Yes, I must admit to catching some of these episodes with kind of a train wreck fascination. My lovely wife would watch occasionally, and I would get drawn into what I would call The Adventures of Douchey and Whiny. Half the episode was Kate yelling at Jon about how lazy he was and Jon mumbling to himself with a thousand yard stare of resentment.
I mean, when Ed Hardy says you're giving his clothing a bad name...
Between the cuteness of the kids and the awfulness of the parents, the show became a ratings hit. And you know what that means!
Copycat programming! Here's a partial list of all the TV shows this potential orphanage inspired:
- 19 Kids and Counting (God told them to keep having kids!)
- Quints by Surprise (My penis ejaculated! Surprise!)
- Table for 12
- Sextuplets take New York
- The Octomom Show! (Just like Gwyneth Paltrow proved you can be too rich or too thin, Octomom proves you can have too many babies.)
Honestly, TLC should have changed their name to Kids 'n' Dwarfs, 'cause that's all they had on the air for a while.
Maybe it is my Canadian upbringing and the cultural memory of the shameful sideshow treatment of the Dionne Quints, but I find these shows repulsive. The children are paraded around by the worst kind of stage parents. Kids are young so briefly, let them enjoy themselves without worrying about hitting their mark for the camera.
And these parents are all uninteresting. I wouldn't spend five minutes talking to them on a bus, let alone 13 TV episodes. "Wow, so you had a lot of kids, huh? Maybe you should wear jockeys. Oh! Here's my stop."
The only interesting ones are the Duggars on 19 Kids, and they are fascinating in an end of days sort of way. God apparently wants more Christian soldiers and they have taken it upon themselves to produce them. All of them are smiling Children of the Corn extras. (Except for one. In the credits montage of happy faces, there is one smack in the middle scowling. Guess who the future Goth is going to be?)
Check out Jason at 0:20. You've just met a future Cure fan.
But, at least the original inspiration has now gone for a permanent time out, and soon the rest will follow. TLC promises they'll check in on them in the future. Hopefully, they will check in on Thanksgiving dinner when the kids are all 16 and we can bathe in the screams of "Mother! You ruined my life!"