Like the Indian tracker he is, Uproxx’s own Ufford has been following The Learning Channel’s programing activity for quite some time now. Never one to disappoint, you can rest assured that TLC operates just like any other fine Al Jazeera network, scheduling the most uncomfortably awkward television shows, twenty-four-seven. From cake programs to wedding planners, brain injuries to handicaps, I have to assume that the TLC’s broadcast tower is being ran by an ex-physician turned gay party planner. It’s pretty obvious really, if you think about it.

But amongst TLC’s programing randomness, there is one overtly obvious constant: they love themselves some shockingly exploitive series. Forget the shows focusing on fashion faux pas and awfully sh–y tattoos, I’m here to discuss the dark, seedy pulp they attempt to transmit when we’re least paying attention. I mean, when did that channel turn into the Recessive Gene Network? Was it a Tuesday? Yeah, must have been a Tuesday. It’s like the TLC executives are just skipping down hallways in random Midwestern hospitals, handing out shows to patients like they were Oprah Winfrey.

“Awww, why the long face? Oh, that is your face?

“Tired of everyone treating you differently, because there’s a sister attached to your face?

“On no, are both of your giant clubbed feet painfully swelled with puss?

It’s the first time in my life that I’ve actually regretted curing my own autism with those mail-ordered crystals. Hell, had I just been able to color those books a little while longer, I’d be cashing in the big bucks right now. They’d probably even spoil me and name the series something amazing like Having Autism: The Chodin Story or Chodin’s Life With Autism. Once again, just like that career in proctology, I’ve missed my calling.

As hard as it may be to believe, I’m not here to poke fun at other peoples misfortunes (that’s for God to do), but my intentions are to highlight the ridiculousness of a channel that thinks if they sprinkles elevator music over footage of a kid in a wheelchair tipping over, they’ll win our hearts and our Nielsen ratings. I mean, for a network claiming to be all about learning, they sure do a great job of creeping me the f–k out. I think someone over there has their verbs mixed up.

The Sick List: as arranged from least disturbing to most.

5) Jon & Kate Plus Eight:

It’s bad enough to have to raise eight children, let alone to make the conscious decision to do so on national television. Like a fraternity house filled with tiny drunk people, Jon & Kate Plus Eight was a powder keg just waiting to erupt. Take two ridiculously vapid parents, surround them with cameras and then film them babysitting – sounds more like a Humboldt State thesis paper, than an actual program premise. Seriously, what’s the point of this show? I’ve babysat kids before and it f–king sucks. Why on Earth would I want to relive that experience from my living room, multiplied by eight? Bartender, send me over a large, frothy glass of RATHER NOT. Best of luck to the Gosselin kids. Please just never forget that mommy and daddy love you very much…and checks.

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Durrr, they actually thought this would be good for their children. Naturally, I blame the woman.

4) Little People, Big World/The Little Couple:

Surprise! It’s the exact same show only twice. Twice the tiny families, twice the altered furniture, twice the ladders, but still only half the concept. I don’t know, I guess I just figure that nobody wants to watch me go shopping for pants and then view an additional thirty minutes of me hemming the seams, so why should I care when these families do it? Oh yeah, because they’re tiny. Pshh, come on, that’s boring as hell. If I wanted to watch someone do all the same sh-t that I do, but take twice as long doing it, I’d go work at Walmart. What’s even more offensive is that we’re supposed to think this is educational? “Excuse me sir, I couldn’t help but notice that you had gotten that can of peanuts down off that shelf exactly how I would have gotten that can of peanuts down off the shelf. What’s that? Why did I expect you to get the can of peanuts down differently? Haha, oh come on, don’t tell me you brush your hair in a circus mirror, do you?”

Little people f–king hate BIG phone bills!

3) I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant:

Ha, jokes on you, dumb-ss. This show isn’t at all about women who didn’t know they were pregnant. It’s actually a program about septic tank cleaners and their clientele. Alright fine, you called the bluff, turns out this is a show about women, who despite the growing seeds inside of them or the unprotected intercourse, didn’t know that they were knocked up. Oh women, always playing your coy card so well. I’ll continue to watch this show until they finally feed my hunger for an episode involving immaculate conception. Then again, what do I know? I don’t work for TLC, nor have I ever been pregnant and not known about it…I ALWAYS know when I’m pregnant, because I sh-t on the test strips. But what really sets this show apart from the rest are the snuff film-quality reenactments they shoot for each story. Top-notch creepy!

Director: “Okay, now Angela, I want you to try it again, but this time I want you to really pretend like you just thought you were fat. Okay?

I just thought that I was eating so much, because it was hockey season…*queef*

2) Toddlers & Tiaras:

There’s really no good excuse for why you should ever be watching Toddlers & Tiaras, unless you’re listening to “Goodbye Horses” and building a skin suit in your basement. It’s a terrifying program, period and surprisingly, once again, the show’s title lets you know exactly what is going on here. I thought there were laws against this sh-t? A Commandment or something? Yeah, that’s it – didn’t Moses stand up there and announce, “Thou shalt not spray tan thy child and live vicariously through their insignificant successes.” Regardless, I’d watch a thousand more programs on midgets, collapsing marriages and chicks crapping babies, before I’d ever consider tuning in to this freak-fest. The only thing worse that the inappropriate parading of the prodded children are the parents shouting at them to suck in their tummies. They’re kids, that’s why they’re called “tummies” and not “beer guts”. They’re supposed to have them. Really unsexy, I know.

I sure hopes I win that there shiny trophy…and my ugly mamma’s appreciation.

1) 19 Kids and Counting: FTW

The. Terrorists. Have. Won. There is truly nothing more disturbing than a Christian, right-wing, home-schooled militia family that’s large enough to start their own NBA basketball team, substitutions included. Not to mention, TLC’s Duggar family has named each one of their offspring starting with the letter “J”. Personally, I hope they keep the kids popping out, because I’d love for them to alphabetically force themselves to name one of the girls Jerome-gela. That would be cool. The crazy gets better though for those of you brave enough to venture on over to the Duggar families own website where you get to learn the origin story of how the wolf-pack got started.


Who’s there?

God will smite you.

God will smite you who?


While there’s nothing innately wrong with being religious or having a larger-than-sh-t sized family, 19 Kids And Counting really appears like a Heaven’s Gate documentary at first glance. Again, I’m offended that anyone thinks this show is worth its weight in fox sh-t. I suppose I should include a disclaimer here, so that nobody gets all upset when I reveal the ending to every episode for you…okay, ready: everything the Duggar family does, they do it just like you, only for 18 additional people. Sorry, I know the suspense was killing you. Be sure and stay tuned for a couple years down the road, when the Duggar’s change the series name to 19 Kids Can’t Go To College.

This clip is much more effective if you pretend she’s talking about taking a dump.

Freeze-frame of kid with gun: FTW

I guess things just aren’t what they used to be, at least on cable television, that’s for sure. It appears that even the concept of “learning” has gone to hell in a hand basket, along with Buffalo Bill’s lotion. Just seems that maybe the best way to go about teaching people to accept others despite their differences, would be to treat them like everyone else and not like a lab experiment. For the record, everyone else does not have a camera crew following their every move. Maybe instead of exploiting someone’s disability, we should overlook it and be rude to them regardless, just like everyone else. I mean, that’s how we used to do it when I was a kid. We didn’t care about race, size, creed or color, we found a better means of judging someone. We gauged them depending on how much money their parents made.

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