Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is It The Learning Channel?

Or is it The Lying and Exploitation Channel?

How many shows do we need on large families? How many shows about little people? What is going on with NBC and TLC?

28 comments:

Kodie said...

Well we have learned that its okay to exploit children and families of divorce for ratings and a lot of money so I guess it could still be call the learning channel for that.

Barbara in VA said...

We learned how to identify in ourselves the very bad and destructive behavior that Kate has shown throughout their run to her husband, kids, family and all others who have drifted into and then out of her little universe.

We've also learned that it is never okay to exploit your children to make you rich. It is never okay to make those decisions for them.

But while we as viewers have learned so much from watching the destruction of a very strange American family, I don't think the participants, themselves, learned anything. Kate and Jon do not seem capable of learning their lesson. Kate never will. My hope is that Jon will take what money he has and invest it in education for himself so that when the time comes, and it will come soon, that he has to support the kids coming to live with him, he will be able to do so.

Kate is Walter Mitty in drag, as another poster mentioned. She has no insight, she has no conscience, she has no connection to her children or to the real world. I've learned to feel sorry for her, but sorrier for the children who have only learned to hide secrets, never to form permanent attachments to people, that their only worth lies in what they can do for their mother.

fidosmommy said...

Several years ago, a man named Geoff Ritchie was on TLC, teaching us about his large, face-deforming
birthmark. We went with Geoff as he visited Dr. Waner in Arkansas (?) and was treated. He shared his life with us in a non-exploitive way, trying to give us a real view of life in his skin.
I was glad to come to care about Geoff and his parents from this very gentle limited-series program.

Now TLC is milking people with unusual circumstances (mega large families, medical conditions, dwarfism, what have you) and making them fodder for water cooler conversations. Now we know entirely too much about people we have never met in person. We have
had them in our TV lives over and over again, until we talk about them like they were our cousins or
co-workers. There is nothing to learn from watching them anymore.
It is solely entertainment TLC wants us to glean from these people and their lives. It's a
dramedy in real life and we are the audience. It is intrusive and has no redeeming social value.

We've come a long way since Geoff Ritchie. We've regressed from a moving story of a man who is triumpant despite setbacks and pain into the everyday drudgery of pains who need to move on and keep their stories to themselves.

I like the Duggar family. A lot. But too much exposure of their mudande trips to dentists and going rollerskating are going to drive me away. Ditto Jen and Bill. Give me an occasional update. I'll learn more that way.

Kodie said...

arabella said...
Why do people like the duggars but hate the gosselins? Aren't they the same thing? The Gosselins got their show because of the kids. The Duggars got their show because of the same reason. So, do you hate child exploitation, or do you hate Kate?

I think if people really didn't find entertainment in the programs TLC airs, then they wouldn't watch.
-----------------------------------
I can only speak for myself but I don't agree with the Duggars or any children being exploited on tlc or any other channel for that matter. The kids are being exploited. I don't hate Kate I hate the fact that she used her children for money. The difference between the duggars and the gosselins is that the gosselins were looking for fame and the duggars based on religious reasons had that many children. The duggars were living debt free and built their own house. I don't know what their status is now. But there are some notable differences between the two families. Kate is not one that most can relate to unless they are abusive and a bully. Jon is making foolish decisions but seems down to earth. The duggars seem to love one another with or without a camera around. Family seems more important to them than money. Not the same for Jon and Kate.

Marianne said...

I remember back in the day when TLC was nothing but surgeries and Biba's Italian Kitchen!

Dianew said...

TLC has become a side show like they used to have years ago at the circus. Tune in here to TLC to see little people, large familes, children parading around in tiaras (and little else), and whatever weird thing life has given us. Do we really need shows like that? There no learning anymore just a freak show.

Can't See Sheep said...

arabella said...

