I have an announcement for Jon & Kate
Jon & Kate Gosselin have an announcement. So say the advertisements for tonight’s episode of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” a formerly cutesy reality show that I’ve seen exactly two episodes of.
Those two episodes were seen about a year ago as I was doing things around my house and had the TV on a random channel for no particularly memorable reason. Here was this couple, with eight kids (six sextuplets; two twins). During the interview segments, the couple sat on the couch and talked to the cameras, and what became very clear to even the novice viewer was that Jon was fairly hands-off about things, and that Kate didn’t miss any opportunity to bitch out her husband on camera. Jon would sit there and take it, and you could almost read his thoughts as he’d try not to react when belittled in front of a basic cable audience.
Now there’s the ongoing media circus surrounding the Gosselins and the allegations of their affairs and whatnot. In the weeks before the season premiere of “Jon & Kate” in May, the Gosselins found themselves all over the entertainment pages of various periodicals that trade in that sort of mindless gossip. The sort of mindless gossip which I’m only to happy to repeat, by the way. Mindless gossip do what it do.
The gossip also created a media frenzy that led to huge ratings (double the show’s usual audience) for the season premiere. That audience has since dwindled (who wants to keep watching a show that pretends to be about cute kids when all you can really think about is whether Mommy and Daddy are getting a divorce?), and now we have TLC advertising an “announcement” from the couple. Timing, anyone?
No matter what this announcement is, it represents the most cynical aspects of reality television. I can’t imagine an honest viewer feeling anything but cheated if this announcement isn’t something seriously life-altering, like a divorce or separation. Given all the drama that has unfolded in the tabloids and how we love to tear people down after we’ve built them up (not to mention how sick many of us are of Kate flying around the country on book tours, etc., to turn her family into a marketing brand), anything less than a nuclear explosion is just not going to be satisfying.
But a more sensible course of action would be for Jon & Kate to announce the willful cancellation of their own show before the circus tent comes crashing down upon the three rings and — more to the point — the eight kids. (Assuming it has not already done so.) But don’t expect that: We have a reality show to put on and money to make!
I have an announcement for Jon & Kate: You need to go away. Get your asses off television and, whether together or apart, find a better forum for raising your children. A forum like — oh, I dunno — a house without video cameras.
Because, honestly, this can’t end well. Imagine those kids in 10 years. What, as teenagers, are they going to think of Mom and Dad, who were apparently willing to continue with an enterprise that fueled a firestorm surrounding a tawdry drama as their marriage hung in doubt? I tend to think I’d be kinda pissed. No one asked the kids if they wanted to be on reality TV.
“For the love of God, think of the children!” Now there’s a line of melodrama.
Footnote: I don’t consider myself above the fray here. I’m talking about it, which in my own small way makes me complicit. The point is, the parents are the ones who need to be above the fray, rather than continuing to profit by it.
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