The Learning Channel?

For the last couple of weeks, TLC has been heavily promoting their new show: “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” We always see the ads for it while we’re watching our favorite show, “What Not to Wear,” on Friday nights. After seeing yet another ad for the hoarding show, Jennifer asked, “Who would want to watch that?”

That’s a good question. Who would watch a show knowing that the point of the program is to be dragged through another person’s emotional pain?

But if watching someone who hasn’t thrown out a Styrofoam container for years isn’t painful enough, then tune back into TLC on Wednesday night for “Addicted,” a documentary-style series that takes us into the lives of people who are no longer able to function because of their drug and alcohol addictions. If that doesn’t take you close enough to death, there’s “One Big Happy Family” about a morbidly obese family of four. Compared to “Addicted,” this show seems like a sit-com.

TLC fills out its schedule with “19 Kids and Counting,” the head-to-toe tattooed group on “LA Ink,” creepy exploitation of little girls on “Toddlers and Tiaras,” and three different shows about little people.

Given that TLC is an acronym for “The Learning Channel,” I’m sure that they would defend their programming as educational. I’m all for gaining a greater understanding about people who are different than me but the subject matter on TLC seems to have more in common with the freak shows of PT Barnum than performing a public service. In different terms, the titles of their shows could read just like a sideshow marquis: “See the Tattooed Woman, the Fat Lady and the World’s Smallest Man.”

When do these programs cease to treat the people in them with compassion and cross the line into exploitation? Perhaps TLC no longer stands for “The Learning Channel,” but instead, “The Leering Channel.”

Bookmark and Share