TLC's name was originally an acronym for The Learning Channel, but it quickly became a channel focused on absurd reality shows based on topics most people could not believe were actually real!
The network is owned by Discovery Inc, however, the content across the brand differs drastically, as it has a huge amount of life and family-related drama series that—despite being called reality TV—often feel fake or staged. From series about families with way too many children, unlikely pregnancies, mall cops, and children in pageants, this channel has it all... even if no one asked for it.
While there are some series that are totally random and unnecessary, we must admit that some shows are totally binge-worthy. Certain shows are wholesome and feature loveable families that we all love to watch, and others feature some light-hearted content that is just super easy to soak in.
On the other hand, there are some shows that actually shine a light on issues most people don't know about, like living life as a little person, or the mental illnesses hidden behind weird eating habits and hoarding. We surely can't say we haven't learned anything from TLC.
Read on to see which shows we find totally weird, along with those that are totally iconic!
20 Totally Weird: I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant
I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant is a documentary series about women who discover they're pregnant as they go into labor. The show aired in 2009 and as per Wikipedia, ran for four seasons. The show was really bizarre and reenacted women suddenly giving birth in cars, bathtubs, or even on the toilet!
Most women did not have any of the traditional symptoms of pregnancy like a belly or morning sickness and did not have any indication they could be pregnant. It was interesting as a one-time episode but became far too weird and repetitive to watch on a daily basis.
19 Totally Weird: Mall Cops: Mall Of America
This series felt like a comedy but was intended to be quite serious. The TLC television series focused on the mall cops working what Wikipedia named as the second largest mall in the United States, The Mall of America. The show focused on things like locating lost kids, assisting in medical emergencies, and stopping shoplifters.
Think of Cops but on the total opposite end of the extreme spectrum. It was the kind of series that didn't really show anything new or anything life changing and mostly made viewers wonder why there was a show about this at all. Honestly, mall cops aren't that exciting.
18 Totally Weird: Sister Wives
Polygamy is certainly something we're not used to hearing about or seeing, especially on reality television. Sister Wives was a TLC show that began airing in 2010 and according to Wikipedia is on its 13th season today! The show is about Kody Brown, a man who has four wives and 18 children! Technically, Brown only has one wife as the law does not allow for more, but he has committed to the other women through separate "spiritual ceremonies."
The show got the family involved with many issues with the law and caused several controversies. Many viewers struggle to understand why or how the women agreed to such an arrangement and argued that it was unlawful.
17 Totally Weird: 90 Day Fiancé
This television series addresses a topic most of us have seen on Dr. Phil, the news or even television shows. It's not unheard of for people from foreign countries try to wed people living in the United States in hopes of getting a visa and permanent residency, but the basis of this show is supposed to be love.
90 Day Fiancé focuses on couples who have a K-1 visa, meaning they are engaged to citizens of the United States and have 90 days to decide if they will get married. The couples on this show are always uncomfortable, awkward, or totally dislike one another. It doesn't feel authentic but rather feels like a televised scam.
16 Totally Weird: Toddlers And Tiaras
Toddlers & Tiaras is a show that brought lots of negative attention to children's beauty pageants. It upset viewers to see young children being forced to wear extravagant outfits, over-the-top makeup, fake tans, and wigs. They were made to look much older than they were and forced to focus lots of attention on their appearance, which isn't the most positive thing for young children.
The kids were often miserable and being forced by their parents to perform, and parents even fed their kids excessive amounts of sugar on pageant days to keep them peppy. The whole thing felt very corrupt and sad.
15 Totally Weird: My Teen Is Pregnant And So Am I
This show makes viewers wonder, how often does this happen that someone decided to televise it? A mother and daughter being pregnant at the same time seems like quite the unlikely event, but somehow TLC found enough duos to make a television show that lasted for a whole season!
The show followed mothers and daughters who were pregnant and documented their pregnancies leading up to childbirth. It shows all the drama, emotions, and complications as well. The concept of the show is far too strange and unlikely to hook viewers. It's no wonder it didn't run for all that long.
14 Totally Weird: 19 Kids And Counting
19 Kids and Counting is a highly controversial show about two parents with 19 children and an increasing number of grandchildren! All of the children's names begin with the letter J, making it nearly impossible to remember them all. The family is controversial because of their strict religious views. They preach values of modesty and purity, homeschool their 19 children, deny them access to television and pop music, and adhere to strict gender roles.
According to TheList, the show's several controversies led to its cancellation during its highest rated season. After some behind-the-scenes drama, as well as a few choice statements by one of the Duggar ladies' husbands, TLC pulled the plug.
13 Totally Weird: Extreme Cougar Wives
This show followed women who had the tendency to date much younger men. It seems that every niche TLC can find, they decide to produce a show about it. The series focused on relationships where women dated men over fifty years younger than them and explored the impact their age difference had on their lives.
This series focused on the women's experiences, and Wikipedia stated that it was a special that only lasted for three episodes in 2012. We suppose they couldn't find enough people who self-described themselves as felines to be featured on the show. It's such a bizarre subject that we almost can't look away.
12 Totally Weird: Best Funeral Ever
Funerals are commonly thought to be an extremely sad time to mourn, but this television show challenges everything we've ever thought about these moments of grief. Best Funeral Ever focuses on Golden Gate Funeral Home, a business which plans absurdly extravagant funerals. Wikipedia states that the show ran for two seasons, beginning in 2013.
Each episode had a theme, like a bowling funeral, a candy-themed funeral, a boxing funeral, and of course, a country music funeral! It's so bizarre to see grieving families playing a game show and almost feels too far from reality. It's definitely nothing we're used to.
