Some day in the not-so-distant future, people of my approximate age will sit their children down and tell them about a different time: a time when TLC stood for The Learning Channel. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still LEARN things when I watch it. I learn that pageant moms are nightmares and that little people are Just Like Us and um, people love baked goods? Also: mermaid-style wedding dresses are super gross. All important stuff.

Last night I saw The Virgin Diaries for the first time. I didn’t have cable when it first aired, which was devastating for me, because the Internet kept teasing me with clips like this:

So obviously I was desperate to watch it. Mostly it’s exactly what you’d expect: people who are either awkward or religious (or in some cases, both!) who are virgins past an age where it’s considered normal.

I wanted to watch it for the religious freaks, like the totally adorable couple above who had never even kissed until their wedding day. But what’s actually interesting about the show are the people who just never got around to having sex. I shouldn’t say everyone on the show is awkward; some of them just seemed pretty introverted. If it was a different, non-TLC show, I think the interviews with some of the people featured could have actually been kind of interesting, but it IS TLC, so they throw these awkward parties where they come out as virgins to all their friends, instead. Mostly their friends didn’t care, but it all felt forced and uncomfortable.

I don’t know. I’m sure there are all kinds of regular adults who are virgins and don’t feel defined by it, but probably those aren’t the kinds of people who are going to be on a show called The Virgin Diaries. It mostly feels pretty gross and exploitative. So I mean, obvs I’m going to keep watching it! Thanks, TLC, for continuing to teach me important self lessons about cheap reality TV. Speaking of which, I will be forever grateful if anyone can explain to me what a Honey Boo Boo is.

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