No one gives a shit about marijuana possession anymore. It's like punching a Nazi or pooping in a politician's mailbox. But that doesn't stop TLC stars from being bad at it. Jorge Nava, from TLC's 90 Day Fiance, a depressing show about Americans assuming that their foreign lovers will like Tennessee, was arrested in 2018 for possession when he was caught with 293 lbs of weed. According to my intensive research, that's literally two Kenny Chesneys' worth.
Finally, we have Brandon Putman from TLC's Meet The Putmans, a show brainstormed by their "My Head Is Stuck In This Bannister, I Don't Have Time To Think Of A Clever Name" Division. This show is like 19 Kids And Counting, but with an inexplicably dumber twist: It's three generations living in the same house, which means there are 26 people sharing six bedrooms and two bathrooms. To TLC, that's quality television. To the rest of the world, it's a cult.
Brandon Putman -- who I can't reasonably call "the dad," since God knows how this gargantuan family dynamic works -- was indicted in 2018 for hiring a machinist to make ten parts for an AR-15 that could convert it into an automatic weapon. Hey, a guy who lives in one house with 25 family members wanted a machine gun? This is normal. His current defense seems to be that he's a hunter and responsible gun owner, so sure, get those machine guns to better help you hunt the wildlife of Michigan. Also, as you've probably guessed by now, they indicted his father for the exact same crime.
Terrible Parents Run Amok On TLC
TLC's brand could be summarized as "Your family, if they fell in a toilet from a Rob Zombie movie." There's an unspoken air of smugness behind all the shows, almost like the network is saying, "We're not judging aaaaaaaanyone, we're just documenting what happens" before they trot out their All-Star Dysfunctionalia of behavioral grotesqueries. This is made abundantly clear when you delve into pretty much every family that's associated with it.
In the interest of time, let's ignore all the child molesters I've mentioned so far and just assume TLC is bad for family wellness as a given. Instead, focus on families like the one from Jon And Kate Plus 8. Remember those crazy kids? Well, that show only lasted a couple of years before the show became Kate Plus 8 due to the couple's very bitter, very public divorce. As late as 2017, cops were still being called to wrangle this shitshow. You can find stories dating back to 2009 with pretty much the same narrative.
Does it affect the kids? Reports at different times detail how the dad hadn't seen some of them in years, there are constant abuse allegations, and in one infamous interview, two of the daughters simply stared in silence when questioned on live TV about their lives. Normal kids stuff, ya know?
One of the kids on Little People, Big World claimed his family screwed him out of the royalties from that show back in 2015, and that he quit because it wasn't real at all, they were just forcing him to play a character. Not to be outdone, one of the wives on Sister Wives was extremely publicly catfished by another woman pretending to be a man. She would later claim that the "romance was real," but as with all things on TLC, "romance" can be translated as "the faintest hint of artificial hope in the collapsing shitstorm of life."
The Same Thing Keeps Happening Over And Over
So we've pretty reasonably established a couple of things here, right? TLC families are probably not the sort of stars you want to hitch your wagon to, and TLC executives have either been cursed by a monkey's paw or have alien parasites in the part of their brains that helps them judge character. Because man, it won't stop happening.
We started with the wretched Joel Osteen fever dream that was the Duggar clan. Now meet the Willises. The Willis family showed up on America's Got Talent back in 2014. Mom and Dad oversaw 12 children in a family band -- words that should already make your insides clench in panic. Like the Duggars, they were a tight-knit, wholesome crew of family values Christians. Can you guess what else they had in common with the Duggars, armed as you are with the knowledge of how TLC is basically what you get when you attach a broadcast antenna to Satan's butthole and start sending signals into the ether?
Toby Willis, the family dad, who stood on stage in front of Howard Stern and laughed as Stern joked about how this was a rare appearance outside of their bedroom, received 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of child rape. They were his own kids, and it started when they were as young as three.
Willis was arrested for his crimes in 2016, and I keep mentioning dates for a reason. The Cake Boss brother was 2012. Mama June and Cheer Perfection were 2014. The Duggars and the puppy killer were 2015. Jon and Kate have been going steadily for a decade, with the most recent police involvement happening in 2017. And in 2018, we have guys making machine guns and some coupon felons. How does this keep happening?
The Willis Family premiered on May 5, 2015, while 19 Kids And Counting had its molestation story break May 21, 2015. You have to wonder if anyone at TLC even paused to think, "I hope this show we premiered just two weeks ago that has almost the exact same premise as this one now up to its armpits in horrible abuse is going to be cool." I mean, it's not like they had any precedent at that point to wonder about the sideshow families they were thrusting onto televisions or anything.
Or, you know, maybe they just consider all of this to be free publicity. If so, then ... congratulations?
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