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TLC promoted Breaking Amish as a show about five sheltered young adults, four Amish and one Mennonite, leaving their communities to experience life beyond the church. Millions tuned in to watch  Kate Stoltzfus, Abe Schmucker,  Rebecca Byler,  Jeremiah Raber,  and Sabrina High walk away from their family and friends to chase their dreams in New York. We felt sorry for these people for being exploited by TLC but the joke was on us! Almost immediately, Breaking Amish was proven to be a sham.

KateAbeRebeccaJeremiah, and Sabrina weren't as new to modern electronics, driving cars, and English clothes as they portrayed themselves to be on the show. For crying out loud, most of the cast had marriages, divorces, and children below their belts before TLC supposedly plucked them from the farm. However, there's no doubt in my mind that TLC knew all of this and coached them to "play Amish" for the sake of the cameras. I also think TLC hoped the viewers would figure it out, expose the cast's lies, and create a huge scandal. And that's exactly what happened. Does this bring us back to feeling sorry for the poor kids? For me, no, because most of them acted like jerks when their lies were exposed. 

Apparently, fake stories, liars, and misogynistic a**holes (looking at you, Jeremiah) sell, because Breaking Amish was a ratings success for TLC. There are rumors about a second season, but Kate reportedly doesn't want anything to do with Breaking Amish Season 2.

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Kody Brown and his Sister Wives are back, and the family seems to be feeling the strain of their Las Vegas move even more intensely than last season.  Even Kody's once fluffy, blonde mane is now straw-like with a dishwater hue.  Oh, the hairmanity!  Seriously, if I'm going to watch a show about a polygamist (and I do like watching, don't get me wrong), couldn't TLC have found one a little more Bradley Cooper and a little less Harry from Dumb and Dumber?

The family remembers how difficult the transition to Las Vegas was, especially for the older children.  There is definite tension on the sofa, that's for sure.  All of the wives blame being separated on the break down of their family unit.  The family is still trying to secure financing for their cul-de-sac village.  Christine is concerned that Robyn and Janelle's credit won't allow them to qualify for a loan.  If one of them can't get their home, no one will be able to move forward.

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TLC's Breaking Amish debuted with an interesting premise. Featuring four Amish, Kate, Jeremiah, Abe, and Rebecca, and one Mennonite, Sabrina, TLC promised, "a never-before-seen look inside the lives of young men and women as they, for the first time, trade horse and buggy with taxi cabs to break out from their respective Amish/Mennonite communities in their pursuit to chase big dreams in the Big Apple." Not long after its premiere, however, it became very clear that Breaking Amish should have been titled Faking Amish. Almost immediately, several blogs and Facebook pages popped up, detailing how TLC misrepresented the cast… complete with photo and public record evidence.

TLC addressed the allegations with this statement: "There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on Breaking Amish. Much of it is not true, but some of it is — and is addressed in upcoming episodes.” Thus far, TLC's in-episode explanations have been incredibly lame. 

Yesterday, TLC announced a two-part Breaking Amish reunion special. According to the press release, the cast will "disclose where their relationships currently stand with their family and friends" and address the "questions about the authenticity of their Amish and Mennonite backgrounds.”

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Rosie O'Donnell recently declared her love for Alana Thompson and her family. I'll admit… I'm one of the few around here who compares Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to a train wreck. It doesn't feel right to watch it, but I cannot look away. I still do not know if the show gives me the warm fuzzies or the heebie jeebies. 

Rosie admitted Here Come Honey Boo Boo took some getting used to. "For the first 10 minutes, I was kinda stunned," Rosie said. "For the second 10 minutes, I was touched. And for the last 10 minutes I thought, this is really revolutionary TV in a way most people won't understand." Rosie was so enamored, she offered to buy the family a new house!

June Shannon finally responded to Rosie's offer. She told Rosie the same thing she told TLC – they love their house, railroad tracks and all. ​After acknowledging Rosie's kindness, June said, "We're not looking for a hand out, but we do want to renovate our house."

"We're in," Rosie told People in response to June's not-so-subtle hint. "Are you kidding me? Of course!"

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I don't know what it is lately that I feel the need to put a disclaimer in all my blog posts, but here's another one.  I really do like the Sister Wives!  Actually, you need to take that statement literally.  I like the Sister WivesKody Brown and his golden mane I can take or leave.

