TLC Sundays

by M. Lizabeth Currain

And I’m not talking about T-boz, Left-eye, or Chili. This is strictly about The Learning Channel and their Sunday evening programming. I’ve had this blog floating around in my head for awhile and finally decided that it needed to be let out. When I say “a while” I’m not talking two weeks, I’m talking two years at least. Two years I’ve held this belief, and I’m finally sharing it with all three of you.

The Learning Channel, most commonly referred to as TLC, shows the weirdest, most depressing programming on Sunday evening. Seriously. It’s usually about people with birth defects, people who are severely over weight, people with odd conditions, etc. One time they had a show about David Reimer, called “Born a boy, Raised a Girl“, it was about how but they botched the circumcision at birth, so the doctors thought it would be best if he lived his life as a girl. That plan didn’t really work out as nicely as they thought it was going to. They sent him to therapy when (s)he was a child and the therapist pretty much molested him and his brother by making them touch each other. The therapist even brings in a trans to try and show how the situation is okay, but the girl always felt like a boy. Finally at whatever age, she gets to be a he, but ends up killing himself later on down the road. On Sunday Feb 8th, the line-up wasn’t as grim, but included The Pregnant Man , Mermaid Girl, and The Woman With Giant Legs.

We all know about the Pregnant Man–TLC was just reminding us. You don’t really want to get me started on this. I mean, yes, this is a step in the right direction for the acceptance of transgendered people and I believe that people should be allowed to live their lives how they want as long as it isn’t harmful to themselves or others…HOWEVER, this is not some miracle. This is a man who was biologically a female and kept those baby making parts, enabling him to have children. This is not a man who was biologically a man with man parts that squeezed a baby out of his peen. This is one reason that I am not so fascinated with the Pregnant Man.

Mermaid Girl–this one was depressing. This girl was born with her legs fused together, so that she sort of only has one leg and it looks like a mermaid tail. It’s hard for her to support her upper body and because she can’t be as active as she needs to be, she puts on weight easily. The surgery is dangerous because all of the nerves are tangled up and stuff. She’s probably going to be a mermaid for a while. But she’s pretty positive…I’m not so sure how happy I’d be if I didn’t have any genitalia. Here’s a clip I found on YouTube, it’s not from the TLC documentary, but it’s kind of equally depressing.

The Woman With Giant Legs was a little unsettling. Mandy Sellers is from England and has something called Proteus syndrome, which is most commonly associated with this dude:

Mandy also seemed upbeat, which is amazing considering the shear amount of energy she has to put forward to just put on her shoes (which are unfortunate, I wish the shoe guy she had could make her a cuter pair). One of her feet is turned completely around, which makes it even more difficult for her to walk. She weighs 20 stone which is roughly 280 pounds…and 210 of that are her legs. This is all putting strain on her heart. She wants to have her legs amputated, but if they do that, she will only have her top half…and they aren’t able to make prosthetics that would enable her to walk, so she is going to wait until the last minute to have her legs amputated. She was kind of funny because she was getting her hair done and going shopping for a new top and basically said if her legs are going to look like this and people are going to be staring at her, she’s not going to look like a hot mess up top. Those are my words, though, not hers. She also kind of looked like Stephen Merchant.

This coming Sunday the line up includes; Extreme Aging: Hayley’s Story and Joined For life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16. Also on the following Sunday, TLC will be airing; Half Ton Mom, followed by Half Ton Dad, concluded by, not surprisingly, Half Ton Teen. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that TLC LOVES a fatty! Case and point Manuel Uribe. TLC was good for him..he lost some weight, got married, and some company even made him a sex ramp so that he could do the dirty with this wife.

It’s as if TLC is saying, “Hey guys, it’s Sunday. If you weren’t feeling shitty already about the beginning of yet another terrible week, here are some stories that are sure to cheer you up, because you know what, at least you aren’t 1000lbs, don’t have giant limbs, and have genitalia.” That kind of nonsense doesn’t work for me…and I’ll tell you why. One Sunday evening a few summers ago, I was watching at TLC documentary on a supercalifragilisticexpialidociously fat man in England somewhere. He was basically bedridden and had home health aides who he made sign a contract not to allow him to stuff his face with crisps or mayonnaise or crisps dipped in mayonnaise no matter how many horrible things he said to them. He was lying in his bed, his head peering above his ginormous body and his hands folded over his mountain of a stomach, telling us his story. As I was watching this, I realized that I WAS LAYING IN THE SAME EXACT POSITION AS HIM watching him talk about how fat he is and how much he likes his crisps. That is depressing and I immediately turned on my side.