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'Story' Of Their Lives

Deconstructing TLC’s Addictive ‘Comfort TV’ Daytime Lineup

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It’s The Real World less the sniping, ER minus the gore, Blind Date without the snide pop-ups. TLC’s ”Comfort TV” reality series has become cable’s highest-rated daytime programming block among women 18 to 34, and draws about 455,000 viewers a day. ”They’re life affirming,” says TLC exec Jana Bennett. (Julianne Moore is a fan, but don’t expect the pregnant actress to appear on A Baby Story anytime soon: ”We haven’t heard back from her agent,” says the show’s rep. ”Shocking, I know.”) In the meantime, here’s a guide to getting the various Storys straight.

SHOW A Baby Story

CONCEPT Cameras follow a couple’s pregnancy, from first sonogram to scary, scream-filled delivery.

SAMPLE DIALOGUE ”Here comes the football!” quips one father-to-be.

TOO-MUCH-INFO MOMENT During labor, The Other Half’s Danny Bonaduce says to exhausted wife Gretchen, ”His head’s just sitting there, honey.”

[SHOW] A Wedding Story

[CONCEPT] We follow the betrothed through fittings, flower arrangements, and finger food on the road to matrimony.

[SAMPLE DIALOGUE] ”I like America — everything is so big and beautiful,” one groom told his best man. ”Especially the black women.”

[TOO-MUCH-INFO MOMENT] The father of one groom blithely pads around the tux shop in his green boxers and black socks.

[SHOW] A Makeover Story

[CONCEPT] Two willing participants subject themselves to eyebrow waxes, girdles, and hair bleach in the pursuit of beauty.

[SAMPLE DIALOGUE] ”Raphael, drape me with pearls! Pearls everywhere!”

[TOO-MUCH-INFO MOMENT] One woman nixes a frock because it doesn’t cover up the bird tattoo on her left breast.

[SHOW] A Dating Story

[CONCEPT] Well-intentioned matchmakers pair two lovelorn friends on a blind date. Awkwardness ensues.

[SAMPLE DIALOGUE] ”My best physical attribute would definitely have to be my butt,” says one self-assured policeman.

[TOO-MUCH-INFO MOMENT] A suitor lends his faux-leather jacket to his chilly date because ”pleather does not breathe.”