It's almost as if I've started liking reality shows that don't provide the normal extravagant lifestyle, Botox, and Patron-infused escape.  Now, I truly enjoy watching the reality programs that make people think and make people mad…for a better reason than someone said something contrived in a cookbook.  Social issues, family dynamics, real problems…this is what I'm now drawn to these days.  I have to ask, WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?  I like to think I'm growing up…maybe?  Enjoying fluff and Cartier is so much simpler.  Being concerned about who got blackballed from the season's charity event is way cooler than worrying about how real people are actually perceived.  Am I right, or am I right?

That said, I think the Sister Wives are awesome.  Can we just have an understanding from here on out that when I say "Sister Wives" I mean Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn?  We can leave the adult Simba out of my praise.  Regardless of how progressive his wives are, he's still a tad too controlling for my tastes.  Here's the deal.  Do I think polygamy is weird?  You can bet Annie's bottom dollar I do!  Would I share my future husband ever with some Midwestern hussy(ies)?  I think not…of course Ryan Gosling knows better (Eva who?).  But was I put on this earth to judge? No.  To snark?  Well, duh, but to truly judge?  Absolutely not.  Apparently UNLV shares my beliefs, as the Browns were recently the subject of a campus-wide panel discussion.

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I'm going to be totally honest, which seems to be my theme with these Here Comes Honey Boo Boo posts.  Here's the deal, one hundred percent of the time when I'm writing, it's because I love to express my opinions through the written word.  Eighty percent of the time I'm snarking, it's because I find humor in such crass sarcasm, and seventy-five percent of the time I'm watching these shows, I'm watching because I'm deeply enthralled…not just on the level of reality television, but as if I'm a sociologist with the stars, the viewers, the blog commenters, and Andy Cohen all as my study materials.

If I had to create a Venn diagram with each circle encompassing writing, snark, and a genuine affinity for programming (respectively), I can only guarantee that one show would make it to the center of that triad on a consistent basis.  That series is, of course, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  If you take the viewers, the haters, and the family, you have such a study in socioeconomic groups, family dynamics, gender stereotypes, childhood obesity, charity, pigs as pets…the list is infinite.  Alana Thompson and her family are literally taking pop culture by storm.

I am likely to get skewered as this post continues, but I owe y'all the thanks for my thick skin.  Maybe it's because I'm from the South (and no, I have never seen a family like the Shannon-Thompsons on a regular, non-televised basis), or maybe it's because I spent a lot of time teaching in the public school system where I met my fair share of Alanas who didn't have the support at home, but I look at this family and see something special.  Call me uneducated (you'd be wrong), call me lacking in taste (let's call it a draw), or call me high on a fried chicken binge (I should be so lucky), but I adore this crew.  If you've never watched it because you're disgusted, I can't blame you one second.  I think only my teaching background (there are things with those children you can't un-see!) afforded me the luxury of not gagging during the majority of the season.  However, before you jump to judgment having never viewed anything more than a forklift foot promo commercial, I implore you to read on about Mike "Sugarbear" Thompson's (you know, Alana's dad with the dip and constant subtitles) homosexual younger brother.  Without further ado, I present to you a Poodle retrospective.   

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This is a big deal for me, but I'm going for it.  I dare you, and I mean I DARE YOU, to have something negative to say about my one true love Honey Boo Boo and her family.  Time and again, I've tried to spout off about how amazing this crew is, yet I don't feel like I've gotten all of y'all on board.  Are they sometimes disgusting?  Yes.  Do they have a weird obsession with cheese balls?  Of course.  However, beyond those minor faults, this family is extraordinary.  Not only do they want to maintain status quo, they want to make sure they are giving back to their community.  Ever heard that from a housewife?

Alana Thompson was thrust into the public eye thanks to Toddlers and Tiaras.  When her family was catapulted into the limelight with TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, many people had not so nice things to say about Mama June and company and their love of dumpster diving, sketti, and being together.  Such a crime.  I'm getting up on my soap box to say that I think we could all learn an important lesson from Honey Boo Boo's family.  Charity is their middle name, and I, for one, think it's amazing. 

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Smoochie!  You have to love Here Comes Honey Boo Boo!  Actually, I know a lot of you don't, but I'll be honest–I just don't get it.  While there may be an over abundance of cheese balls and neck rust, there is also an over abundance of love.

If you've been following the the lives of Honey Boo Boo, Mama June, Sugar Bear, Chickadee, Chubbs, and Pumpkin, you are not alone.  The family has garnered national attention for doing nothing more than living their own lives by grossing out half the population…and engrossing the other–including comedienne Rosie O'Donnell.

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