Why Everyone Hates Kate Gosselin, The Duggars, and All Those Other TLC “Stars”

Sure, Philly won a block party with the TLC circus, but we kind of want to return the prize.

From TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras."

From TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

On Monday, I reported that one lucky TLC viewer won a national contest to bring a huge block party to Philadelphia featuring the celebrities (cough, cough) of the popular cable network. Everyone from the Duggars to the stars of Say Yes To The Dress to the Cake Boss himself are slated to attend the festivities at Penn’s Landing.

It didn’t take long before people’s reaction to the announcement started to flood social media. Of note, I couldn’t help but laugh—and agree—with many of the comments that started to pour on to Philadelphia magazine’s Facebook page when we posted the article. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite replies:

“Can we create a GoFund me account to pay for them to go to another city?”

“They Duggars have enough ppl to have their own block party. Why would anyone else want to go?”

“I am more afraid of the attendees. Who would actually go to something like this?”

“This is the most horrid thing I’ve heard in Philly’s history. Is this real?”

“So basically, the caricatures of Hell will all be in one little spot.”

My colleague Monica Weymouth coined a piece the following day, aptly titled “Philly’s 5 Worst Reality TV Moments,” where she strongly suggested that the upcoming May TLC “thing” may very well take the top rating as one of the Worst. Things. Ever.

But why do we hate these TLC clowns? Why do we all have a visceral reaction when the name “Duggar” is mentioned, or why does my skin crawl when I tune in to an episode of Little People, Big World? I don’t think we have to look too far for the answer: These TV personalities are terrible, horrible people. End of story.

I never liked reality TV to begin with. (You couldn’t get me to watch an episode of Survivor or Real World if my life depended on it.) When the likes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and ten thousand variations of “Here’s a Family of Little People: Watch Them Do Daily Tasks” took to the airwaves, I cut my cable—and quick. I couldn’t stomach how formulaic, fake, and pathetic these programs were, and I couldn’t watch grown adults using their children as a means to make a quick buck.

Sure, we can easily see this eerie voyeurism with Honey Boo Boo or Toddlers and Tiaras, but the moment that really solidified the impact these shows have on their young victims was the now notorious Today interview with Kate Gosselin’s older daughters. Sure, they could have been giving their mom an embarrassing smack down on live TV, but there’s more than that here: Here are two young women who are pretty clearly depressed and sick and tired of being in the spotlight for the sake of their mother’s vanity.

When there’s not much humanity behind a person, it’s hard to really “like” them: Add in the fact that reality TV is anything but reality, and we start to despise what we see when we turn on TLC or the mountain of other networks that have turned into even cheaper versions of The Learning Channel (the irony of even associating “learning” with watching a bunch of women fight over a bridal gown is beyond me). But then again, don’t humans love a train wreck? Traffic gets backed up on Route 76, because we all stop and look at car crashes on the other side of the highway, right? TLC is pretty much a car crash. We love to hate it.

As one of my friends said to me after she found out about the Philly block party, “I would give my first born child if I could actually meet some of them!” My response: “Let’s just steal one of the Duggar’s nineteen kids: They wouldn’t even realize they were missing.”