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The world of reality TV appears to be a trial-and-error situation, and TLC is taking a major leap with its latest show, Best Funeral Ever.

Showcasing the extravagance behind certain Black funerals which are more of a celebration than a time for mourning, it’s newest program is a conversation pieceif nothing else. 

Clips from the program, teased on the TODAY show Friday (Jan. 5) find mourners doing things from eating ribs and wrangling pigs, to elaborate dance processions and Christmas-themed funerals.

Centered around the Texas-based Golden Gate Funeral Home, cameras captures the company bringing the visions of those who have lost loved ones, to life.  “These are families who have lost loved ones so there is never any disrespect with these type of home going celebrations,” said John Beckwith Jr. , CEO of the funeral home.

Originally scheduled to air after Christmas, TLC changed the premiere date in light of the shooting massacre Sandy Hook Elementary School, three weeks ago.

TV critics have weighed in, and the awkwardness of watching a funeral on television has not been lost.

From the New York Daily News:

Willie “Wolf” McCoy Johnson, for instance, sang the baby back ribs jingle in a Chili’s ad.

For his funeral, Golden Gate provides a fountain of barbecue sauce, a table of ribs and three live pigs. Willie’s coffin conjures a stainless steel barbecue smoker.

That feels okay. Goofy, but okay.

It feels less okay when we watch Beckwith audition the “professional mourners” who come with a Golden Gate funeral package. They are selected for their ability to wail, moan and crawl on their knees to the casket — of someone they didn’t know.

Then there’s the service for Jerry, who had spinal bifida and could never go on rides at the amusement park.

After he’s cremated, his survivors take his urn on the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars. They say he’s loving it.

Maybe. But ‘Best Funeral Ever’ falls short of its title when it starts to feel like it’s more about what wasn’t.

Decide if the show is worthy of your time when  Best Funeral Ever airs Sunday (Jan. 6) at 10 p.m. EST.


Photo: New York Daily News