TLC has promoted My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding as though it's giving us an inside look at a charming, secret society. According to the TLC site, “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding paints a visually arresting portrait of the secretive, extravagant, and surprising world of gypsies and travelers in Britain today. The show reveals a community that lives alongside but detached from mainstream society. It is a community of contrasts, living by centuries-old religious and cultural traditions, but at the same time embracing the flashier side of the celebrity and fashion-focused times in which we live.”
I thought I'd give it a peek the other day. Maybe TLC would actually produce a show that was entertaining and still manage to be honest without exploiting anyone. After all, sometimes unexpected things happen, right?
Wrong. I knew a little bit about the Travellers prior to watching the show and most of what I was seeing smacked of what my dad used to call the ole happy horse shit. It was so full of stereotypes and over-the-top everything. The show was so bizarre that our older child and I sat aghast with our mouths open, glancing at each other occasionally in a mutual silent, “Really?!?" Even my adolescent knew it was totally bogus.
The show's gotten lots of negative reviews and at least one of the main characters already regrets being a part of it. What a shame TLC went its usual exploitative route with this show. The Travellers are genuinely interesting and if the show was well-written it wouldn't require exaggerations and trumped-up drama in order to captivate an audience.