Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8: All over but the crying

Some thoughts on last night's horrific "Jon & Kate Plus 8" season premiere coming up just as soon as I make a Uniqua pinata...

Once upon a time, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" was a "take one for the team" show in our household, because my wife liked seeing how Kate dealt with the logistics of 8 kids, and because I had subjected her to more than enough "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Dexter" and their ilk over the years.

We hadn't watched in a while, though, and last night I was the one pushing to watch it -- not out of morbid curiosity about all the tabloid stuff, but out of professional curiosity about how the show was going to handle it.

And the answer to that was "not well." But at this point, I'm not sure how the show can handle it, short of shutting down.

For all of Kate's complaining about the paparazzi, and Jon's about their notoriety -- "I did not sign up for public scrutiny of everything," he said, apparently forgetting that he was the star of a television show watched by millions of people a week. "Neither did Kate." -- it's clear that these two made a deal with the devil, and now the bill is coming due. Between the TV show and the side projects Kate does as a result of the TV show, they have more than enough money to handle raising eight kids, but the pressure of being famous, and of Kate's fame taking her away from the family so much, and of whatever resentment Jon might have about that (or about the way she constantly belittles him on camera), is killing their marriage(*). He as much as said he wished he didn't have to do the show anymore in their interview with EW, calling it a necessary evil that allowed them to get "material things."

(*) While I don't feel very sorry for them in their complaints about the pitfalls of stardom -- even as I'm disgusted with the tabloid culture they're complaining about -- I do think they were in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you don't situation. As Kate notes, the divorce rate for parents of multiples is higher than the national average, and who's to say that the financial and logistical pressure of taking care of the kids without the TV money (and free stuff that comes with their celebrity) wouldn't have led them down a similarly ugly path?

Now, if "Jon & Kate Plus 8"had no agenda, it might be equipped to handle this uncomfortable turn of events. "An American Family," the pioneering PBS docu-series from the '70s, wound up chronicling the separation and eventual divorce of its central couple, but that was a genuine documentary -- "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is a brand. TLC needs people to believe in the Gosselins as a functional, albeit bickering, couple for the show's cute, aspirational schtick to work.

And so it felt like the season premiere was intended to be a traditional episode, with Kate handling party-planning headaches while complaining about Jon's absence, only for the tabloid stories to become so overwhelming and pervasive that they had no choice but to address those issues head-on within the show. And while I admire the (seemingly reluctant) candor -- both about the marriage and about the increasing burden of the family's fame -- that stuff overwhelms the show's bread and butter and fundamentally changes what the series is about. Nobody's going to care how Kate gets the kids through a trip to the grocery store when the specter of divorce is hanging over everything, and the idea that they're a relatively normal, albeit oversized, family is gone. We make fun of "The Hills" for refusing to include any material about the cast's celebrity lives -- say, if a feud between LC and Heidi was started by something one of them said at a red carpet event -- but watching last night's "Jon & Kate," I could understand why they do it.

While I checked back in once to see how the show addressed the big issues, I think that's it for me and this show. To bring it back to "An American Family," it's one thing to watch a TV show about a couple whose marriage is falling apart. It's something else entirely to watch a TV show that is likely causing the couple's marriage to fall apart.

Did anybody else watch? What did you think?


Anonymous said...

It was extremely uncomfortable watching these two talk around their problems, not look at each other, and basically admit their marriage is over. I honestly feel they should end the show, forget TLC, and go on with their lives. And I don't think I'll be watching anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've only seen the show a couple of times, but I feel really bad for the kids. Yeah, Jon & Kate knew what they were getting into when they signed up, but that's not really the case for the kids. It's hard enough for any kid when their parents fight, cheat, or break-up, but having the entire country watching and commenting on it? That has to be rough. Even if the show went off the air immediately, the fame of it will follow these kids forever. I'm sure their future college roommates will know exactly who they are and exactly what happened with their family. There really won't be any starting over for any of them.

Anonymous said...

