An open letter to TLC – Please stop


TLC is supposedly “The Learning Channel”, but shows like “19 Kids and Counting” don’t teach anything beyond that a lack of contraceptives can lead to many, many children.

Amanda Brown, Real World Issues

Dear Producers of TLC,

Please stop. This is starting to get ridiculous. Do you not remember that you are supposed to be “The Learning Channel?” I am guessing you don’t, considering the things you’ve been trying to pass off as “television.” I have already raised my objections to “Toddlers in Tiaras,” but let me summarize these objections again: they are children, not living Barbie dolls. Their parents should not be allowed to do that to them.

But the ridiculous programming doesn’t stop there. Oh, no. It seems to have gotten worse recently, and it makes me cringe to think that this is what we’re telling the rest of the world. Take for example the recent (deserved) uproar over the show “Sorority Girls.” If you managed to miss the premise of this show, here is a quick synopsis: preppy American girls go to England. Girls start sorority called Sigma Gamma. Girls recruit English girls to join said sorority. Ridiculous things happen that they refer to as part of the pledge process. You see where this is going?

First of all, why was this show even produced? Are our lives missing something because we are not watching overly stereotyped versions of sorority women? Or are we just that determined to make ourselves look like complete idiots to the rest of the world? I feel so bad for all of the English women who come into contact with the casting directors of this show. The impression that they must have of Americans, especially college-aged women, must be absolutely awful. And this is what you’re feeding us as entertainment?

I just want to ask for one thing: please stop. For the love of everything, please stop. You are making Americans appear even weirder than we actually are. Think I’m over exaggerating? Ok, here are a few more examples. “Extreme Couponing:” women (and a few men) sitting around and clipping coupons so they don’t have to spend money on groceries. This seems to be the complete focus of their waking hours. “19 (or how many is it now?) Kids and Counting:” one humongous family where everyone’s first name begins with a J. “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” “Four Weddings,” “Cake Boss,” “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Hoarding: Buried Alive” – the list seems to go on forever. There never seems to be anything on television but these shows.

I feel like these shows are taking it too far. Like, way too far. Since when is it entertaining to watch someone slowly kill him- or herself with an ever-growing pile of garbage? This is a serious psychological disorder we’re talking about here, and it’s being treated as a spectacle. I feel like imitating Maximus in “Gladiator” and asking “Are you not entertained?” The correct answer is no.

What happened to TLC seems to be a reflection of what has happened across the entertainment industry. It seems like they’ve run out of ideas. So they’ve decided to latch onto one little thing like couponing or the fact that some parents like making their kids play dress-up in sequins. It’s starting to get out of hand. I just stopped turning on my television anymore.

What does this say about us as people? Basically, we have not evolved much past the days of going to circus sideshows for amusement. It’s pretty easy to see the parallel when we have shows based on the fact that people are born with dwarfism. I think it’s wrong that TLC is parading some of these people around because they’ve figured out that if they put it on television, people will swarm to watch it. It seems like exploitation to me.

But that’s just my opinion.