Why do people like the duggars but hate the gosselins? Aren't they the same thing? The Gosselins got their show because of the kids. The Duggars got their show because of the same reason. So, do you hate child exploitation, or do you hate Kate?
----------------------

This is my problem too, arabella. Yes, there seems to be differences between the two families, unfortunately the end result is the same, their children are on TV, their children are being exploited, exploited by the parents & TLC & that's wrong. If it's wrong for kate to have her children on then it's just as reprehensible for other's to put their children on Tv. I don't care if you like Michelle or JB more than you like kate, it isn't right, it isn't more allowable because people are more likable.

I don't care what the reasoning is behind it, I don't care if they had a dream & God told them to do it, it's wrong. IF it's wrong for one family, it's wrong for all family's. Making excuses for one & not the other does end up looking like people just have a problem with kate & not child exploitation. The Duggars are no different than the Gosselins in that we see what they want us to see. IF one of the children was unhappy about their religion or their life, or even questioning any of it like many teenagers do, that isn't going to be shown on TV, because the Duggar brand is family & family unity. Like the Gosselins they should have stuck to a yearly update, even once a season is passable to me, but not every freaking week.

Gail T. said...

Kate was obsessed with multiples. In HS she told classmates she will have multiples. When she was pregnant with the tups she said, "Maybe I will have at least 4 this time!"

Her mother said she was obsessed with multiples.

Yes, I believe, as do many, many others, that Kate purposely got pregnant with tups in order to fulfill her need for attention.

Irene said...

This is the bottom line with me.

Tlc are pimps and people that sign contracts with them are prostitute like in nature.

They are not a learning channel anymore they are lying channel & anything they say or do is just to exploit, control and make a fast buck off the backs of people who have bills that need to be pay.

It is too high of an interest rate for me.

Ohio Buckeye said...

Excellent question!

TLC flatters itself with its name. They are no more about education than the tabloids.

The offensiveness is less about their chosen subject (nontraditional familes) and more about the circus side show format that has become TLC's identity and calling card. Additionally, the fact that they attempt to convince their trashy formats are educational merely adds to their offensiveness.

Somewhere along the way, TLC decided to make their chosen viewing demographic the dimmest of the dim, the tackiest of the tacky, the least discriminating viewer out there. And in this, they have succeeded.

TLC is just a travelling freak show, giving a questionable viewing audience a chance to gawk and gasp at unusual creatures and their environment.

Congratulations, TLC, for winning your chosen demographic while losing all class and credibility.

fidosmommy said...

In some manner of defense for this kind of programming, there have been some shows I have found very enlightening. A woman in Great Britain - Mandy - has suffered from
a condition that makes her legs grow and sap the strength from her body. For one hour we followed Mandy as she got new shoes made, talked to doctors about the wisdom of amputation, and watched her manage her life the best way she could living alone in an apartment.

I still think of Mandy sometimes and wonder how she's doing, what decisions she has made about her legs, and hope against hope her heart did not finally give out on her.

While there is some level of gawking at her condition - because her condition was the point of the program - I felt Mandy herself was inviting me in to hear about her hopes, aspirations and fears. It was like listening to a new friend who had a huge decision to make.

Somehow, I can separate that out from Toddlers and Tiaras, Jon and Kate Sell Out Their Eight, and shows intended to entertain rather than enlighten. I felt my hour with Mandy was well spent.

Another show I enjoyed for the same reason was a woman named Jackie who was morbidly obese and who went through surgery, and was having to adjust to the major changes in her life. I still wonder how Jackie is doing, and hope she is happy, healthy and doing what she loves.

So, I'm torn on TLC. It depends on the show.

PR in PA said...

I remember when TLC's most popular show was Trading Spaces. I was a big fan of the show back then. If I couldn't watch the show I would tape it. Monday morning all of us at work would be talking about the show. Somewhere between then and now the channel took a nosedive.

I now have blocked that channel on my tv.

dustilies said...

PR in PA said...

I remember when TLC's most popular show was Trading Spaces. I was a big fan of the show back then.

---
I loved this show also. It was a real family show--we let the kids stay up late to watch it with us.

