Okay, fine, whatever, I'll admit that running a network may not be the easiest thing to do—BUT MY LIFE STINKS, TOO, YA KNOW!! It's not exactly easy spending entire days sprawled on a filthy couch, clothed in oddly stained underpants, surrounded by empty liquor bottles and half-eaten Totino's Pizza Rolls while half-consciously flipping through hundreds of TV shows an hour. See? I'm doing MY part! It's those networks! They're the lazy bastards!
The problem is that networks insist on only programming shows designed to appeal to a single demographic: BORING PEOPLE. However! There is one bright, shining exception to this rule—which is why I'm devoting this week's column to the best/worst network in the world, TLC: The Learning Channel!
Why is it the best/worst? It's the worst because it has almost NOTHING to do with the act of "learning"—unless you're getting a master's degree in FREAKS. It's the best because TLC focuses solely on a highly specific demographic: people who are interested in cakes, midgets, families with 19 children, borderline sociopaths, and toddlers dressed like whores. TLC currently has four shows dedicated to cakes (Fabulous Cakes, Cake Boss, DC Cupcakes, Next Great Baker), four shows about "ovaries gone wild" (19 Kids and Counting, Quints by Surprise, Kate Plus Eight, Sextuplets Take New York), and only one show about midg... umm... little people (The Little Couple)?? C'mon, TLC—you're slipping!
But the best/worst shows on TLC are clearly those about borderline sociopaths (which dovetail nicely with programming involving toddlers dressed like whores). What follows are the absolute BEST/WORST shows on the BEST/WORST network ever, TLC.
• My Strange Addiction (Wed, 9 pm). Supposedly true stories of weird addictions that include a woman who sleeps with a running hair dryer and a lady who eats up to half a roll of toilet paper every day. You'll also see addictions to ventriloquism, wearing a furry suit, and picking scabs, as well as ingesting detergent, soap, hair, and the foam from couch cushions. I'd volunteer for this show (every day for lunch I eat a sandwich filled with belly button lint), but I'm afraid I'm not strange enough.
• I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (Tues, 10 am). Oh, how many times have I heard that old line? This show is filled with hilarious dramatic re-creations of women who had no earthly idea they were preggo, until one day, whoopsie! Plop! Heyyyyy... why is my toilet crying?
• Toddlers & Tiaras (Wed, 10 pm). If you're ever tempted to accuse your mother of being an insane monster, please watch this show first! Little girls are gussied up like French whores (not the sexy kind) to compete in completely worthless pageants. In a recent episode, the most terrible mom in the world made her five-year-old daughter get her eyebrows waxed. As the tyke screamed in pain, terrible mom just shrugged and said, "That's the price for beauty." (And exactly what is the price for 20 years of therapy?)
• Sarah Palin's Alaska (repeat times vary, but look for the one where she murders a caribou). If Palin doesn't count as a sociopath, no one does.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 27
9:00 NBC THE OFFICE
Michael and Holly display their newest improv act (oh god), and Ricky Gervais makes a guest appearance!
9:30 NBC PARKS AND RECREATION
When the entire city of Pawnee gets the flu, the annual Harvest Festival takes a vomitous turn.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 28
10:00 IFC ONION NEWS NETWORK
The crack news team (and by that I mean they literally take crack) reports on "Snowlocaust 2011!!"
10:30 IFC PORTLANDIA
Mayor Kyle MacLachlan asks Carrie and Fred to write the most awesome Portland theme song ever!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 29
9:00 SYFY MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID—Movie
(2011) Who better to defeat a humongous snake and killer gator than '80s pop sensations Debbie Gibson and Tiffany? (YESSSSSSSSS!!!)
10:00 DSC KIDNAP & RESCUE
Debut! I thought this was about people who pretend to kidnap and then rescue their victims! It's not.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 30
8:00 ABC EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION
The team rebuilds a house for a family who lost a daughter in a car wreck, and... JUSTIN BIEBER GUEST STARS?!? EEEEEEEEE!!!!
9:00 E! BRIDALPLASTY
Season finale! The final two brides compete to see whose plastic surgeries look the least grotesque.
MONDAY, JANUARY 31
8:00 ABC THE BACHELOR
Brad takes the 11 finalists to Las Vegas, and... Jesus! Doesn't that city have enough genital herpes already?!?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
8:00 PBS PIONEERS OF TELEVISION
An entire episode dedicated to the classics of crime drama including Mannix, I Spy, Mission: Impossible, and more!
9:00 LIF SERIOUSLY FUNNY KIDS
Debut! Heidi Klum (??) hosts this remake of Kids Say the Darndest Things (which makes you want to smack 'em across the chops).
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2
9:00 TLC MY STRANGE ADDICTION
Tonight: a woman who can't stop cleaning her house, and someone who really, really, really likes... umm... rocks.
10:00 TLC TODDLERS & TIARAS
Three kids try to survive a "Groovy Girls" pageant in Texas—where corporal punishment is always "groovy"!