Moving past the Duggars and the Sister Wives, TLC has identified its latest bizarre subculture to document: virgins.
“Virgin Diaries is an hour-long special showcasing 20- and 30-something virgins (interesting that it doesn’t aim for any older ones) that premieres Sunday. A trailer for the special begins with these comments:
“I’m 30 and I’m a virgin.”
“I’m 29 and I’m a virgin.”
“I’m not a virgin entirely by choice.”
“We’re saving our first kiss for our wedding.”
The trailer then shows an awkward, flailing first kiss between a bride and groom, which quickly went viral. This version of it on YouTube has generated 1.7 million views since it was uploaded Nov. 27. Comments range from cruel (“Is she trying to swallow him whole?”) to sympathetic (“How said is it that you all make fun of someone’s wedding day?”).
It’s hard not to cringe for these earnest newlyweds when you consider the feedback their wedding day has generated. Critics have already blasted TLC for exploiting them. The cable network was quick to defend the show:
“Losing one’s virginity is a big life decision,” TLC’s west coast vice president of production, Timothy Kuryak, told ABCNews.com. “It seemed like one of those seminal life moments that’s interesting to follow for TLC.”
So was born “Virgin Diaries,” an hour long reality special starring a group of 20 and 30-something virgins that premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on TLC. A trailer for the show features Carey, a 35-year-old bachelor who confesses that he’s “not a virgin entirely by choice” and three 30-year-old female roommates from British Columbia who Kuryak said are “saving themselves for when they meet their husbands.”
But the show’s must-see factor comes from Ryan, 31, and Shanna, 27, a couple who decided to save their first kiss, let alone their virginity, until their wedding day. “It was a religious choice for both of them,” Kuryak said.
Shanna had kissed other people before Ryan; Ryan had not. That fact becomes sweetly apparent when Ryan lifts up his bride’s veil, plants his lips on hers, and sucks vigorously away.
Some critics have dubbed “Virgin Diaries” “TLC’s newest gawk-fest” and its participants “exploitation victims.” Kuryak countered, “We’re not trying to make light of this or treat it in a sort of trivial way. We want to document these peoples’ stories and why they make this decision.”
“A lot of stories about later in life virgins talk about it like a problem,” he said. “We want to show that this is something that can be celebrated.”
What do you think? Is this an earnest celebration or a ratings-fueled mockery? Do you know any couples who saved their first kiss for their wedding day? Would you?