Last night I watched the incredibly depressing stories of Savipat Kemkajit Chotpintu and Ed Port unfold on my TV screen during TLC’s latest medical special, My Giant Face Tumor.
Just like the title of the show implied, they have giant face tumors. Because I’m naive and stupid, I assumed these tumors would simply be large bumps on their faces. Similar to the kind of pimple you’d see on the face of a Clearasil model right before prom. Oh no. These tumors completely took over their faces, giving them a look that I don’t even know how to describe without being horribly offensive.
Throughout the episode, we find out how the tumors have affected their lives and how they’re still able to remain somewhat positive despite their massive facial deformities. It certainly puts my life into perspective and gets me thinking about how fortunate I am not to have a giant face tumor.
And sure by the end, they get the tumors partially removed by incredibly skilled doctors and you feel a little uplifted by their new outlooks on life. But I didn’t turn on this show to see a real life medical drama unfold. I turned it on for mindless entertainment. That’s what TLC should be. The second you turn it on, you should be able to turn your brain off.
But noooo. Someone at TLC has other plans for the network and frankly, I’m scared.
The network we’ve come to love for their unabashed look at the lives of people you’d never want to meet in real life seems to be into into teaching us something again. Which is a huge problem in my life because I stopped thinking of TLC as The Learning Channel back in the ’00s.
Sure I always feel slightly guilty about gawking at the cheapskates, the people who eat toilet paper, the toddlers in tiaras — but I also always feel slightly better about myself. Yes I’ve made bad decisions, but they’re never bad enough to land me on a show where I’m presented to the nation as an oddity. It’s the best free therapy you can find on TV right now.
But between this show and last week’s informative look at the Half-Ton Killer, I’m starting to suspect that someone’s trying to turn this back into The Learning Channel. Slowly, but surely they’ll introduce informative shows back into the line-up, hidden between episodes of Little Shop of Gypsies and Breaking Amish. And you know what, I will not have that kind of disrespect going down on my TV.
You best stay trashy TLC and you best not think about airing one more show with a soft-spoken narrator who makes us feel empathy for other people. I will not tolerate that and if I know other TLC viewers like I think I know them, they will not stand for this learning business either.