See this person in the middle, above? She Who Must Not be Mentioned keeps getting reality TV shows. Why, I don’t know.
Her claim to fame is that she gave birth to eight children, put them through a circus or four on television and further exploited herself and her family though a drawn out and messy TV divorce. Now she’s back, humiliating strangers on a creepy-sad dating show. She is set up with self esteem-deprived individuals who sit nervously across dinner tables while she rolls her eyes and acts unpleasant. She asks, on camera, why she has to suffer through dates with losers on camera. She doesn’t have to, of course, but she does.
This new show is coming at some point — I’m not going to say when — to TLC. A million jokes have been made about how this network once was called The Learning Channel. Now, it could be called, after its viewers, The Never Learn Channel.
Television Critics Association members suffered through the TLC sessions Tuesday which began with the network president announcing an exciting new show: Drag Me to the Altar. This will be about drag queens and weddings. True story.
This is, of course, already the home of Dr. Pimple Popper, about a woman who squeezes enormous, custard-filled cysts off the backs and faces of people who literally want to be on TV so badly it is just oozing right out of them.
Which brings us back to She Who Must Not Be Mentioned. The point of her show, we were told, is that it has been 10 year since her very public divorce, and she’s ready to find love. “Will it be one and done?” goes the clip, “or will she go on a second date?”
Reporters sat in silent horror Tuesday as she appeared on stage flanked by two of her teenage daughters. These children are part of her dating show. They told us they’ve been trying to get mom to date for years. Their mom told us she’s a very protective parent and that these two were, despite all evidence to the contrary, “wise, good decision-makers.” I will not name them here, to steal a line from former colleague and Toronto Sun Theatre critic John Coulbourn, because naming them would contravene the young offenders act.
Somebody cleared the vomit from their throat long enough to gently ask if these teens were mature enough to make this hellish decision. Mom suggested that all this relentless tabloid excess and the school yard taunting that undoubtedly dogged them growing up has “enriched their lives.”
Many of us fled the session in vain search of some sort of chemical shower that could somehow remove the stain of the past 30 minutes. The only real question at the session, unasked for fear of impacting these children, would have been to ask what TLC sees in this. My guess is that viewers love villains, love to hiss at somebody who makes some of us feel superior to fools who shamelessly pull their pants down on camera. Then there is the primary directive at the core of all TLC programming: viewers never tire of “celebrities” being humiliated on camera.
More chilling is the notion that any distraction, the sadder the better, is TV gold right now; that TLC stands for Trump Loves Crap, and his fan base can wallow in it here.
She Who Must Never be Mentioned left us with this thought: she wants to be an example to her children. We look forward to her next TLC series: Whoring Out My Kids.”