Over the past 30 years, TLC has gone from showing NASA documentaries to forcing Gypsy brides, polygamists and rumspringa Amish kids down our throats. Of course, their cornerstone has been exploiting...er... creating bad TV shows that invite us into the houses of families with extra ordinary multiples. Unfortunately, they have been very successful in picking families that not only have more kids than the law should allow (seriously, the laws of human nature should not allow one woman to have 19 kids) but also, families that have more issues than Time Magazine.
But, let's keep it 100 as the kids say... Is anyone really surprised that a channel that used to be called THE LEARNING CHANNEL is lined with fallen "stars" who don't have an advanced degree between them? That is what the universe likes to call irony. I think? I may need to ask Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert about irony.
To begin TLC's march toward the catastrophe, there was "Jon and Kate Plus Eight," the show that won our hearts with 8 adorable kids, one really bitchy mom and an equally douchey dad. That show, with all it promise, ended up in a national shambles. Jon ended up having an affair on Kate, then took his barely legal side piece to hang out with they guy who created Ed Hardy t-shirts, later became "Eskimo brothers" with Michael Lohan (Lindsey's dad, yep, that Lindsey) and is now trying his hand at DJing. Kate got a weave, got hot with lipo, had a fling with her bodyguard, competed on Dancing with the Stars but lost due to what they call "bitch face," eventually got made to look a right ass by her 2 older daughters on the Today Show and is now denying she is engaged to an alleged "deadbeat dad" (boo!) who may be a millionaire (hooray?).
Jon and Kate however don't hold a candle to the dysfunction which is/was "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." It was a spin-off of TLC's peedo-baiting, just plain sad, "Toddlers and Tiarras" a show that documented kiddy beauty pageants for those who are interested... Pedophiles. Alana ("Honey Boo Boo") Thompson was the breakout star of that show and because TLC loves to exploit the unlearned and Southern, they gave her and her family a show on the network, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." Aside from being a master class on how not to raise children, the show entertained us with the hijinks of Honey Boo Boo, her sisters, dad, Sugar Bear and mom, Mama June, whose BMI number is probably, Im' guessing, French Fries. They cooked atrociously unhealthy food, had an unmarried teen pregnancy, let "Honey Boo Boo" bathe in mayonnaise, sneezed on the Thanksgiving turkey and traveled the country from beauty pageant to beauty pageant so Honey Boo Boo could compete. All with hiillll-ariooouuus outcomes. Oh, and did I mention that they needed subtitles. THE SHOW NEEDED SUBTITLES IN AMERICA FOR PEOPLE SPEAKING ENGLISH. (They used to do this for Dennis Rodman when he was on reality TV because he can be a bit mush mouthy, but mainly because he was high most of the time.) "Honey Boo Boo" ended abruptly when Mama June left Sugar Bear for her ex-con, ex-boyfriend who was in jail for molesting one of her daughters that was featured on the show. Yep.
So now you have "19 and Counting" which follows the exploits of the Duggar family and the day to day of raising a litter...er family of 19. What is special about them? Well mom, Michelle, has been pregnant over half her life and is a big fan of the Amish Chic/1980's Martina Navratilova look and dad, Jim Bob (yes James Robert or Jim Bob, from Arkansas, with 19 kids, every time is type it I hear the beginning of "Dueling Banjos") was at onetime an Arkansas State Representative who actually ran for the U.S. Senate. He apparently has an allergy to condoms and looks a bit like the dad from Teen Wolf when not "wolfed out." And oh, they are a part of the Quiverfull conservative Christian movement which when you read about it seems pretty cult-y.
Yeah, that's the look...
The Duggars home school their 19 kids which is funny to me since neither one of them has an advanced degree or teaching certificate because, freedom, I guess. They have also become rising stars among Christian Conservatives and many in the GOP because of their "traditional family values and morals." They supported Former Senator Rick Santorum, he of "tell The Pope to shut his face about global warming," in the last presidential election. They are personal friends with fellow Arkansan, Former Governor and minister Mike Huckabee (who is one of my faves...). Michelle Duggar was actually the voice of an anti-LGBT robocall lobbying against an anti-discrimination bill. Their son Josh is, oops! was, the executive director of the Family Research Council Action lobbying group and reason why the Duggars have become the latest casualty of what we will call "The TLC Rhythm Method Curse." During his tenure at the FRCA Josh is has made a name for himself espousing his Pro-Life stances as well as his passionate pro-marriage (read: anti-gay) rhetoric stating at one time that LGBT rights threaten child safety. Josh has also copped to (I know its a terrible choice of words) inappropriately touching 4 of his younger sisters and possibly a family friend/babysitter.
