It’s been a recent development, but I’m beginning to love TLC. No, I don’t mean the band, though their song Waterfalls will always have a special place in my heart, I mean the TV network. The best comparison I can make to watching the channel is driving past a car crash; it’s horrible, but you can’t bring yourself to look away.
It’s not all tragic scenes of humanity, though. The faux fallout bunkers that the people on Extreme Couponing are building are fascinating, as well as the fact that I have watched people buy $400 worth of stuff for under 50 cents. In a similar vein, Extreme Cheapskates teaches a wide variety of ways to save money, such as cutting an “empty” tube of toothpaste in half to get at a week’s supply.
Then, on the other hand, we have the same show featuring Roy Haynes, a man willing to ask for other people’s leftovers while eating dinner with his wife on their 25th anniversary. We also have Toddlers & Tiaras, where the world of child beauty pageants makes images like this feel like a breath of fresh air.
Premiering at the beginning of this month, The Virgin Diaries is a program that will be easier for me to show, then write an introduction for.
I must confess, I have not seen the show. This extended clip was being thrown around on Facebook on December first, and I later read about it again on one of my favourite blogs. What little I have to say about it has been garnered from clips and reviews I found online.
To follow up that last confession with another, I am also still a virgin. A 21-year-old college senior et cetera, and without any apparent physical deformities or social disabilities that come to mind. I had briefly mentioned this before, and I can summarize my reason for not having premarital sex again now as being primarily based on my faith and my knowledge of relational intimacy.
My question for the show is this: What does TLC, a program I learned today stands for The Learning Channel, want us to think about this? We’re meant to root for the savers on Extreme Couponing, evidenced by the show’s eager chronicle of how much they can accomplish given a deadline. My Strange Addiction is there to evoke an awkward catharsis, a purging of emotions as we see how far others have fallen as well as a strange sense of justification in whatever odd practices we may engage in.
What I take from the teaser above is, at least in that couple’s particular case, that the light the show is shining on adult virgins is much closer to What Not to Wear then it is to The Little Couple. Program-title-specific jargon aside, everything about the clip speaks poorly about members of this particular life style. Not only does the husband seem completely oblivious to why his wife “want to kiss so much,” her description of their wedding night is painful to behold. Couple with that the fact that a good portion takes place in a playground, furthering their descent into the immature. The kiss, of course, rises above all else as the preview’s crowning glory.
Shelby Fero, of aforementioned favourite blog fame, recounted hours of her life that were taken up by television, Brussels sprouts, and veggie bacon. In closing, she described what she thought of the first episode of The Virgin Diaries.
A way more interesting show would be to watch these people go through therapy and work through their issues. Instead we just laugh at the guy who can barely smooch his wife and ignore how depressing it is when he asks her “Why do you want to kiss so much?”
Entertainment Weekly said the exact same thing in their review of the program’s premiere, the penultimate paragraph of the article ‘Virgin Diaries’ react: Most uncomfortable TV hour ever? going as follows:
Oprah had an episode of her show this past season dealing with a few women in their late 20s who were virgins. With all of them, there was some kind of anxiety/intimacy issue. I can’t help but think if TLC is really interested in being the learning channel, a better idea might be to follow these people around for several episodes, employ a therapist and help them get over some of their hang-ups so they can have fulfilling adult relationships — and yes, those include sex.
The fact that TLC now has a show that is all about adult virgins is only mildly comforting to me. On one hand, there’s now an example on television of people like me, something that others can mentally turn to when they find out where I stand. On the other hand, there’s now an example on television of people like me, something that others can mentally turn to when they find out where I stand.