TLC features some extremely strange shows. For a network that calls itself The Learning Channel, its content can be pretty obscure and haunting, providing audiences with a “can’t look away” aspect that they are unable to escape from.
Aside from learning that there are people out there in need of some serious help who are selling the rights to their plight to a big TV network instead of trying to get help, viewers will learn that TLC has some seriously shocking shows, and that’s just what’s currently on.
Through its storied past, TLC has featured some shows that have downright crossed the line of decency, to the delight and horror of the viewing public. Featuring shows with explicit scenes of childbirth, treating funerals like they’re sweet sixteens, and a guy who just can’t help getting turned on by inflatable pool toys, there is a wide variety of programs for those who like they’re television a bit on the ridiculous side.
So whip up some cheesy potatoes, get 911 on the line, and tell your pregnant teen daughter that her newest episode is about to start, because here are the 15 TLC Shows That Took It Way Too Far.
15. Extreme Cheapskates
Extreme Cheapstakes crosses the line in a lot of ways, from down right kleptomaniacs stealing from their families to families washing dishes in a baby pool full of rain water. TLC lit the stage for mental illness and sold tickets with a smile.
Suddenly, Ramen four nights a week doesn’t really seem that bad, especially when some of these people send their loved ones out to dumpster dive for food and furniture.
TLC crosses the line with this one because it seems to glorify the behavior. Sure, the viewers at home are appalled when Brian has been forcing his cat to use the same box of liter for 3 years, but the people featured on the show couldn’t be happier.
14. Alaskan Women Looking For Love
Alaskan women need love too, and no one seemed to know this better than TLC. They knew this so much so, in fact, that they sent a herd of mavericks down to Miami to find a suitable mate.
The show’s entire concept seems to be based on the fact that Alaskan women are near mythological Sasquatch beings who would be chased out of Miami in days due to their love of the outdoors and the like.
Well, they were kind of right. These women bumbled through Miami like they had just been pulled out of thickets of the wilderness and had the twigs pulled out of their hair before getting on the plane to Florida.
Honestly, they were pretty normal and the idea flopped. Mercifully, Alaskan Women Looking For Love only lasted for one season, meaning that viewers have to reference obscure drone footage and the unsolved mystery YouTube channels to get a real look at the Alaskan ladies that they lust after.
13. Best Funeral Ever
Honestly, what the is wrong with people? Even though some cultures treat funerals as a celebration of life and decide to party with song and dance, it’s still a funeral, and thus some lines should never be crossed. For example, funerals shouldn’t be treated like an upgraded version of Pimp My Ride, Pimp My Casket.
Best Funeral Ever revolved around a family who ran a funeral home, as well as the bystanders who somehow thought that it’d be a good idea to submit their relative’s funeral preparations to a reality show.
The show was predictably gaudy, with over the top funerals plagued with staged drama and the usual reality TV fare. The family was likable enough, but the concept was revolting, to say the least. Have some respect TLC.
12. Freaky Eaters
Everyone has their quirks with eating– some people can’t stand a certain food or ingredient, while others would gladly bathe in said food stuff if they had the chance.
TLC decided that taste in food (literally) was a solid concept for a show, and created Freaky Eaters, a show that focused on those who were food obsessed or had eating disorders.
From a woman who stuffed herself with more cheesy potatoes than a Taco Bell breakfast to a woman who could only eat burnt sausage, the show had its fair share of mildly entertaining– and disturbing– content.
The show also featured a man getting a parasite from eating raw meat, who was thankfully cured of his habit before things got worse, among other detestable things.
11. Mall Cops: Mall Of America
Have you ever been strolling through the mall, trying to find things that you can buy cheaper on Amazon later, when you’ve spotted a mall cop and thought, “Now that’s some action I could get behind”?
If so, Mall Cops: Mall Of America is probably the show for you. The show revolves around the white shirts who patrol the shop laden avenues of the Mall of America, keeping order for anyone who wants to visit the Yankee Candle store without the hassle of harassment by hooligans.
The show mainly focused on all the mundane duties that one would associate with a mall cop, from shooing teenagers along to chasing down shoplifters.
A few episodes contained noteworthy plots, including a gang of streakers who planned to rampage through the mall in the nude and running security for a visit by Sarah Palin.
10. Outrageous 911
The only thing outrageous about Outrageous 911 was the fact that the show was made in the first place. The concept revolved around the most silly or humorous 911 calls, two words you usually wouldn’t associate with 911 calls.
While it’s funny to listen to people flip out about locking their keys in the car or accidentally knocking their friend out with a two handed foam sword during a LARP fest, the show becomes tedious after the first few minutes.
Portraying the job of a 911 operator or emergency responders in general as humorous or silly is also widely misleading– especially since it’s common knowledge that they obviously see some pretty messed up stuff.
