Thursday, July 16, 2015

19 Kids and Counting. Done. Finally.

To no one's surprise, TLC has decided to cancel the wretched 19 Kids and Counting show in the wake of revelations that the clan's eldest son, Josh Duggar, molested a number of girls, including his sisters, over a decade ago. The Duggars will have to find some other way to spread their message of whatever it is that they apparently represent. Side hugs? Rampant intolerance? I'm not sure.

TLC issued an official statement earlier today outlining the decision. Let's analyze it in greater detail, shall we?

"After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. The show will no longer appear on the air."
[Translation: We would have lost any remaining credibility as the one-time "learning" channel had we continued to air this sanctimonious tripe.]
"The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."
[Translation: The prospect of continuing to milk advertising dollars out of this cheap-to-produce cash cow explains why we didn't cancel it as soon as the revelations first came to light. Our hand, however, was forced after our lawyers and accountants ran the numbers and convinced us our money would be better spent on a reality series that focuses on a smart-alecky kid who lives in a double-wide beside a freight line...oops.]
"Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims' rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse."
[Translation: We had to come up with some way to make ourselves look semi-decent in all of this. We understand how paying for a ginormous house on behalf of a family of delusional molester-protectors could make us look a teensie weensie bit out of touch.]
"TLC has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help. The documentary will be commercial free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer
[Translation: We were so "concerned for the victims" that we said nothing during the family's ham-fisted attempts to "justify" their eldest son's predatory behavior. In the end, no advertiser would touch this with a ten-foot pole. We would have cashed in otherwise.]
Sadly, this chapter will soon be forgotten, and TLC will be free to hook up with another dysfunctional family to fuel its reality-based excuse for programming. If there were any justice here, TLC's remaining audience would simply find another channel to watch. Or better yet, turn off the TV, head to the library and actually learn something for a change.

Related reading:
Duggar family statement (as if anyone cares. But still...)

6 comments:

Karen S. said...

I haven't heard of this show, but then I'm not and no doubt will never be a reality TV viewer. I have one girlfriend that watches only reality TV, but she's also single, never been married and only has one kitty, and I think it feels a void in her life. So apparently yes it works for some. Your idea of heading to the library is something I love to do.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

You are so right on!.. I agree w/you totally... there are way too many dysfunctional reality shows? Is that what society wants to view? Does society really love to watch another family's flaws? Maybe because it makes them feel a lot better about their own? Lately, I've been watching more documentaries on Netflix.. learning a lot about current events.. quality of tv shows have fallen by the wayside for sure.

Michael Manning said...

Carmi: I couldn't agree more. A face-saving moment for TLC. I remember noticing this trend towards cheap sensationalism on cable TV around 2004. But maybe I was late to the game. I never saw this program and only noticed the shocking aftermath in the news. Definitely not a positive show for kids or adults. Glad you posted this!

Lisa Shafer said...

They're so scarily like the polygamous families in Utah that it's odd not to see them in pioneer-type clothing. Maybe they're hiding the other wives somewhere.
Personally, I think it's obscene for anyone to produce 19 children on this already overcrowded planet.

Daniel Hans said...

Guessing that you nor any of the people above who commented ever watched the show. I am always confounded by people who have such strong opinions about something they know absolutely nothing about firsthand. MM above says he never saw the show but "definitely not a positive show for kids or adults." I think that one should be educated about something one is so vehemently against. I have watched this show and never saw anything "dysfunctional" or even negative. Certainly not a way of life for me but it works for them. LS says they are "like polygamous families that it's odd not to see them in pioneer-type clothing" But they are not a Utah polygamous family so it shouldn't be odd. Her sense of obscenity must be skewed because there are many more obscene things on this planet than to produce 19 self-reliant, honest, modest, polite kids.
Since the news of the son's issue came out, more video has come out showing the parent's political and social activism. While I don't agree with many of their points of view, never once did I see it on their show. They were merely letting the mainstream TV audience see how they lived and interacted with each other. I never even saw any "preaching" on the show. Nothing negative just a different way of life. Take it for what it is - a glimpse into another's life and how they deal with their own issues of the day.

Carmi Levy said...

Daniel: The show was on fairly often in our house, as the kids rather enjoyed it. I've worked in television long enough to know that what's shown onscreen is almost never a faithful revelation of real-life. Producers, directors and editors decide what footage stays, what goes, how it's show in the first place, how it should be strung together, lit, backdropped with music or otherwise treated to tell the story they wish to tell. This isn't documentary film - itself a biased process, but we can discuss that another time - and the end product is a lot more focused than a light-hearted look into their inner family workings.

Over time, the dichotomy between the onscreen "product" and the increasingly virulent revelations of their political and social positions became somewhat difficult to ignore. A closer look at the show itself reveals a lot of subtle message delivery that, frankly, overstayed its 15-minutes-of-fame welcome long ago.