Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Learning Channel... or not

When I was younger, I remember my aunt only allowing her kids to watch TLC- the learning channel- during mornings. Believe it or not, the channel had lots of cute shows appropriate for kids and a great appealer in What Not To Wear for adults.

Over the last few years, I’ve really watched TLC go down the tubes. Is it a reflection of general interest in the country? It’s not enough to have a reality channel and VH1/MTV full of ridiculous tv shows, now TLC has been taken over. I think it should be renamed “The Bizarre Factory”.

I really enjoyed Little People Big World (hey, a real family, with real problems, real kids-great!) and What Not to Wear (because style interventions and makeovers are just the American way!). Over time, my boyfriend even got into Cake Boss, although each show has some staged drama that threatens to ruin the day.

But lately, what is up with this channel? My DVR somehow recorded a show called Miss Turkey Trot and Drumsticks, where women were judged only on their legs to win the illustrious Miss Drumsticks. What am I learning here? Then came Toddlers and Tiaras. Crazy pageant mom with half-talented kids who’d rather be running around outside? Please apply!

Now it’s become home to what they make seem like a freak show. While it’s great that someone 3’11 is a doctor, why do we need a show about little chocolatiers? The Little Couple drives me up a wall, too! This little woman drags her husband on shopping trips every other episode despite his frustrated cries about how much he hates it. Don’t even get me started on her laugh, either. I haven’t tuned in to “Little Chocolatiers” because I literally have no interest. It makes these people out to be freak shows. Add into the mix “world’s tallest human” and “I didn’t know I was pregnant” and I feel like I bought a ticket to Barnum and Bailey.

Then TLC had Miss America on its broadcast. They staged a cheesy fake show where women competed in “challenges” (including sliding down a soaped up slip and slide- nothing says accomplished 24 year old like this) to win a gold sash. The girls who won gold sashes earned spots in the final pageant. I never really understood this- if the judges in a pageant didn’t like me, fine! But do I really want to reference winning an obstacle course as the clincher that sealed my fate in the top 15 at Miss America? No. Then TLC dumped Miss America (which I can’t really blame them for). I was honestly sick of them advertising Toddlers and Tiaras leading up to Miss America anyways.

And today was just the icing on the cake. I don’t mind watching reality shows as a chance to relax after a long day. Pondering at the bizarre happenings on Millionaire Matchmaker? Sure! Salivating at the cooked-up creations on Top Chef? I’ll be there. But watching Sarah Palin?

I mean, really? We’re talking about someone whose speaking skills rival Caitlin Upton of the famous “such, as the Iraq” and now we’re going to watch a show about her? I really don’t feel like this woman represents me at all, and I don’t want to know anymore about her. What better way to milk her fifteen minutes of fame, though? Has any other failed national candidate made such a name for themselves? Forget Al Gore- he only was part of a great movie about global warming. Yeah, I REALLY want to know more about “holier than thou” Sarah Palin and watch the great bastions of good behavior her children are. Someone to look up to- teen mom! Oh wait, isn’t that ALREADY a reality show?

Learning Channel, I’ll miss you. What’s even more sad is that apparently the interest is there from some people to watch this crap. I think our house is going to stick to National Geographic Channel. We might even LEARN something!

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