9. Sex Sent Me To The ER
Sex Sent Me To The ER wasn’t all that crazy, until you really started getting into all the weird stuff that people clamp onto and stuff into their bodies.
Even more horrifying is the doctors, nurses, and surgeons, who take no liberties when describing what kind of work is required and how much eye bleach had to be passed around the room after they removed an entire family of unwitting hamsters out of someone’s land of eternal darkness. It is some dark and vivid stuff.
We’re not prudes, but if you and Karen want to try the Alabama Log Jammer in an attempt to spice things up, then please keep your subsequent hospital visit to yourselves and don’t sell it off to a reality TV station.
8. Something Borrowed, Something New
Taking an old wedding tradition and adulterating it for ratings, Something Borrowed, Something New challenged brides with picking between designer wedding gowns or their moms’ hand me down dresses.
Aside from a sure fire way to have your mother decline showing up to your wedding, the show seems like a practice in creating unnecessary drama– which is essentially the point, as it poses family member against family member.
After all, who’s going to go with their mother’s old dress that is most likely out of style when a $10,000 Italian wedding dress is dangled in front of their face like a new toy?
7. Welcome To Myrtle Manor
Adding fuel to a fire that has burned since the beginning of time, Myrtle Manor took a bunch of the preconceived stereotypes about the folks who live in trailer parks and blew them out of the water.
Taking a whole herd of Florida rednecks and dressing them up in the most outrageously hick outfits available, the show followed the usual TLC trend of scripting characters’ days and acting like it’s their actual routine.
The show featured the usual gauntlet of drinking, lawn chairs, and cat fights that most would associate with a trailer park, with little deviation.
6. My Strange Addiction
While it could be said that almost every episode of My Strange Addiction is taking it a bit too far (remember the girl who rolled her ice cream in used ashtrays?), there are two episodes that stick out as taking things way too far.
The first involved a couple living somewhere in England, two gals with unique tastes in style and one with a strange addiction– she liked to pretend that she was furniture. She would get the urge out of seemingly nowhere, becoming a table or washing machine on the spot.
The other was a young man who had a seriously intimate attraction to his family of pool toys– kissing and touching them pretty much constantly. Uncomfortable isn’t even the word for it; imagining being his neighbor.
5. Strange Sex
There is no limit to the amount of going too far that Strange Sex was able to pull off. The title alone lets you know that things may not be the most pleasant for the next hour of television before the show even starts.
We’re not shaming anyone’s intimate taste– you’re free to like who and what you’d like. However, like most of the shows on this list, please keep it to yourself and don’t broadcast it to the public.
The public at large doesn’t need to know how attracted you are to balloons or why you need stirrups for certain activities. Be as comfortable as you’d like with who you are and what you like people to do to you, just don’t talk about it on TV.
4. My Teen Is Pregnant And So Am I
Surprisingly, My Teen Is Pregnant And So Am I isn’t the title of the tell-all special featuring the cast of Myrtle Manor.
No, the show is just another cast of sadly attention-starved individuals who just happened to be knocked up at the same time as their young daughters who haven’t been doing much studying after school.
While the show did provide for some pretty entertaining banter between upset pregnant women (a refined pleasure, to be sure), it was mostly a display of shame.
3. Before The 90 Days
A spinoff of TLC’s hit flagship reality program 90 Day Fiancé, Before The 90 Days follows Americans as they travel to their long distance lover’s country of residence in order to really know if they are the one or not.
While you’d have to be a pretty “unique” person to allow TLC to follow you overseas, their is apparently no shortage of old white men trying to find wives abroad– the very first season has been mostly old dudes talking to women at least twenty years younger.
2. Secretly Pregnant
We’d like to start by saying: how is it a secret pregnancy if you’re making a show about it? A camera crew is following these people around, what do these people think, they’ve become super interesting for no reason over night? Nothing is more obvious than a camera man following someone’s every move.
Aside from the obvious logical pitfalls associated with the concept for this show, it nevertheless gained a following. In fact, it grew so much in popularity that fans are still seeking updates about the families that were featured on the show.
1. A Baby Story
A Baby Story wasn’t that outlandish of a show in theory. Its episodes would follow an expectant couple as they went to Lamaze classes and cried at ultrasounds– the usual when it comes to pregnancy-focused reality shows.
However, where A Baby Story really took the cake in going a bit too far was when the expecting mother was rushed to the delivery room. Here, TLC would film the childbirth in all its fluid-covered glory.
Childbirth is a beautiful thing, but it’s one of those events that most need to mentally prepare for– you wouldn’t just walk in on childbirth and go “neat!,” would you?
No, you’d recoil like most of the viewers of this thankfully short-lived show while trying to keep your dinner down.
Can you think of any other TLC shows that went way too far? Let us know in the comments.
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