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Milf Manor’s twist was exactly what we expected

Milf Manor’s twist was exactly what we expected
The cast of Milf Manor, perhaps before they learned that they'd be dating their sons.

When TLC first announced Milf Manor, The AV Club pointed out that “TLC [is] now just straight-up lifting show ideas from 30 Rock,” which had a fake show called Milf Island. Its fictional concept: “20 super-hot moms, 50 eighth-grade boys, no rules.”

One of the women on Milf Manor was even asked about the fake show by The New York Post, and said, “I love 30 Rock and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. But no — I’m not into 8th grade boys, if that’s the question!” Shannan said.

That is not the “shocking twist” of TLC’s Milf Manor. So how did its producers find a way to fuck over “the eight confident and strong-minded women who leave home for the chance to find love at a paradise destination”? Exactly how we expected.

Four men facing the other direction
The men of Milf Manor from the rear, as seen in a TLC promo

When TLC announced Milf Manor, it said that the women, ages 40 to 60, are a “vibrant group” with “decades of dating experience and will use it to find a lasting connection with men half their age.” TLC described the show like this:

Set in an exquisite location along the beautiful beaches of Mexico, not everything is fun and games as these women get serious. Tensions run high when eight women and eight young hunks come together to find love. The women include a competitive 47-year-old fitness studio owner from Mexico currently living in Miami, a spontaneous 50-year-old “disco mommy” from Orange County, a 44-year-old Jersey girl currently living in Los Angeles, a 59-year-old fitness instructor and singer from Los Angeles and a 50-year-old event planner who used to be the B-Girl back in the day, just to name a few. Each episode features challenges that will prove whether a connection is genuine or if it’s time to leave the manor. Will the young gentlemen be able to win over the MILFs with their charming good looks or will their behavior prove them under-experienced and land them on the chopping block? Chemistry, jealousy and top-notch drama keep it steamy in the manor.

As the promos teased, there was, of course, “a jaw dropping surprise” for the eight women—April Jayne, Charlene, Kelle, Pola, Shannan, Stefany, and SoYoung.

So what was that? The women learned that among the 20- and 30-something men they’re dating are their own sons.

“Wait! They’re our moms?” one of the men asked in an interview, apparently still unclear on the fact that he was on a dating show with his own mother.

Yes, the “Mothers I’d Like to Fuck” were actually their mothers. So is Milf Manor becoming Incest Inn?

Well, close enough: the producers blindfolded the women and had them feel up their own shirtless sons to figure out which one they are biologically related to. That was a challenge with the prize of a the best hotel room.

Also, the moms and sons get to share a room, because the massive manor in Mexico just couldn’t possibly have enough space to have rooms for each of them.

Two white men's bare chests
The anonymous shirtless torsos of Milf Manor’s men, as seen in a TLC promo

Yes, we’re several light years away from the days when TLC was The Learning Channel, or when it helped establish the home renovation genre with the charming and chaste Trading Spaces.

Look, it’s been a long time since TLC, America’s most repugnant cable network, aired something so shocking that it’d earn media coverage.

The executives at TLC even kept the Duggars around for six extra years, to bleed the franchise of all the money it could, and that was after a lot of reprehensible stuff happened.

Yet last year, TLC didn’t even get traction using dead victims of Sept. 11 to advertise a special for their bullshit psychic show.

Sure, they have the drama of 90 Day Fiance, but now that the Sister Wives has no more sister wives they needed a hit, something to make people sit up and pay attention.

And, of course, they couldn’t possibly have a show cast with older women without humiliating them.

In the journal Atlantis, Dr. May Friedman wrote about the idea of MILFs, noting that “in both pornography and popular culture [the MILF phenomenon] seems to stand as an antidote for the desexualization of women who become mothers,” but notes that it can also “objectify women and reify normative views of motherhood.” 

Will Milf Manor embrace the sexuality of older women? Or will the presence of their sons make their sexuality seem gross or disgusting? I’m not sure TLC cares: as long as people watch and give their garbage shows attention. That’ll never work.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion: your turn

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Happy discussing!

Chuck S

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

Disgusting. And horrible to all the contestants. I can't stand "love reality shows", but this reached a new low.