I had only seen an episode or two of this show before, but with there being nothing else to watch last night coupled with all the media reports, I decided to tune in and watched some of the marathon of past episodes leading up to the new show. While I can sympathize with the lack of privacy, speaking as a single parent who works outside the home, I have a hard time working up sympathy for Jon when he bemoans having to quit his job. Particularly in this economy, how many of us would love to have the option to stay at home with our children? The way Kate talks to him is indefensible (seriously, as someone who isn't a regular viewer, I was shocked at how she treated him - it was like watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" a show that I hated because I couldn't understand why these two people wanted to stay married when they clearly didn't like each other)and I hope these two seek out counseling. I have read stories where it seemed like people believed Jon would be justified in having an extramarital relationship because of the way Kate treats him - no. He would be justified in wanting to go to counseling, he would be justified in asking to be treated as an adult who is a partner in his marriage and not to be treated like a child, and if they can't resolve their differences he would be justified in asking for a divorce, but there is no justification for adultery.

Anonymous said...


If you read anything about these people behind the scenes, they're a lot more loathsome than even skeptical viewers may realize. She's a shrew and he's a wimp and a cheater. They're using the kids as a meal ticket, and I hope they're saving money for therapy and lawyers.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't get the link to post, but it's a Philly magazine article
from a couple months back.

justine said...


I think your analysis is spot on. What amazed me the most last night, was the juxtaposition of the episode against the "sponsored by" spots the family was in during the commercial breaks. You are absolutely right this show is a brand now. The question is at what expense? Maybe divorce was inevitable for the two of them and the show just helped it along a little bit, but the couple should walk away and take care of things privately, but as you said they made a deal with the devil.

Anyone thinking about subjecting themselves to a "reality" show should view last night as one big cautionary tale.

Tom O'Keefe said...

If you liked "An American Family", then you'll love Albert Brooks spot-on parody "Reel Life". While it's been about 10 years since I've seen it, my guess would be that it's even accurate today than it was 30 years ago.


Lizbeth said...

I used to watch J&K+8 with my kids but stopped watching when it became apparent that these people were no longer "typical struggling parents" - but people willing to co-opt their kids's childhoods for notoriety and money.

Believe it or not, they could do 8 episodes a year, and still make extra cash, and have a semblance of a normal life. They don't have to film 40+ episodes a year!

They whine about the intrusion of privacy on one hand, and then Kate claims she'll never quit the show because she "owes it to her fans" to see how her kids grow up. Really? Is she delusional? Or just a narcissist?

Does this woman not realize there is a sell-by-date on every Reality TV star's head? How long does she think this money train is going to last? It may actually have lasted longer if she wasn't so intent in being in the spotlight constantly.

I too tuned in last night lured by the tabloid gossip to see if they were in fact going to address recent events. Honestly, it was truly uncomfortable to watch. And worse, I had no patience for watching cute kids hit a pinata when all I wanted was gossip. The high drama of their crumbling marriage just made the moments with the kids seem that much more lame, fake, and boring.

The reality show may not have killed their marriage (it may have been doomed from the start) - but it is obvious (maybe to the rest of us)that putting a TV show FIRST and making your private life totally public is no way to have a successful marriage.

Normal people would pull the plug. Reality whores never will until the rest of us grow tired of them.

meliasaurus said...

i feel like no knew what they were getting into here when they signed up for this show. i'm sure that no one knew that being on tv was going to ruin their marriage.
I don't think that they're exploiting their kids either. If they weren't on this show it would be damn near impossible to support the kids otherwise - considering how expensive it is to raise 2 kids much less 8 (granted people do make it work somehow).

I was just very sad for everyone last night. Kate looks like she's at her wits end, John looked selfish, and the kids were upset too.
I know that they argue, and seems like Kate is always belittling john, but this is not the way to go about dealing with it, especially when you're in the public eye.

J said...

I was blessedly unaware of these people until I saw The Dead Milkmen's Rodney Anonymous decry the husband as one of the most ignorant people walking the face of the planet. Then, all of a sudden, I saw them everywhere.

Make them go away.

Lizbeth said...

I was one of eight kids growing up. On top of that my father had a stroke so my mom had to go back to work. And yeah we struggled. And no, my parents would never ask for handouts. There was a time when people had too much pride!!

There was also a time before reality TV when people somehow pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and found honest ways to support their large families without turning their lives into circuses.

Anon11 said...