11 Totally Weird: Freaky Eaters
As the name suggests, Freaky Eaters is a show that is centered on people with the weirdest eating habits ever! The show can be thought of as comical, but it's actually quite sad as most people most likely have some sort of eating issue which inhibits them from eating regularly.
The series shows people who fear eating fruits or vegetables or only those who only eat one specific food, like cheesy potatoes or cheeseburgers. Wikipedia states that the show ran for two seasons for a total of 14 episodes. It's far too strange to imagine a life where we can only eat french fries or ice cream bars.
10 Iconic: The Little Couple
This television series is fantastic. It helps fight the stigma associated with "little people" or those with skeletal issues resulting in them being much smaller than others. The series places two immensely successful people, who also happen to have skeletal dysplasia, into the limelight.
Jennifer Arnold is a neonatologist and Bill Klein is a successful businessman. The show shines a light on their successes, but also their struggles as they attempt to grow a family and design themselves a perfect home. The show is wholesome and endearing and makes viewers instantly love the family. Unlike many other family shows on TLC, this one is controversy-free and family-friendly.
9 Iconic: Extreme Cheapstakes
Extreme Cheapskates is a television series that showcases people who are extremely cheap. This show is so extreme that it becomes comical. From using cloths in place of toilet paper to washing clothes in the pool, these families surely get creative. The show aired for three seasons and showed families who spent money on absolutely nothing, not even the basic necessities.
From living with no furniture to eating animals found on the road, these people range from hilariously frugal to very icky! It's far too easy to get sucked into this reality show because of how light and absolutely bizarre it is.
8 Iconic: My Strange Addiction
My Strange Addition focuses on people who have absurd habits that they cannot shake. When one speaks of addition, we usually think of drinking or other substances, but this series shows people who obsess over eating toilet paper, sucking their thumb, cleaning, or being "in love" with objects like their car or doll. This show presents addictions viewers surely never heard of before and some are so bizarre that we just can't help but watch.
According to IMBD, the show ran for six whole seasons beginning in May 2010. It's definitely amongst the most popular shows on the channel and its strange subject kept viewers coming back for more.
7 Iconic: Honey Boo Boo
This series is quite controversial, but love it or leave it, it's quite iconic. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo focuses on Alana Thompson, better known as Honey Boo Boo, who is a young beauty pageant contestant. She was first featured on Toddlers & Tiaras, but her outgoing personality enabled her to rise to fame and get her very own show.
While her family is somewhat controversial, Honey Boo Boo's personality steals the show each episode. Wikipedia states that the show ran for four seasons, beginning in 2012. In 2017, after the show's cancellation, Honey Boo Boo's mom got her own spin-off show on TLC.
6 Iconic: Long Island Medium
Long Island Medium is a television series that focuses on a topic most viewers are not familiar with, mediums. The star of the show is Theresa Caputo, who has the ability to communicate with ghosts and spirits. Throughout the show, she meets with various individuals and connects them with the spirit world.
Wikipedia claims that the show was immensely successful and resulted in a book deal and a jewelry line. It began in 2011 and is on its 12th season currently, with no signs of stopping! Regardless of whether viewers fully believe Caputo or not, the show is still immensely intriguing and somewhat spooky.
5 Iconic: Extreme Couponing
This TLC television series is almost too goofy and entertaining to be true! Extreme Couponing focuses on people who take couponing to a whole new level. It becomes like a full-time job for people who find strategic ways to combine coupons so that giant grocery bills become practically, if not entirely, free!
Some couponers even manage to walk away with multiple carts full and with the grocery store owing them money! Wikipedia states that the show was released in 2010 and ran for five seasons, with its last running in 2012. While the topic seems banal, believe us when we say that couponing takes some serious skill and dedication.
4 Iconic: Hoarding: Buried Alive
This show touches on a more serious topic and is iconic because it shows people who struggle with hoarding and who reach out to get help for their illness. It shines a light on the seriousness of a struggle most people did not know about prior to the show being released.
Coaches and a specialized cleaning team come into the home and help make it livable again, all while providing the hoarder with help, guidance, and support. The show is also super satisfying to watch for clean freaks, as they get to see a big mess get totally transformed and polished.
3 Iconic: What Not To Wear
What Not to Wear was THE makeover show of the 2000s. It featured hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, who had amazing chemistry and lots of personality. Together, they selected one person, who were nominated by their friends, to get a total makeover. Either their clothing wasn't professional enough, or it was outdated, or maybe they simply didn't have the time to take care of themselves; whatever the case, this duo came to the rescue.
They cleaned out their closet, gave them tips tailored to their bodies and lives, sent them on a shopping spree, and got their hair and makeup done by professionals. The result was always an incredible transformation and was very entertaining to watch.
2 Iconic: Cake Boss
Cake Boss focuses on Buddy Valastro, the owner of a bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey which specializes in over-the-top cakes. Their desserts look more like art pieces than anything else. Clients come in and ask for the strangest cakes, including a toilet-inspired cake that actually flushes.
The show focuses on the harmony in the bakery, the family values of the Valastros, as well as any drama that goes on relating to the team or the orders they're working on. The show makes viewers fall in love with Buddy's family and also has them salivating while watching the team bake!
1 Iconic: Trading Spaces
Trading Spaces is one of the most iconic home décors shows ever. In each episode, neighbors would quite literally "trade spaces" and redecorate a room in their neighbors' home. Each person had two days and one thousand dollars to renovate the room. A designer was there to assist the process, as well as a carpenter.
It was quite an interesting show, as each person had no control over what happened in their room, nor did they necessarily have experience in home decor. While some rooms turned out amazing, there was always those awkward episodes where the renovation was quite the bummer.