The story, which ironically was published by In Touch Weekly magazine, details Josh's fondling ways when he was 14, a family cover up orchestrated by mom and dad and possible pass by Arkansas law enforcement. The details of the story are very sketch but point to a big ole Arkansas/"In The Heat of the Night" style cover up that includes a now convicted kiddy porn enthusiast former trooper, religious reprogramming counseling and of all things, Oprah.
To "clear things up," Fox News' Megyn "Santa and Jesus are white and if you question me you are a racist bully" Kelly interviewed the parents, Jim Bob and Michelle about the molestation which Josh has since apologized for and apparently is all good for crimes committed in Arkansas. (Any good criminal worth his or her salt has to be moving to Arkansas right now to take advantage of the "I'm Sorry/My Badd" defense, right?) For the Interview, Ms. Kelly did what any good reporter would do, ask the obvious, tough questions with no follow up. You know, the questions that are so obvious that you could rehearse them before hand and be safe as long as interviewer doesn't follow up. All for which we should not be surprised if her arm is in a sling for a while after voraciously patting herself on the back for being a "real" journalist.
In the interview, Jim Bob and Michelle say, "They feel like failures" as parents. And they should. Seriously, if they had the sense that God gave cabbage, they would know that statistically one of their kids was going to have some freak stuff going on. I am not a psychologist, but my 3rd grade teacher said I should be, but wouldn't it stand to reason that the oldest of the brood be the most neglected and most likely freak? Think about it, when did "Kenneth the Page" and "Jersey Mall Hair" ever have a chance to really bond with that kid? Josh may as well have been raised by wolves. (Which he may have been based on my earlier "Teen Wolf" dad theory.) But in the big scheme of life, how is it possible to "raise" 19 kids? In this country we get pissed when people have more than 5 dogs or cats so how did we all co-signing on 19 kids for so long anyway?
What was really funny was that Jim Bob morphed into Jim Bob Esq. Attorney at Law. He used every legal term possible not to call Josh a child molester. He came out with technicalities and ages at which you are considered a full on molester. I bet Jerry Sandusky wishes "Attorney Aqua Net" was his lawyer during his trial.
Look, to be frank, I totally understand a father not wanting his son to be labeled a child molester. Josh lives in the area from my understanding and you don't want a sex offender living in your neighborhood because of the property value hit. I mean, there goes the neighborhood, huh?
Jim Bob also waited a year to report the incidents and then when he did, he went to his buddy and member of the church who was a State Trooper to "give Josh a stern talking to." His trooper buddy, Officer Joe Hutchens, was later charged with kiddy porn offenses and is in jail for 56 years because of it. I wonder what that talk was about?
Josh: Trooper Hutchens, I just have these feelings and I am curious. What should I do?
Trooper Hutchens: Josh, we all have feelings and we are all curious. God made us that way. Now has your dad showed you this thing they are calling the internet? (Points to screen in office.)
Josh: Wow! There are pictures of naked little girls up there!
Trooper Hutchens: That's right Josh! On the internet, the world is our oyster!
The sick thing is that the parent knew Josh was a full on child molester. Besides the different incidents they claimed he admitted to, they actually caught him! They said he was in the laundry with one of the girls, hands under her dress after which, they moved him out of the house to work construction as part of his "therapy." They then continued building a new house that was designed to avoid Josh the predator! They made sure that the boys room was separated from the girls room with the parents room placed in front of the girls room as a "barricade" (their word). I don't use a barricade on anything unless there is an imminent threat. (You hear that circus clowns!) Locks were placed on the girls doors so their was no threat of someone entering in the middle of the night as a third line of defense against his predatory ways. Apparently most of the molestation took place at when the victims were asleep which lead the Duggars to their "nothing to see here" perspective. His older sisters, who he didn't feel up (or so we are lead to believe) also mentioned that they were instructed not to play hide and seek anymore after the incident.
The family all claims to have forgiven Josh and all is well. In fact, the two sisters said as much in the second part of Megyn Kelly's interview which is all fine and good accept they were not the ones molested. I want to know how the girls who were groped by Josh are doing. Unfortunately, we probably won't know for years. Hopefully, they really will remember nothing at all and go on to lead healthy productive lives which have nothing to do with giving birth to a 53 man roster. Sexual abuse is not a matter to be dealt with in a Fox News "spin"-terview (get it?). It can leave mental scars that can are beyond repair and takes years of therapy to come to grips with. After watching the Duggar's interviews, however, I get the feeling the parents are more concerned about power and money than they are about their pups... er children, which is sad. Verily I say unto the Duggars, Timothy 6:10 (Radix malorum est cupiditas... "Money is the root of all evil" for you troglodytes that don't know Latin including me who failed it in college. I just remember enough to sound like I know something. I really don't know anything in case you were checking.)
