Earlier this week, Jon Stewart reminded his audiences of something quite ironic that I had, unsurprisingly, completely forgotten for several years: TLC stands for “The Learning Channel.” The channel that borderline exploits people who live differently than the norm, including (but not limited to):
- Addicted people
- Strangely addicted people
- Crazy obsessed people
- Child beauty contestants*
- Specific child beauty contestants
And now, they have “Best Funeral Ever,” which is exactly what it sounds like:
So, having a ridiculous funeral is now something we should make into a competitive commodity, right? While I recognize that a traditional “going home” ceremony is very different than the typically imagined quiet, morbid ones, I’m pretty sure that those traditions did not include people trying to outdo other people on sending off their loved ones to rest. Just throwing that out there.
Yes, this doesn’t shock me more than most TLC shows; in fact, as a reality show, I’m surprised it had not already been made. After all, we compete about every other major life event: birthday parties, turning 16, turning 15, getting pregnant, having crazy baby showers, getting married, having a ridiculous reception, insulting everyone else’s weddings… there’s just a whole lot of competitiveness surrounding things that should be celebrations. But funerals? Really?
When somebody you love dies, it typically aches in some way. Even if you’re happy that they’re out of pain or they’re in a better place or whatever you believe and feel, that’s beside the literal point: at that moment, you know that that person is gone and you will not see him or her again in life. So the idea of a television channel actually filming a television series entirely devoted to people in mourning, letting everyone else know that the way they send their loved ones can’t possibly be as interesting or wild… that seems bizarre to me, though it epitomizes everything I hate about reality television. If having a crazy funeral is what you desire, then go for it! But for fuck’s sake, TLC, stop making painful events in people’s lives into programming.
Basically, The Learning Channel, I do not learn anything from you except the fact that I hate pseudo-nonfiction TV.
*Obviously, there’s a whole lot of ridiculousness that goes into these, but believe me, the network financially benefits from having Toddlers & Tiaras on air far more than any parent or contest organizer