TLC is the perfect channel for reality TV shows that will have you hooked from the first day. This channel is a guilty pleasure to many, but although its name means "The Learning Channel," are the series airing on it actually teaching us anything?
When we look back on the meaning of reality television, the line between fake and real gets thinner and thinner. TLC is one of the main channels that develops reality shows, but can we really tell if what's being shown to us is true or all an act for the cameras?
Today, we look back on the 10 fakest show on TLC, and 10 that are so real, we're not sure if the term 'reality show' applies to them. Take a look!
20 Fakest: Breaking Amish
The idea behind this show was intriguing at first: a group of young conservative Amish going out into the town and getting into all sorts of trouble and rebellious acts, going against their own culture. Who wouldn't want to see that? However, not everything is what it seems, and we were quite disappointed to discover that "many of these Amish folks leaving their community for the 'first time' had actually defected many, many years ago." It turns out there are various documents that confirm it too, showcasing that one or more elements of this group had left the community, got married, had children and even divorced! A disappointment indeed.
19 Too Real: 90 Day Fiancé
Let's be honest, not everything you see on 90 DaysFiancé is real. However, Cheat Sheet reminds us that the couples are actually real and their troubles or happiness are as shown on TV. Some of them have been dating for a while and they probably met a few times, but otherwise, it's as real as reality TV can get!
18 Fakest: Toddlers And Tiaras
Toddlers And Tiaras is arguably one of the worst TV shows on TLC. The amount of drama, stress, and pressure put on the shoulders of children is horrible, but many seem to enjoy seeing everything unfold. However, much like many of the shows on this list, everything is staged, from rewording what everything is said to stirring up drama just for the camera.
17 Too Real: Say Yes To The Dress
Kleinfeld is an actual boutique and real people with real stories come by to search for the perfect dress for the most special day of their lives. Some aspects are staged, yes, but that's juts how reality TV is. However, most of the show is very real and whenever there is drama, remember that life isn't perfect, and when you're preparing for such a big event in your life, stress is sure to ensure. In the search of perfection, drama will surely arise.
16 Fakest: Little People, Big World
You might think this was one of the shows that would enter the "Too Real" part but, as it turns out, the youngest son of the family has already said that “producers have to try to get us to follow the talking points,” and has subsequently dropped the show. According to him, his parents are playing characters of themselves, and that's as fake as it gets.
15 Too Real: My 600-lb Life
Unfortunately, this one is quite real... My 600-lb Life is a show about people struggling with weight issues, sometimes deriving from deep psychological traumas, and their journey towards losing weight and saving their lives from various health issues that could prove fatal. The show is raw, showing real people with real (sometimes sad stories), struggling to live life and get better, for themselves and for their dearest, closest family and friends.
14 Fakest: Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo, or the so called Long Island Medium, has received her fair share of critics and skepticism towards her abilities to talk with the deceased.
According to skeptical investigator Mark Edward who looked into the work of Theresa Caputo, he says “At one point Theresa asked a woman, ‘Why am I picking up baby clothes?’ To which the woman replied, ‘Oh that’s weird. I just put up a bunch of pictures of baby clothes on my Facebook Page.’ Not weird at all, really.” Seems like her paranormal abilities aren't as paranormal as they are told to be.
13 Too Real: 19 Kids And Counting
You can't really fake the troubles and hardships of taking care of 19 kids, can you? This family is very real, especially the amount of children, although some small scenes are actually staged, much like any reality TV show on TLC or any other channel. Who wouldn't want to see the hardships of a 20-something member family?
12 Fakest: Counting On
Counting On was the spin-off of 19 Kids And Counting and it's as scripted as it can get. While our last entry was focused on a much more real side of the family, this one seems to want to profit off of the other, giving it a lot more spice than it actually has. In Touch Weekly, they mention how scripted the show really is, not only on certain scenes written and performed, but how the show has even hired actors before. Yikes!
