Sunday, April 3, 2005

Lament For The Learning Channel

While everyone else is getting all teary-eyed over the not-that-untimely death of the Pope, I'm offering a belated eulogy for The Learning Channel, which passed away a few years and got reincarnated as TLC, the channel for people who know the alphabet but not how to read. They used to have a lot of fascinating and unforgettable educational programs, especially James Burke's Connections series and several Desmond Morris documentaries including The Human Animal and The Human Sexes. Nowadays, all they show are a bunch of variations on a theme, white-bread makeover shows imported from Britian and Americanized or shows with big tatooed guys building motorcycles. Not only did they drop the educational facet of their programming, but they got rid of the fascinating and unforgettable facets, too.

It blows because it's Sunday afternoon, which means there's not a damn thing on unless you're a fan of arena football or raw footage of cops arresting shirtless white trash or gay guys and straight women overhauling the wardrobes of straight guys and straight women. Someday soon we're gonna have five hundred channels, and it'll be possible to find homes for Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Paul Haggis's EZ Streets, but Sunday afternoon will roll around and there's still not gonna be anything on but NASCAR and two guys and a girl remodeling a house. Each on two-hundred fifty channels!

At least there's Animal Planet satisfying my need to watch fauna doing it.