TLC -- I Think It's Taught Me Things I'm Not Sure I Wanted To Learn

Much less wanted to know. TLC is probably the channel I watch most these days. It's also the channel I make the most fun of. With a name like, The Learning Channel, you'd think the programming would be of a high-brow educational bent and it's not. It's very low brow bordering on a freak show quality.

One show I swore I would never watch is Toddlers And Tiara's although my own personal name for it is Toddlers In Tiara's which is more appropriate, especially if you just go by the initials: TIT's But I have basic cable and there was nothing else on that I liked, so I left it on and I was appalled by what I saw. Now it's become this totally sick fascination where I can't resist watching it when it's on.

At first, i tried to justify it to a certain type of woman putting her little girl through this stuff. Basically they were overweight women from the south who were living out their pageant dreams through their daughters. In short, women in the North, where I'm from, don't do stuff like that. That prejudiced little idea bit the dust rather quickly when I saw they come from all over and some aren't overweight. Nope, these mothers come from north, south, east and west and they can be fat or skinny or somewhere in between. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It just is.

I really don't think what these women are doing to their children is healthy. I really think it borders on child abuse. It also seems to be negatively affecting some of this children. Some have become raving spoiled brats. Some have become very materialistic. And a lot of blame goes on these kiddie pageants. Why aren't they judging these children for being the age they are, instead of being made up to look like they're 25?

The Glitz Pageants really are the worst They set a criteria where the girls have to wear all sorts of outfits that are way beyond their years. They also have to wear false teeth to cover their gap-tooth smiles because they're still losing their baby teeth. They call them flippers. They also have to wear false eye-lashes and full-on make-up. Not to mention being spray-tanned.

Kudos to the mothers who draw a line and refuse to go the flipper and spray-tan route. Most of the mothers don't draw the line, anywhere. It's appalling listening to the amount of money they spend on all these lavish outfits. One woman admitted her husband had no clue of the money she spent. While another admitted she and her husband broke-up over her entering their child in these pageants and spending so much money. Too bad the judge gave her custody instead of the father. The child might be more healthier for living with her father.

Most of the hardcore pageant mothers seem to be pretty clueless and in denial. One was going on about how her child loves to do these pageants while on-screen the child was screaming, "I don't want to do this," as he mother dragged her along ignoring what she was saying. Another just stood there as her child was screaming in pain, basically telling her it would soon be over. A few weeks back I saw a show where the mother was worried the girl's hat would come off during her routine and announced she was going sewing the hat to her daughter's head.and another glued a flipper that kept coming out to her daughter's teeth.

Another show in the freak show variety was My Strange Addiction. I happened to stumble upon that and I pretty much watch the entire thing with my mouth hanging open in shock. The weirdest one was the guy in love with his car. He was telling it he loved it and at one point he even climbed underneath it looking like he was going to grind himself against its gears. Needless to say the car was on top.

There's also Hoarders: Buried Alive. Okay, I can hoard, but I know when to draw the line and if I'm getting too much, I start throwing stuff away. With me, I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive and when I have one thing, I feel I have to have the whole set. That happened when I got into the Tomb Raider games and got every one of them. I also have most of the equipment to set up a darkroom in my home, the only thing I don't have is the room to set one up, so it sits in my closet. I've never really sat through a whole episode, but to the extreme some of these people go, it should be a mental condition they're suffering from to explain it. I mean, one guy had to cook out on the barbecue because his kitchen was so loaded he couldn't get to the stove. At that point you should know you need to get rid of some stuff, since you have too much to fit in your home.

Then you have My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Basically, these girls marry extremely young in some of the most outlandish wedding gowns you've ever seen to become housewives for the rest of their lives. From what I've seen none are allowed to go to college and have a career outside of the home. It's a real throw-back to the 1930's where women didn't really have careers outside of the home. I've never watched an episode of Sister Wives, but do any of those women hold jobs outside of their homes? Or are they dedicated to being housewives raising their kids in their alternate way of life?

There are actually some programs I've learned some positive things from. Like Extreme Cake-Off where you get to see three teams build these humongous cakes. It's giving me tips on making my own cakes be something special on a smaller scale. Ditto for Extreme Couponing. It's motivated me to see if I can start clipping coupons to save a few bucks on my groceries.

Still, TLC seems to have gone the way of Animal Planet. Animal Planet doesn't seem to be that much about animals, these days, and more about humans hunting animals for food or being hunted by them. And TLC doesn't seem to be that much about learning these days. Oh, well, maybe TLC will shine a light on something and lead it to be changed. Like those Glitz pageants...hint! hint!


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