11 Too Real: The Healer
This one, believe it or not, is actually real and has been backed up by science! The show revolves around Charlie Goldsmith, an Australian man that claims that he can heal people through "energy healing" and has demonstrated his powers multiple times throughout the show. The fascinating part? He's been part of at least two scientific studies, with a very recent one in 2018, with extremely good results. Dr. Ramsey Joudeh of NYU's Lutheran Hospital has also claimed that Goldsmith has minimized the pain of many of his patients.
10 Fakest: Extreme Couponing
It was a dream come true, wasn't it? The show was based off of the idea that there were actually people out there that could use coupons to get immense amounts of groceries for nearly nothing (sometimes even getting cashback!) but that illusion was soon cut short. Time tells us that “one of the couponers featured on the show had used counterfeit coupons,” and others have gone so far as to ignore the terms and conditions printed on the coupons as well. Basically, the whole thing is staged... Bummer.
9 Too Real: Cake Boss
There's nothing fake about Cake Boss' career and business, and that's exactly what the show portrays with Buddy Valastro's own TV show. If you're tuning in for TLC, Cake Boss is one of the right choices if you want something real. The giant cakes are real, Buddy is an actual boss of a pastry shop, along with his employees, which are mostly consisting of his family, and so this makes it one of the realest shows on this list.
8 Fakest: Jon And Kate Plus 8
If you haven't heard about the drama surrounding this show, then have you been living under a rock? The sister of Jon Gosselin, the father, has previously stated in one of her blogs that everything is fake. According to her, Kate made a wish list of things she wanted and would trade it for free advertisement. They would even make themselves look like a struggling family, just to be more relatable. Ever since 2007, we've seen Jon and Kate's relationship deteriorate, ending in an affair on Jon's side due to Kate's constant belittling of him, and soon the show turned to Kate Plus 8, removing Jon out of the picture.
7 Too Real: My First Home
My First Home is a half-hour reality show that follows families, couples, single people, or even best friends as they search for the perfect first home. It basically follows every step of the complicated process that is finding and owning a home, from bureaucracies to conditions that have to be met in order to purchase the house.
6 Fakest: Sister Wives
This one is chaotic all on its own and we were sure something was wrong with it right at the start, especially considering the entire plot and how much drama it seemed to incur out of nowhere. Quoting Nicki Swift, “the Browns stirred up their own controversy. They weren't exiled. They're inviting scrutiny for ratings, and controversy was the point.” Pretty much everything was staged for the camera and we noticed that in the timeline issues too.
5 Too Real: Evil Things
This one can go either way for whoever is reading this list, but we decided to add it as one of the realest shows on TLC due to the fact it actually showcases the stories of people who have survived paranormal encounters and lived to tell the tale. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the show is quite real in the sense that it depicts actual stories as they are told. That's good enough for us!
4 Fakest: Ghost Brothers
Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass, and Marcus Harvey make up the trio of best friends that go on a search for evidence of the paranormal. Although it is quite enjoyable to watch this comedic trio talk to the "undead" with such warmth and empathy, it's obvious that the entire show is based on nothing more than TV magic to make it look a lot more real than what it actually is.
3 Too Real: Unexpected
Unexpected follows three teenagers as they get ready for an unexpected baby to be born, getting help from their families and possibly boyfriends. The mothers of the three girls had went through the same situations too. The raw moments of learning to get through life at such a young age makes this show one of the realest entries on this list.
2 Fakest: Honey Boo-Boo
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was a show that began in 2012, stemming from the amount of fame child beauty queen Honey Boo Boo got when she starred in Toddlers And Tiaras. She was relatable, coming from a humble family of rednecks; but when the show came to TLC, it was easy to see it was as fake as any other reality show on TV.
1 Too Real: I Am Jazz
I Am Jazz follows Jazz Jennings, diagnosed at age four with gender dysphoria and how it affects her every day life. She shares the story of how she transitioned and how she came out as transgender to friends. The series has garnered great reviews for its depiction of the transgender teenage girl. It's definitely one you don't want to miss watching and for sure one of the realest TV show on TLC.