And I remember that there was care taken to keep kids in the family off camera, and if the room to be worked on was a kid's, any issues of mess and disorganization weren't blamed on the kids (note difference with the way Mady Gosselin was offered up like a lamb for slaughter to the fans and the tabs).

Honestly, What Not to Wear is the only show that has any interest for me anymore. And any integrity on a network that seems hell bent on degrading itself.

Soul Untouched said...

dustilies said...

I loved this show also. It was a real family show--we let the kids stay up late to watch it with us.

And I remember that there was care taken to keep kids in the family off camera, and if the room to be worked on was a kid's, any issues of mess and disorganization weren't blamed on the kids (note difference with the way Mady Gosselin was offered up like a lamb for slaughter to the fans and the tabs).

---

Kids in the family were not kept off camera. Trading Spaces: Family was developed explicitly to include children.

hate said...

I used to love some of the shows on reality tv like what not to wear and the earlier shows of little people big world. But when I saw the gosselin fiasco being played out on tv for ratings and what liars TLC, Kate and Jon are I had no use for them anymore or any shows on TLC or any channels that had so called reality shows. I just quit watching them entirely

dustilies said...

Soul Untouched said:

Kids in the family were not kept off camera. Trading Spaces: Family was developed explicitly to include children.

--
Guess I never saw this version or spin-off. Question is, how were the kids pitched? In other words, were they shown in a positive way, or were they shown in a way that set them up for ridicule from peers? I do recall some tensions between members of a team from time to time, but mainly tension between the designers and their teams. In the family version, did the producers exploit the children's vulnerabilites in the way we've seen on recent shows? Was the Family version an attempt to make the show more dramatic? Was it part of the nosedive we've been talking about?

It would be interesting to chart the decline of that show in relation to the development of shows like "Dwarf Adoption."

Was that show "Clean Sweep" a TLC show? I really like that one, and I did learn quite a bit about helping our whole family negotiate our emotional attachment to material things.ker

Mona said...

Yes, Clean Sweep was on TLC. I think it still is during the day.
I liked it too. Peter Walsh did a good job helping people sort through their memories. I just always hated the rooms when the decorators were finished. I really don't like modern design and all that painted fake wood furniture and neon colors made my teeth grind. I would have welcomed Peter and thrown out the building and decorating teams.

Lucy said...

There is so much morally wrong with TLC programming; it is just such a repulsive network. Bottom line ... I don't watch TLC anymore! It's teaches nothing ... it disgusts me.

lifeoriley said...

TLC has really gone downhill over the years.
I used to watch Trading Spaces in the beginning, but then I got sick of that,too. It was too set up, IMO. If a couple said they hated the color brown, you can bet Hildy or Doug would put brown in the design. The worst was when Hildy glued straw to a couple's living room-- a couple that had small children! Also, the spray painting of sofas was ridiculous--the show seemed to transform into "Ruining Spaces." They started to go for the "shock" value of the reveal. That's when I got turned off by the show.
Also, a couple of local families were on the show and complained about shoddy work that cost them more to repair than the actual "value" of the $1,000 spent. As a result, those two issues really caused me to stop watching.

Mona said...

Speaking of bizarre designs on Trading Spaces, three I remember well are Hildy's flowered bathroom where she literally hot glued red, pink and white flowers all over the walls. Another one was the sand on the family room floor to give it a beachy feel. Then there was the Prisoner of Love theme compliments of Doug, where it looked like a prison cell.

The flowered wallpaper family said in a later interview that they kept it that way because people kept dropping by to see if it was for real. She planned to take it all down when the interest waned.

If ruining rooms was the worst TLC could sponsor, I guess it was OK. Now they are ruining a lot more, in my opinion.

Can't See Sheep said...

I stopped watching Trading Spaces for a lot of the same reasons you did, Mona. All it seemed to be about was creating drama. If you saw Hildi or Doug you could be sure drama wasn't far behind.

