UPDATE:  March 1, 2010.  TLC did it again!  They added yet another “Little” show to their Fetish Agenda:  Our Little Lives.  Now this is getting out of hand!

TLC — The Learning Channel — is a strange place to watch stories about American lives.  TLC is infatuated with dysfunctional large families like “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” the Disgusting Duggars Family in “18 Kids and Counting” and their now litter of 19 children and, finally, “Table for 12.”  We can rightly dismiss TLC’s infatuation with big families because they are trying to recreate the fading revenue magic of the Jon and Kate misanthropy; but why is TLC fetishising on Little People?  How many Dwarf shows does one network need?  The answer appears to be:  Three.  The first, and most famous TLC Dwarf show, is “Little People Big World” starring the wacky Roloff family.

The Roloffs were not enough for TLC, and so, last season, they gave us “The Little Couple” — where we watched a 38.2-inch tall, super-smart, female infants doctor try to deal with her 4-foot tall loser husband.

The Roloffs and the Dwarf Doctor were still not enough for TLC, and so they’re now giving us “The Little Chocolatiers” — I swear I saw the show being advertised this week on TLC as “The Littlest Chocolatiers” — and we immediately begin to realize someone in the TLC programming department is jonesing for more and more reality show Dwarfs while the rest of us are left to wonder why we can’t get away from the Invasion of the Little People!

Can “There’s money in them thar Dwarfs!” really be a cogent television programming cry? 

Can TLC calm down a bit?  The Jon and Kate mess damaged their brand, and the overdosing on Dwarfism is teetering on the disgusting and the unwatchable uncomfortable.

Let us hope TLC can find some value in the ordinary and the average and celebrate it on TV and let them forever be done with the “family-as-a-village” programming cudgel and that they will retire their neverending fetishism to create freak show television by exploiting the lives of Little People that farm, heal babies, and make candy.

I’m sure someone at TLC is still mourning the notion that OctoMom didn’t have a brood of eight Dwarfs… making the perfect mash of reality television for the network.


  1. Joel McHale on The Soup (an E! television show) made fun of the excessive shows like these and did a great mashup that just illustrated the extent to which the cable channel has sunk. I don’t think I’m really learning anything from the littlest chocolatiers.
    I don’t know what drives them besides bigger ratings – there must be just that many people watching.

  2. I can’t imagine the Dwarf shows are doing very well, Gordon. Once you get the idea of their disability — the uniqueness of the show is gone — unless you get joy watching them struggle to fit in and do average-bodied tasks each week. If you’ve watched the Roloffs, then you pretty much much know everything about Dwarfism there is to casually know.

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