My television viewing habits have greatly decreased in the past five years. That’s partly because I don’t have as much time for it, and partly because I don’t enjoy much of what’s on. Nevertheless, I’m aware of most TV trends, including the accelerated blue-collar-ization of the Discovery family of networks.
You can still find astonishing and enlightening programming like Planet Earth on the mothership Discovery Channel, at least when they’re not airing docudramas about motorcycle makers or amateur survivalists fond of do-it-yourself enemas. Animal Planet has filled the void left by Steve Irwin’s unorthodox yet educational adventures with head-scratchers like It’s Me or the Dog and Pit Bulls and Parolees. And let’s not forget The History Channel, which now airs more shows about speculative history than actual past events. You can catch two-hour long episodes of Ancient Aliens between runs of their acclaimed job-shadowing series about truck drivers and lumberjacks.
The biggest offender of this criminally false branding, however, must be The Learning Channel. Oh sure, at its start it was mostly an outlet for Discovery’s reruns and disturbingly graphic medical documentaries. But long before Sarah Palin’s infomercials arrived, The Learning Channel had devolved into The Freak Show Channel. Even my beloved What Not to Wear has upped the ante, now only hoping the most confrontational and mentally unstable of fashion victims. Stacy and Clinton, I expected more from you.
Suffice to say, when I saw this spoof promo for upcoming programming on TLC, I wasn’t entirely sure that some of these shows weren’t already airing.
“Cake Whores” makes me laugh every time. And sadly, I would probably watch “9 Fat Kids, 1 Dessert”. As for “Dwarf Hoarders”, would that be about small people who collect random possessions, or normal-sized people who collect dwarfs?
Moral of the story, friends? Read a book.