It's like they purposely sought out what the people did not like & gave it to them. A designer should not be trying to convince a person that they really don't dislike pink by painting their room hot pink.

Maybe this is when TLC started going down hill. I guess they didn't get the ratings they wanted when people liked the rooms they ended up with. They took a perfectly good show & then turned it into something that pandered to the lowest common denominator. Very Jerry Springer like. TLC strikes again!

For the Moment? said...

One thing is for sure, TLC does know how to put on a documentary. I too wonder about some of the people that I have seen on the shows and that is an indicator of how well they were done.

Unfortunately for TLC their name will forever be linked with JK8 or K8 or even Kate where we saw what we thought was a nice family doing the best they could for their 8 beautiful children, became vested in the kids and then saw it all blow up in our faces. And now that we have learned the truth we have to worry about the welfare of the children at the hands of their mother who TLC promotes as a "sweetheart" and like the best mom ever. We watched--we know better.

I won't give up on TLC, but it is no longer the channel that stays on basically all the time in my house before the kids got robbed of their innocence.

fidosmommy said...

Has anyone seen the new TLC offering about wedding planning? It is 3 or 4 engaged couples in competition. They're planning their own weddings and attending the weddings and receptions of their rivals. They get to JUDGE the weddings of the others, and the couple with the most winning (or least annoying) wedding and reception gets an all expense paid honeymoon to some exotic place.

The snark is palpable, the smirks
are frequent, well, you get the picture. If it isn't what you would do at your wedding, it's got to be either tacky, ugly or stupid, right? And the wedding planners aren't necessarily the most helpful, either. Think Hildi, doing what she wants, not what the client wants necessarily.

Judge somebody's wedding? The most important day in their lives -second only to having children or grandchildren? On national TV? What? Is this fun? Next we'll be judging who's got the prettiest baby, snarking over the ears or the
mouth shape of the competition.

Mona said...

fidosmommy said.....
Next we'll be judging who's got the prettiest baby, snarking over the ears or the mouth shape of the competition.

$$$$$$$

There's an idea for you, TLC. What about "The Ugliest Child in America" contest? You can audition Kinder-5th grade children to come and stand in front of a panel of judges, smile or not smile, depending on the number of teeth they have, and have it decided if they are ugly enough to move onto the next level. The more ugly about the child, the better the chance to win a vacation for 4 to Brazil, the capital of Plastic surgery. Or maybe you have an "in" with Dr. Glassman in NYC?

I would not put it past you, TLC.
Anything, anything for ratings.

Ohio Buckeye said...

"Is it The Learning Channel?"

I've said it before, and it bears repeating for the new year:

No, it is NOT The Learning Channel. TLC flatters itself with this moniker.

A more honest name would be CFT, Crap Fest Theater.

My boycott of this station will continue through 2010. It's going to take ALOT for this joke of a network to win back this viewer after all the schlock they've chosen to broadcast. And Kate Gosselin was the beginning of the end for my viewing.

If TLC ever decides to forego 'reality' programs and stop searching for venues for the likes of K. Gosselin, someone let me know. Then and only then will I even consider putting it back on my tv remote options.

abbie said...

Kate may or may not have been obsessed w/ having multiples but I will tell you this, as a nuse I know many other nurses and a good many of them that work in labor and delivery have IVF and multiples. You can't tell me there are that many infertile women in one profession let alone one department. I think they get that IVF as a little 'perk' from their physician friends who let them in the door whether they have polycystic disease or infertility. Kind of like all the stars in Hollywood suddenly having twins or multiples. Suspicious to me. That didn't used to be the norm. Kate and Jon were not married that long before she strted crying 'infertility'. They didn't 'try' for years. Maybe God didn't bless them with a baby for a good reason. Why God blessed them with eight is a mystery to me.
JMO.

PR in PA said...

Is Little People, Big World still doing new shows? Just curious..I haven't heard much about them lately.

PR in PA said...

What's TLCs obsession with little people and multiples???? Seriously..it's getting ...no wait..it is old.