from my post on Mom Spark, see here...
I have been undecided for a while about whether or not to discuss the whole drama with Jon & Kate Plus 8. Part of this hesitation was due to feeling a little silly for caring so much, but after seeing hundreds of tweets on Twitter regarding this issue, I no longer felt silly. If you do not care about this subject, please skip on by to another blog and do not be hateful in your comments. We all have an opinion, which I want to hear, but please be respectful of the Gosselin family.
I am a TLC junkie. Have been since we first received cable six years ago. My favorite shows in the beginning were Trading Spaces, What Not to Wear, and A Baby Story. A couple years ago I caught the first special about Jon, Kate and their brood. As many other mom viewers, I was fascinated by the sheer logistics of caring for eight children. The second special captivated me as well, and I was thrilled to hear they were making regular episodes. Instantly, I was fan.
For those of you who not "get" what is so great about Jon & Kate Plus 8, let me share my thoughts. For some reason, I could relate to what Jon and Kate were going through on a daily basis. Watching Jon & Kate manage eight children actually made managing my two seem like a breeze, and actually made me thankful that my life was less chaotic than theirs. I figured that if they could do it with eight, I could easily do it with two. Another thing that drew me to the show was the roller coaster relationship between Jon & Kate. It was immediately apparent that Kate was really hard on Jon, and often treated him as one of her children. It was also obvious that Jon wasn't perfect either, and could be immature and distant. Having that friction between both spouses was also something that I, and others, could relate to, even if it wasn't exactly the same sort of friction. It seemed real, in the beginning.
Think what you may about me, but I have seen every single episode of this show. When you watch a "reality" show like this one from the very beginning, you feel like you know the family personally, which is honestly a little weird and creepy. It is fun peeking into someone else's life, and like I said, it makes you feel better as a wife and parent when you see them succeed or sometimes fail. HOWEVER, it is television. There ARE ratings, AND some of the episodes are staged, which takes away any "reality" left to the show. When the Gosselins start getting teeth whitening, hair plugs, and fancy vacations, you start to feel less and less connected with them, because most of us simply cannot relate to that lifestyle. Are they wrong for accepting the perks of being television stars? No, not at all, but it does alienate their viewers to a point. Regardless of their new celebrity-like life, I, and many others, still wanted to see the children grow up and hear their funny conversations. (my nine year-old thinks they are hilarious!)
Now...the season five premiere that aired last night. Even after witnessing four seasons of Jon & Kate disputing, AND reading all of the tabloid accusations floating around, I still felt incredibly sad for both parents last night. Seeing the awkwardness of them not talking or showing ANY emotion towards each other just ripped my heart out. I quickly forgot about all of the things that were turning me off about the show, because I saw real, true pain. Some would say they brought it upon themselves, and maybe they did to an extent, but it does not take away the hurt and potential damage to their family.
What made me most upset last night was the lack of conversation about working on their marriage. In my opinion, "doing what is best for the kids" would be focusing on their marriage and trying to salvage what they can. In all fairness, maybe they have. Maybe they are past that point. Seriously, we only see their life in episodes and tabloids. Honestly, I was surprised that they shared so much with their viewers about their marriage. I think it was somewhat smart to open up to the viewers, which may help avoid further trash talk. (not that the tabloids will care) Nobody likes to see a family go through a potential divorce, especially after seeing their children so happy and adorable at their birthday party. Hearing one of their daughters asking her daddy to be home more was really, really sad. Kids can sense when something is wrong, and as a child of divorce, my heart goes out to them.
As much as I want to see what happens next in their life, I really think they should end the show and come back to true "reality" for the sake of their family. I know the show and books provide Jon & Kate's current income, but it just isn't worth the trade-off of no privacy, not only with TLC cameras, but the paparazzi, during an especially sensitive time. Yes, they will still be recognized everywhere for years to come, but less and less as they resume their life as an IT tech and nurse. Viewers will indulge in a new obsession, eventually.
Overall, I truly feel awful for the Gosselin family right now, regardless of their past actions, whether they be true or false. Divorce is devastating, and I sincerely hope they can avoid it and make their marriage work. My hope is that their kids truly do come first, and because of that, they would be willing to step out of the spotlight, even if that means forever.
So, what do you think they should do? What were your thoughts about the premiere?