Yesterday's show caused my to feel the same way I did when I watched The Breakup w/ Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. Uneasy. Relationships are hard enough when *you're* in them let alone watch someone elses slowly unravel in front of you. It's sad. I don't feel bad for John and Kate...as Alan succinctly put, the devil is coming to collect...but the kids are truly the ones that will suffer. One day they'll be able to watch their parents marriage deteriorate on film...oh joy. If they pulled the plug on th eshow now the public would eventually forget about them. Maybe it would take a year or two, but it would happen. They can take their winnings and go home...but you can tell that Kate won't let that happen. She's gotten bit by the fortune/fame bug and she now thinks of it as her "job". Throughout last nights show both Jon and Kate repeated the "its about the kids" mantra. Maybe that was true at some point, but not anymore. As a parent, to know and understand what is happeneding between a husband and wife while their kids think everything is fine is heartbreaking. To have it all on camera, letting the world watch is not "for the kids."

Jeff K. said...

tomok97, I regularly pop "Real Life" into the DVD player -- I think it's Brooks' second best film (Defending Your Life taking the top spot), and it is absolutely FRIGHTENING how much of today's "reality TV" has stolen from it (or it has predicted, if we want to believe no modern producer is watching 30 year old movies for inspiration.)

I don't watch J&K, but the few clips I saw, I couldn't figure out why J put up with K. If that's how she talks to him on TV, I can't imagine their off-camera interactions.

Fake Word of the Day: SPING -- it's what has spung every April.

Lindsay said...

Oh Man,

Talk about watching a plane crash. I have to disagree with some of the other comments and say that BOTH Jon and Kate looked at their wits end and BOTH Jon and Kate looked totally selfish. Neither wants to cave on what the other wants and BOTH think that what they want is best for the kids.

Naturally I have an opinion on how they should solve it, but I've been married long enough to know things aren't always as they seem. Even with cameras around.

I have been an avid fan, even have seasons on DVD. But I just don't feel right watching anymore. It's like paying to watch dog fighting; being entertained by watching something totally cruel, mean, and painful for the creatures involved.

I want them to quit the TV show, get into counseling, and try to live happily ever after. That's all I ever wanted for them.

**can I just add that my word verification for this post is "cheaties". That was ironic.

kathy said...

I stopped watching J&K+8 about a year ago, it just stopped being fun because Kate is so, so unlikable (YMMV) on some many levels. Jon's no picnic either and he shoudl lay off the sauce and hanging out in bars and get his shit together, but Kate scares the crap out of me.

Bottom line, no intelligent person in this day and age can sign up to put their family life on TV for 3 years and then complain about the lack of privacy because "I didn't sign up for this". Yes you did. That's exactly what you signed up for. You get the free hair plugs, ski trips and tummy tucks because you're famous and the people are providing those free things to you to leverage your fame, not cause they love you so much. With fame comes loss of privavcy. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

And you're famous for one thing: Sharing details of your family life with millions of people on TV. People who are famous for playing fictional characters have every details of their personal lives scrutinized -- people who are ONLY famous for their personal lives are of course going to get it 10X worse.

But I watched last night, I couldn't resist, and God, it was brutal. And ugly. The little ones are still engaging and delightful to watch but whether I'm projecting it or not, I see a sadness in both Mady and Cara that makes me extremely uncomfortable. They have experienced an entirely different childhood than the sextuplets and not in a good way. Kate talking (idiotically) about how great it was that the twins could step up and be there for her when Jon wasn't around to help with the party stuff...yikes. Yeah, that's what your kids need to do, fill the void when one parent opts out. Very healthy.

Idea for a crossover episodee: Sic Paul Westin, Life Coach on Jon and Kate and put it in on PPV. I'd pony up some $$ to see that.

avincent52 (formerly Anon 1:04am) said...

Idea for a crossover episodee: Sic Paul Westin, Life Coach on Jon and Kate and put it in on PPV. I'd pony up some $$ to see that.'

Love it. These guys are Bess and Luke (from In Treatment) come to life. Only worse.

I never thought of it this way until right now, but my Dad was one of seven kids (no multiples) during the Depression and my grandma was a young widow who didn't speak English, my grandfather having been killed when an oil tank he was working on exploded (back in the days before OSHA and unions.)

And somehow they made it.

The J&K soap opera would be funny, kinda, (who would cheat with him?)--if the kids weren't real.

Unknown said...

Last night was the first (and last) time I ever watched the show, drawn in by all the media hoopla.

What made me the saddest was the older 2 girls who seemed to be trying desperately to "help" and be good and helpful. Looked so obviously like children who think if they can just be "good" that their parents will stop fighting and love each other again. It was just horribly sad.

