Off the clock with The Checkout Girl: TLCWTF

Forgive me for being so forward, and I’m sure I’m far from the first person to point this out, but your current lineup reads a bit like an old timey sideshow poster.

Dear TLC,

Forgive me for being so forward, and I’m sure I’m far from the first person to point this out, but your current lineup reads a bit like an old timey sideshow poster. I can’t help but wonder if your director of programming might have been the victim of an unfortunate circus downsizing. I mean, what would be the logical next step for someone if “Ringmaster” were the prominent entry under “Experience” on their resume? Why, executive for a Discovery Network, natch!

It’s not a bad thing. I mean, if not for you, where in the world would I experience the magic of the superfertile, supersmall, and supervain?

Take, for instance, the bountiful Duggar family, stars of 19 Kids and Counting. Devout Christians, parents Jim Bob and Michelle are big believers in “more is more” when it comes to children. Sure, they’ve got one old enough to be married and have his own child, but they are still squeezing them out! They also hand-make their own line of Little House on the Prairie-esque clothing and, even though they have enough of them for their OWN school, teach the children themselves. Now, I love my kids. Really, I do. But when they go to school, that is “me time.” True, I choose to spend it working way too hard for chump change, but how else am I to pay for doughnuts and crack? Honestly, I don’t find the show, itself, all that fascinating. After all, I can only watch them visit Costco so many times. But, I like to tune in every once in a while to a) ensure that Jim Bob is still giving off that creepy televangelist vibe IN ANOTHER STATE (we don’t want none of that in Virginia, Jim Bob, so keep on truckin’) and b) remind myself that even those two are humping regularly so I had better get my poop in a group.

Next, combining two of my favorite things into one show, meet the Little Chocolatiers. Based in Salt Lake City, married little people Steve and Katie own and operate Hatch Family Chocolates. By which I mean lead a normal life. Is that a show now? I guess it is when you have to use a step stool to reach everything in your own store? Oh, and I was totally NOT thinking it, but when Katie mentioned that she is little and makes candy and that leads to people to compare her to an Oompa Loompa, well, crap! Now I can’t NOT picture her wearing white overalls and singing a menacing, albeit catchy, tune. Also, naked. But that one might just be me. Damn you, internet porn!

And don’t get me started on the magnif train wreck called Toddlers & Tiaras. Holy Lucille Ball, that’s good television! It’s got everything I want in a show: little girls in Dolly Parton wigs, outrageous make up, acrylic nails, and spray tans prancing around in tiny outfits and high heels. It’s as if the Jersey Shore girls are aging backward, a la The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I also really like how you prominently feature lumpy mothers (who, in an ironic twist, couldn’t find a tube of lip gloss with two hands except when it’s to hold their screaming child down to apply it) living their dreams of being Grand Supreme anything through their daughters. Oh, and I want to give a quick shout out to the pageant dads. Not just the ones who go to watch the spectacle, but the full-on participants. They really walk the fine line between being in love with their daughters and being in love with Lance Bass, if you know what I mean. Whichever side they are on, they usually come across as people you wouldn’t want babysitting your children OR giving you bangs after they’ve just had a fight with their SO. Cuz they will cut a bitch.

And there’s more! We haven’t even touched on the specials! I am a sucker for World’s Anythingist Anythings. Smallest? Yes. Tallest? Yes. Obesiest? GOODNESS GRACIOUS YES! A girl I know (not me) (no, seriously, totally me) once Googled “where to adopt a primordial dwarf child” but I never would have even known I wanted to raise a teacup kid had it not been for your network! In fact, you have also convinced me that I need conjoined twins (Abby and Brittany, sassy teens who backtalk and drive and want to be DIFFERENT THINGS WHEN THEY GROW UP) and autistic twin savants (Flo and Kay, awesome middle aged ladies who can name the day of the week FOR ANY DATE, EVER, and have a passionate love for all things Dick Clark).

Seriously, TLC, without you I might not have seen the humanity of (and developed much love for) people I would have previously just stared at if I were to see them walking around the mall (and totally tried not to look like I was staring which I never, ever, pull off). Thanks for turning my head around. See you under the big top.

In Appreciation,
The Checkout Girl

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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