I also wonder about all the women in the family. They seem to be towing a very male dominate line that does not do much for their own female empowerment. I am sure each of the Spice Girls all have a little tear in their eye for the Duggar women. (Except for Posh. Posh just gives that knowing look/pout and you know you have screwed up...) Look, to each his own, but this family seems to be making Josh the victim and forgetting about the toll on the girls pooh-poohing it as "they were asleep." "They PROBABLY don't remember anything." "It only happened 3 times." And on and on. (Their homeschool curriculum may have something to do with it.) In fact, they seem to go out of their way for Josh while slighting the true victims. "Josh was curious." Josh was this, Josh was that, well how about the fact that victims were helpless little girls. Granted, Josh is the one in the line of fire, but how is it possible that such short shrift is paid to the victims?
You know you messed up, right?
And to think, this all would have just been internet rumor and innuendo had it not been for Ms. Female Empowerment, Oprah. Seems that Oprah, AKA Queen of Television, was set to do a show on the Duggar family back in 2006 but her production team got wind that Josh was a possible molester. Rather than ride the Duggar money pony like Buffalo Bill Cody, Harpo productions did what any responsible television production company would do and reported the possible incidents to the authorities as well as kiboshed the feature on the family. So in this whole thing, Oprah, a stranger with a more new age religious background, had more of an interest in the well being of the Duggar children than their devout Christian parents, Jim Bob and Michelle. In any case, it was that filed report that lead to the UN-classified reports on Josh that were released to In Touch Weekly. Freakin' Oprah is everywhere, son!
Look, I could go on for days about this family's hypocrisy, but that seems to have been covered like a blanket. This family's appears to me to be victim of their own hubris. Of course they have already blamed the media and some mystery agenda/vendetta for their pitfalls, but it was a media source (kind of), TLC, that they relied on to cover up their son's crimes's for years. The Duggars, with the help of (what I can assume is a corrupt) local law enforcement and an extremely complicit and willing TV network (barely) are really who are to blame. This is a family that has several now apparent and long lasting psychological questions to answer, and TLC's willingness to turn its back for years did not help the situation.
Let's face it, a woman who is not Amish or living on a farm in 1790 that has 19 kids in this day and age has some issues as does the husband who insists that she does it. (The fact that he can assert his will on his wife as such proves some sort of relationship instability in its own right. She had a miscarriage on the show which is extremely mentally traumatic. I only hope that TLC offered her counseling, but I doubt it.) And seriously, Jim Bob, do you think your genetics are so scary dominant that you need 19 kids? You know who deserves to have 19 kids in this world? Dr. Jonas Salk, that's who. That guy cured Polio, what has Jim Bob done? Single-handedly brought back the season one Mike Brady - Brady Bunch haircut. And Fox News' fawning is only belaboring the point. This is a family in crisis with an arrogant and unapologetic patriarch and sheepish yet determined matriarch.
That Jim Bob didn't Fredo (as in The Godfather) Josh early on is a sign of tremendous arrogance. Any patriarch worth his salt and with dynastic political ambitions like Jim Bob knows that Josh is damaged goods politically. To continue to prop him up let him become a voice on family values all of this points to one simple thing, arrogance. You send his ass to Vegas to work with and get slapped around by Moe Green, for bangin' cocktail waitresses 2 at a time. You keep that kid away from the family business. It's just common sense.
Who was angling for a cabinet position?
A friend of mine said it best, "They are giving Christians a bad name!" Which I agree with and I am surprised at the number of Christian groups towing their very frayed and damaged line. I figured TLC would have cut them faster than, well Rick Santorum did, but they haven't, and honestly I don't want them to cancel the show. I have one selfish reason for keeping that show on the air. It is a long shot, but maybe more of a reality than not. I am waiting for the episode when one of those daughters, (probably Jinger, the sassy one, yeah, it's gotta be Jinger) brings home her black boyfriend. And I don't want some yella brotha like me or Prince... that's too easy. I need him to be a big, tall, good-looking, Idris Elba, maybe Black James Bond looking mutha sucka.
Here is how I see the opening scene in my head:
Jinger: Mom and Dad, I want you to meet my new boyfriend, Darnell. Darnell, these are my parents!
Darnell: Wow! Jinger, you didn't tell me your parents were the dad from "Teen Wolf" and 1980's tennis legend Martina Navratilova! I love your work!
Jim Bob: (looks to the sky) NOOOOOOOOOO!
Michelle: (eyes bug out as she looks to Jim Bob for what to do. Copies Jim Bobs scream midway through) ...OOOOOOOOO!
Darnell: (to Jinger) Not a good time to tell them about the B-A-B-Y in you, huh?
Jinger: (to Darnell) Or your 2 lesbian moms...
Now that is what I call good TV.