The idea that watching these people is like watching a "real" family is just ridiculous. As soon as you put people in the mix carrying cameras and lighting and sound equipment in the mix (not to mention all the "helpers" that are around) the family isn't just a family making it's way through the world anymore.

I have a cousin who has 12 kids, ages mid twenties through 2. Her and her husband have raised a happy, close-knit family who loves spending time together and who have paid their own way through life. Maybe that's what John and Kate could have managed to have, if celebrity hadn't interfered.

Sharon said...

When J&K decided that Jon would stay home with the kids while Kate went on book and speaking tours, it doesn't seem that they really talked about what it would mean for themselves and their family. Or maybe they did and Kate's desire for fame and fortune clouded her judgment. That said it's also entirely possible that they did talk it out but didn't really understand the ramifications and how they would feel about it until it happened. You see, no one really knows what goes on in someone else's relationship except those involved. I've tried really hard not to pass judgment on either of them, knowing that what little we as viewers see is cannot be a true reflection on the entirety of their relationship and their lives. The break up of a family for whatever reason is beyond sad for all involved.

The bottom line for me is that I ache for those children who not only have to endure the potential break up of their family, but have to deal with the unimaginable horror of having it happen on television while people all over the Internet pass judgment on the parents they so dearly love. Like many, I’ll no longer watch this show. I can only hope and pray that this show will not damage them too severely.

Anonymous said...

Last night was like watching firemen pick through a train wreck. Any divorce leaves the people near the unlucky couple covered in crud. Apparently, divorce on TV throws the crud 10x's farther. I do believe that they did not start out to be the media whores that they are now. I mean TLC is not quite the center of the US media market. They probably thought they could get some quick cash, pay some of their expenses for the 8 maybe start a college fund. But once the cash started rolling in, the two of them kept upgrading their lives to the point that they probably can't back out now. They've been through a couple of houses & cars and have a hoard of helpers which would probably go away pretty fast if the show was gone. So they are stuck and the show is stuck and we're all going to get covered in crud.

Nicole said...

I have never watched this show because I have no interest in parents pimping out their kids for money. (I also have no interest that Duggars show) I hope this show gets cancelled as soon as possible so the kids can start to have somewhat normal lives, because nothing good can come of having life lived under a camera lens.

TLC is just trying to get as much publicity and money out of this fiasco before the public interest tires, and if Jon and or Kate had any sense of pride or dignity, they would pull the plug now and look into getting a real job. Reality contestant is not an occupation.

I am not sympathetic toward the parents because many have been able to raise large families without resorting to exploitation on television. Perhaps they should have read up a bit on the Dionne quintuplets, a naturally occurring set of 5 girls born in the Depression era. They were treated like circus freaks by the Ontario government. Only three survived past middle age.

Anonymous said...

I agree with another reviewer (Time) that unless you've read some of the tabloid stories or seen the rehashes of said stories on TV (and, I admit, they've been hard to miss), what these two people were talking about was basically incomprehensible.

Of course, I'm sure the un-clued in were a very small part of Jon & Kate's what-I'm-sure-was-ratings-record viewership last night. (I admit I tuned in to see the train wreck after not having watched much before.)

I think that what was unsaid was the real clue. No, "We hope it works out." No, "We love each other but." No, "We're working on it." Nothing that indicates they even WANT to stay together. Clearly, a decision has already been made. (Makes that sham "vow renewal" they had just, what, eight months ago seem even weirder, eh?)

Gee, who knew that having eight kids before you're 30 and six all at once, then filming your every waking moment for profit would put stress on a marriage? Who could have predicted?

These people are already formally separated--though they refuse to explicitly say that--and clearly plan to continue to live that way--EXCEPT for when they happen to be on their cash cow TV show. Save some money, sell your cars, get a real job. It is total B.S. that you're "forced" or "trapped" into doing this show. (And speaking of B.S. the "we didn't sign up for this" comment made me gag too, but that's already been well covered.)

Anonymous said...

It's NOT CHEATING if your wife hands you a "secret" contract that says you do "whatever" you want, just show up for filming.

The buzz is that Kate now wants 2 more GUARANTEED years of episodes, in exchange for going to "marriage counseling". What a hoot!!

Who really want to "fix" their marriage now????

Anonymous said...

"[N]ot out of morbid curiosity about all the tabloid stuff, but out of professional curiosity about how the show was going to handle it."

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Amy said...

Thanks for your posting, Alan. I had seen a couple of episodes in the past, and seen the tabloids, but didn't actually want to watch it myself. And it seems I didn't miss much.

