Flashback Friday: Unexpected (2017-Present)

Children are a blessing. They are also the biggest job any adult can take on. Ideally, it takes a mature and responsible person to become a parent. What happens you have a child and you are still a child yourself?

The TLC program Unexpected has been on the air since 2017. Like its sister show, MTV‘s 16 and Pregnant, this show follows young girls who are in the family way. While dealing with the standard growing pains of that age, they are living with the very adult responsibility of becoming a parent.

This is another example of a reality show in which the viewer has to question what is real and what has been created to build up drama. While watching this show, I have two thoughts. The first is that I have to question if these children are being exploited for the sake of viewership. The second is that these kids appear to be so blase about this abrupt change in their lives. What bothers me is that there are many couples in this country (one of whom I am very close to) who are ready, willing, and able to become someone’s parents, but cannot do so the old-fashioned way. While these kids pop out their own kids like it is no big deal, adults who want to children are unable to make it happen.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Nate & Jeremiah by Design (2017-Present)

The balance between our work lives and our personal lives is, well, a balancing act. Sometimes, priorities have been shifted around to be productive.

Nate and Jeremiah by Design have been part of the TLC lineup since 2017. Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are life partners and business partners. While raising their children and maintaining their marriage, their job is to help homeowners whose home renovation projects did not go as planned.

I respect the fact that we get a glimpse into their private lives. I also appreciate the representation of the LGBTQ community that is still sadly lacking on television. However, the narrative is rote as the genre goes. After a certain point, I have to change the channel. I can only take so much before I get bored.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday: My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (2012-2016)

There has been a fascination by those in the majority about those who are in the minority. This fascination has, for better or worse, become a gold mine for reality television producers.

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding aired on TLC from 2012-2016. This reality show told the story of the marriage ceremonies of Romani Americans (otherwise known as Gypsies).

This program is trash, there is no other way to put it. I will freely admit that I am completely uneducated on this segment of American society. However, regardless of how much knowledge the viewer has of Romani-Americans, it comes off as the typical brain drain over-dramatic reality program.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

Throwback Thursday: Cake Boss (2009-2017)

For those who love to be in the kitchen, baking is more than final product that comes out of the oven. It is the love and pride that comes with creating something for someone else to enjoy.

Cake Boss aired on TLC from 2009-2017. The show followed Buddy Valastro, the owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop, located in Hoboken, New Jersey. Audiences were introduced to Buddy, his staff and his family as they created edible masterpieces for their customers.

I really like this show. It is entertaining without the mind numbing feeling that comes with some reality shows. As a viewer, I enjoy the challenge of watching these cakes go from conception to reality.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012-2014)

If I am to be truly honest with my readers, I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with reality television. As I see it, there is a spectrum with this genre. At the very top are programs that I will watch and not feel like I am brain dead. At the bottom are programs that I refuse to watch, because I feel like I am killing brain cells and precious television time.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo aired on TLC from 2012-2014. An off-shoot of Toddlers & Tiaras, the show followed the life and adventures of former child beauty contestant Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and her family.

Through its short run, the reviews for this show were far from positive. I only watched short clips, but I cannot help but agree with the critics. Falling somewhere between trashy and exploitative, I know enough to know that I loath this program. If I have a choice between watching this show and not watching TV at all, I would rather not watch TV.

I do not recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-A Wedding Story (2001-Present)

For many, their wedding day is the most important day of their lives.

Back in 2001, A Wedding Story premiered on TLC. It has been a part of the channel’s regular schedule ever since.

The premise of the show is that it follows that episode’s couple as they plan their wedding to the big day itself. In addition to the couple that is getting married, family and friends are also interviewed in the process of getting ready for the wedding.

A Wedding Story is interesting. It’s kind of a glossy image of the process of getting married, but in terms of television, there are worse shows to watch.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday-A Baby Story (1998-Present)

Having a baby is one of the most transformative events in one’s life.

For the last 21 years, TLC has been telling the stories of parents bringing their children into the world in A Baby Story. The show follows the parents in their last weeks of pregnancy, during the birth itself and the first few weeks the baby’s life.

As reality shows go, A Baby Story is one of the better ones. It’s one of those reality programs that can be binged on without feeling like brain cells have been destroyed.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-Extreme Couponing (2010-2012)

When going to the grocery store, having coupons on hand is a regular part of the shopping experience for many.

The subjects of the TLC reality show Extreme Couponing (2010-2012) took the idea of having coupons on hand while grocery shopping to another level. The premise of the show is that the subjects go to extreme measures via coupons to spend as little as possible at the grocery store. The highest point of drama came at the checkout counter, to see if the hard work of extreme couponing paid off.

I don’t know about this show. I certainly understand the concept of the program, but it feels almost like a television side show. We are watching the coupon freaks for the sake of our entertainment and their derision.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday-Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids (2011-2013)

Any woman who has ever gotten married will tell you that shopping for a wedding dress is fraught with enough tension. Adding the process of finding bridesmaid dresses to the to do has to potential to make things worse.

Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids aired on TLC from 2011-2013. An off shoot of Say Yes to the Dress and set in the Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta store, the show follows brides and their bridesmaids as they choose bridesmaid dresses. As usual, there is drama and questions of who has the power to make the final decision.

Cut from the same cloth as it’s predecessor, this program is the kind of show that one watches on a weekend when you just want to relax after a long week of work or school.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday-I Found The Gown (2012-2014)

As thrilling as wedding dress shopping is, the reality is that a wedding dress can be a major expense.

The TLC Program, I Found The Gown (2012-2014) was set in VOWS Bridal Outlet in Massachusetts. Each episode focused on two subjects: brides who wanted to look stylish without breaking the bank and the owners who were looking to purchase gowns to add to their inventory.

As entertaining as I Found The Gown was, it was bloodless and not as exciting as the others shows that were part of the TLC’s wedding block.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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