great opportunity to show the world how a Christian family strives to operate... Where good behavior, serving one another, LOVING one another and suffering consequences for bad decisions is a CHOICE MADE every moment, not just an act for the cameras.

Backward and hillbilly as they seem, the Duggars have it right. They are teaching the world how to live debt-free, how to manage a home and how to raise kids. Yes they are making money on TV, too - but I have always felt that their overall goal was to help others and to spread the Word.

That's a reality (on TV!) that could really HELP a lot of families.

Beagles 4 said...

"Animal Planet is a network, not a program. Have you ever heard of Steve Irwin? His Crocodile Hunter was also on Animal Planet. Id say he "interfered" with the animals."

Thanks BJC for the correction. I wasn't aware.

talklesssaymore said...

"The Jockeys" actually gives me nightmares, just from the commercials (which repeatedly show the horses falling). I mean, I realize I am someone who is overly sensitive about people hurting animals but I would assume that most people watching Animal Planet are like myself; ASPCA donating, greyhound and horse racing haters. I cannot believe they made the decision to put that on the air. I wrote to them to complain, I'm sure it won't make a difference though.

It made me sad though, because Animal Planet was one of the few stations I had left to watch.

Elisa said...

I don't understand why I keep reading that only good Christian families can be great examples for television. Frankly, I think I would be more comfortable with TLC focusing on large families without the holier-than-thou complex that both the Gosselins and the Duggars exhibit. Between JimBob going off on the falsity of evolution and Kate's mega-church expounding tee shirts, I'm a little tired of TLC ramming evangelical Christianity down my throat. I'm pretty sure that we could find some nice secular families to focus on once in a while...

I also don't think that TV has become an insane trashfest. If anything, I think that TV offers an incredibly diverse amount of options for the population at large. I wouldn't let a six-year-old watch "Nip/Tuck" or "Mad Men", certainly, but neither of those shows was designed to be viewed by a child. I don't understand why there is such an outcry by parents demanding that every show be geared towards their children or their family time. I have a couple hundred channels available on my cable providers programming, why is NBC required to provide family fare at a certain time if there are five or six channels doing so? I don't think that there is any more of a void of thoughtful television than there was thirty years ago and in thirty years, I'm sure that most of what's crap on the air will have been forgotten. Just like whatever was crap thirty years ago has been now.

Also, someone upthread mentioned "The Simpsons" as an example of programming to protect children from; I'm of the right age to have been watching that show since its inception, when I was five. Frankly, I think that the Simpson family demonstrates a healthier example of enduring familial love than the Gosselins do. As crass or dense as the characters may be, every episode ends with the family together, reaffirming their love for each other. Far more of a moral lesson than watching Kate moan about coupons.