Anonymous said...

When Alexis huggd her dad and told him she didn't want him to leave anymore---I think that was the closest I've ever come to crying over a TV show or a movie. Screw these people for what they've done to their kids for the sake of money.

It seemed extremely clear to me that Jon was tired of the show and all that came with it, but Kate wouldn't let him shut it down, for whatever reasons.

CincyNat said...

Yep, these two were headed for divorce long before the sextuplets came. How they ever got together is beyond me. And, Alan, thanks for reminding me about 'An American Family'--my sibs and I were totally hooked on that back in the day. It was awesome. I guess I've been a reality TV fan longer than I thought!

Pamela Jaye said...

Remember how you don't want talk of politics (or possibly religion) here? J&K produce almost the same level of arguments - especially among women. You're brave.

The last post I saw on Gosselins without Pity, had 750 comments. And almost everyone was on the same side of the argument.

thanks for noting

(or about the way she constantly belittles him on camera) .

I did watch it (although I wasn't aware it was on till it was all over TWitter - my DVR did know it was on, and I watched it after eps 6-8 of Dollhouse. (the first two of which made more sense the second time around and the third was new to me)

What can I say? I cannot explain to anyone why it is that I dislike Kate Gosselin so extremely much and yet I continue to watch the show. It may be the same reason people slow down for car wrecks.

I don't usually go out of my way to hate people. Usually people throw themselves in my path and do upsetting things to make me really dislike them. But with Kate... I'm volunteering.

It all started when I heard the title of the show somewhere, and looked it up (I have a large family fetish my brother says. I was a fan of Yours, Mine & Ours, The Family Nobody Wanted, The Keinast quints, and every large family that came down the track)

After a few eps, I posted on IMDB that Kate was really annoying! Little did I know.

I almost don't blame Jon for looking for a woman to be kind to him (I said *almost* - he should have the cajones to divorce Kate first, contract or no contract).

In the end, as Kevin & Jodi said, it's just very sad for the kids. But then, I think living with a mother like that - they are going to be damaged anyway.

The only consolation is - when they grow up and go for therapy, their docs can just pull out the tapes of the show, and figure out what their issues are, without having to drag it out of them.

I especially liked one line from Jon "some day my kids are going to Google me."
Someday? Mady and Cara probably already have.
How sad.

And of course, people who volunteer for the limelight (like Octomom) can't possibly be so dumbstruck when the paparazzi start following them around. How silly.

It's all a sham (and apparently has been for a very long time, if not for the whole time (I don't trust Kate as far as I can throw her))

I recommend TLC dump the show (which they wouldn't do with their biggest cash cow) and replace it with Table for 12, which is really delightful (and when did The Learning Channel become the freak show channel? Giant Leg boy, Tree Man, One Ton Teen. No offense to these people but I see no difference to the circus side shows).

Anyway, as noted, Table for 12 (two sets of twins (that's *more* than Kate has! *gasp*), 1 set of sextuplets, and two very down to earth, good natured hard working parents not looking for a handout at every turn) is much better than Jon & Kate. And hopefully the Hayes family has their feet firmly enough on the ground to avoid the crap that being on TV has done -- but I think Kate was just out for a buck from the beginning (where is her family - why are they "not in our lives"?) and these people have different values (maybe I should just leave out the word "different").

In the meantime, I will admit that whenever it's on, I'm going to watch Little Newlywed Couple - cause the wife is a doctor.

Unfortunately, J&K don't air at 8, or you can bet I'd be telling everyone - don't watch that; watch Chuck instead! It's more uplifting!

captcha: ardigue

Pamela Jaye said...

I should add that, oddly, I almost missed "recent events" cause I was busy saving Chuck ;-)

I hadn't had time till a few days ago to wander back over to GWOP, and I only heard things when talk shows I was taping for someone else (Justin Chambers or whoever) also had stories on J&K.

Pamela Jaye said...

btw, my mom was the oldest girl in a family of 13.
she had two children.
(but yes, my grandfather provided for his family without a reality show)

Pamela Jaye said...

oh I wanted to see Dr Phil deal with Kate, but apparently he *likes* her.

I know there was a time the Dionne quints wrote to the parents of one of the families of multiples, as a warning. Alas it wasn't this family, and they wouldn't get it even if it had been addressed to them.

