Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friends don't let friends watch TLC

Pardon me. I’m visiting my parents, and they have a television. I was compelled to surf the channels at 11 pm last night to view The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to see if it seemed sexist. But you know I was side-tracked when I found TLC’s I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant—a half-hour docudrama featuring two women, their men, and children describing re-enactments of their experiences giving birth to unintended and UNKNOWN pregnancies. As in, *Something’s* coming out! …for the entire viewing network to see: a beautiful 7-pound miracle human burrito at about 22 weeks. Every.single.15-minute.segment.

I don’t even know what to say about it. Sure, women everywhere discover surprise pregnancies during every stage without previously knowing they were growing life in their bellies. They use birth control, still have periods, think they are old enough to experience menopause, have no symptoms, think the symptoms are cancer, drink booze, smoke cigarettes, ride bicycles.

Some pregnant women give birth and some pregnant women have abortions.

No miracle. Just nature (and far-more unique and COMPLEX stories behind the televised time-suck).

Why does TLC feature non-dimensional, air-brushed shows about women’s health and homes and weddings then blast us with commercials about mops and deadly yet pristine cleaning agents and apple juice laced with chemicals and previews of
Kate Plus 8 tending chickens and changing screens on a country home while yelping *like a girl* and previews of women who enroll their babies in beauty pageants where entry costs $1000 and dresses cost $1000 and the children look just like every other cute child but judges have a clear penchant for the toxically-tanned blondies that blow kisses?

Does anyone else tender-loving-care that there’s an oil well hemorrhaging beneath the sea or that perpetual and systemic violence is ingrained in our daily lives or that everything at Target was made in China or that some people can’t afford to EAT?

We could save the world if we invested as much in reality as we do in show-biz.

I hereby re-claim my protest of television, and by protest, I don’t mean I’m going to stand outside of the TLC lot with gigantic posters of starving children or factory conditions in China. I simply mean I turned my parents’ television OFF and went back to facing reality.


  1. But TLC is my guilty pleasure!

    Incidentally my cable just up and vanished about a month ago, so I haven't been watching. Turns out I don't miss it too much. I'm free!

  2. I, too, indulge in TLC far more often than I really feel comfortable with, but I justify it by telling myself, hey, it's OK, since I REALIZE it's complete trash!

    I actually just caught the end of an "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" episode, and all I could think was how ridiculous it is that everything's whitewashed so that ALL the women featured are just THRILLED by the unexpected and unplanned addition to their family. Realistically, wouldn't many, especially the younger women featured, be upset and unprepared (both psychologically and financially) to care for an child? Personally, I think discussing these unpleasant yet realistic issues would make for better TV.

  3. I have been TV free for almost 5 yrs now. I did not buy a converter box and to be honest my self esteem is much better now.

    It's also a plus to have a 2 1/2 yr old that reads books, does puzzles and plays instead of being passively bound to a TV.

    TLC whitewashes a lot of things concerning fertility on their network but it doesn't seem to matter - women who don't want to think for themselves still eat it up.


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