In addition to growing up with your college roommate knowing what went down with your parents

a. these kids use to go to naptime with videos of "their show" (reinforcement? wanna see *their* future marriages?)
and of course
b. they were all potty trained on national TV. (and had their childish fits there as well. I would die of shame if some of my behavior as a kid was on TV!)

Anonymous said...

What about the possibility that this was all a ratings stunt. These people are willing make a commodity of and sell their family life, why not gin up a divorce?
If not then they are the stupidest people on earth. You mean becoming famous might have negative consequences?
Wow, the only way they could have seen that coming was if they had paid attention at all to any aspect of American pop culture at any point since the invention of the penny newspaper and the dime novel.

ant said...

Does anyone know where I could get ahold of "An American Familly"? I've always wanted to watch it, but it doesn't seem very available. I was pleased to see you bring it up Alan. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The Duggars don't have these problems. They haven't allowed the show to fundamentally alter their value system or way of life. Not that I am advocating their lifestyle.

Jon and Kate have had the following things paid for by the show:
hair plugs
tummy tuck
trip to Aspen
trip to Disney
trip to Hawaii

They have been seen leaving Mr. Chow restaurant in Beverly Hills, Kate's wardrobe is now very upscale, Jon drives a fancy sports car, Kate has that ridiculous 80's haircut that probably cost $400, they live in a million dollar home, all because of the show. So if they stopped the show they would stop the money and perks. They put materialism before their relationship and children and it is just sad.

This show is the worst of American greed and exploitation. I would much rather hang out with the Duggars!

Jennifer J. said...

Hard to add much to what has been said so I only have a few things:

Jeff: Finally, someone out there who knows and loves the brilliance of "Defending Your Life." We quote that movie right and left around here.

I used to watch J&K+8. I had to stop. I really grew to dislike Kate very, very much. It's interesting though that in all the negative comments about her no one specifically mentioned the one thing she does that I find unacceptable: constantly hitting her husband. It's demeaning; cruel; emasculating...one could go on and on. I've always wondered why Kate's family is "never discussed" by her, but I bet it's more her than them, but who knows.

I won't watch that show any more. I just can't. Hearing some of the stories about the kids really felt like a punch in the gut. I actually read a small article where Kate's sister-in-law (the amazingly uber-craft maker one) begged people NOT to watch the show anymore. That says a lot.

I've even heard Kate is so in love with fame that she wants her own talk show specifically all about being a mother. *sigh*

I'm not saying Jon doesn't have any blame here. I wish so much that they would both go to therapy. If not to save their marriage than to save the lives of their children. I believe they have forgotten their children and are doing horribly by them as parents.

It's all so depressing....

jasonsargo said...

Amazing. I only noticed one mention of the Table For 12 in any of the comments. The last couple months are the first time either of these shows popped up on my radar.

It is night and day.

I wish nothing but the worst for Jon and Kate and the associated producers (but of course the best for their kids), because of the horrible, horrible people they are, and the lowest common denominator they are appealing to.

On the other hand, I wish nothing but the best for the family on Table For 12, who are meeting almost identical challenges in their family logistics, yet are staying true to their morals, and will no doubt raise a healthy, happy family together through adulthood.

There are only a few series keeping me in Big Cable's clutches, and Table For 12 is one of them.

LK said...

"When Alexis hugged her dad and told him she didn't want him to leave anymore---I think that was the closest I've ever come to crying over a TV show or a movie."

Yes. (well, I've cried before)

I just watched the hair plugs episode for the first time before watching the season premiere. And while I think Kate should have looked into prescription drugs a long time ago, I'm willing to believe that this crept up on them. The early freebies were nice things that the kids couldn't use but weren't money that could be spent on the kids. (Aaden does not need a hair transplant and Hannah does not need a tummy tuck.) And at some point the cameras became too normal and the money too easy.

But that premiere episode was painfully awkward. The looks being exchanged and ignored during that party were just brutal. The refusal to talk directly about the issues was strange and awkward.

(And I would point out that there is a difference between providing for a large family to the understood necessities of 1930's America and providing for a large family in the 2000's, especially if the older kids aren't quite old enough to help out with the half dozen younger ones. That's 8 college tuitions. That's a couple of extra cars when they hit the teen years, out of sheer necessity.)

Also: Does no one see the gender hypocrisy of Jon complaining about staying home with the kids? Yes, this should have been discussed between them and probably dealt with differently, but she was at home, ALONE, with all of those children (before Cara & Mady had school), without babysitters or nannies or toilet training.

I can't believe I just defended Kate Gosslin. I think I need to go take two aspirin and see someone in the morning. I also can't believe they cannot get their act together enough to not make Alexis (who is admittedly my favorite) break my heart.

Anonymous said...

Jon& Kate are disgusting. I have no sympathy for these greedy famewhores. Who in their right minds would seek in-vitro for sextuplets when you already have TWO biological children??? I feel sorry for the two older kids. It seems like they've been forced to step up and start co-parenting.

If Jon&Kate received &75,000 per episode + a new home + a new car + free vacations + other freebies... they should have more than enough in savings to support their family. They don't need this show financially. However Kate is addicted to fame & freebies and Jon is a lazy slacker. Jon needs to get off his ass and find a real job!

Jon & Kate are worse than the Octo-Mom.

Lizbeth said...

BTW, the Hayes family from TLC's "Table of 12" live in my hometown and their kids go to school with my kids. I don't personally know them but they do seem to be genuinely good people from the times our paths have crossed.

From what I hear about J&K, nobody is defending them because they just aren't good people and never have been. They've alienated their entire family and treat neighbors/fans poorly.

I don't think the show fundamentally changed J&K that much. People are who they are.

And as I always say to my own kids, you can tell a lot about a person's character from the way they handle stress and adversity...and also how they treat the people around them.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that this episode pulled in HUGE ratings, drawing 9.8 million viewers or more than double the previous high (4.6 mil)
Anyone remember the movie Network? Would someone with a vested interest in this the family, the production company, or even the network) consider creating a few seemingly incriminating tabloid photos and a trumped up marital crisis? I'm not suggesting that this happened, just pointing out that people have done more for less.

Susan said...

What I thought was so sad was when Kate was on her shopping trip and she kept giving looks to the cameraman or chatting with him/her. It was partially sad because she had no other adult to talk to except the one she's supposed to be ignoring, and partly because she's gotten so used to the cameras that she's so comfortable with the person filming her life.

It was just a sad, uncomfortable episode. I haven't enjoyed the show in a while - I got sick of watching their couple dynamics (Kate griping and bossing, Jon passive and whiny) and I hated when the show became more about the perks of having a show (fancy trips, going on Oprah) then about the day to day life of having so many kids. I'm done with the show now, but I wish them the best - and a speedy cancellation.

maura said...

I watched this show pretty faithfully for about a year and a half, and caught up on a lot of old episodes. I started watching because I'd read so many awful things about them on one of the message boards I go to, and wanted to know what all the hate was about. I wasn't feeling the hate. I loved it because the kids are beyond adorable and I found the dynamics between Jon and Kate fascinating. Yes, Kate was rough on him, but he gave as good as he got.

But, as Susan said, it's morphed into something else now, and I don't find the implosion of a marriage an appropriate subject for entertainment. The most recent episode just made me sad. I watched because I was curious, but I don't think I can sit through anymore of it.

I also wish the best for Jon and Kate, because I don't want horrible things to happen to anyone. And if the worst happens to them, it happens to the kids too.

Patricia said...

John & Kate: a marriage dissolving is always a sad and angry time. I have been an avid fan since the beginning. Did I like Kate's attitude with John? No, but he didn't stand up and say let's get counseling. Kate obviously has some unresolved issues from her childhood. That's not an excuse but if she's not faced them she may be unaware of them. John, my goodness, can any man in this country keep it in his pants? I'm so tired to men saying I couldn't take the stress, so I had to go out on my wife. What drivel! Even if he didn't have sex, he had an emotional affair which is just as damaging. My heart goes out to both of them and especially the kids. What was once my favorite show on TV ( I so loved to watch all of the kids just being kids and their innocence was so appealing)has now become a bittersweet moment captured for all the world to see. Divorce is ugly, no one wants to watch. Pull the plug, get some help and try to remember what brought the two of you together in the first place. May God bless all of the Gosslein's.

Anonymous said...

I was once an avid fan but I will no longer watch the show. I don't like the way Kate disrespects Jon. I had tears in my eyes after Alexis hugged her father and told him not to leave any more because she missed him. OMG, how can they do this to their kids? J&K actually dislike each other; there was so much friction between them. They both said they were there for their kids. If it's all about the kids, respect them and get off the air. Give the kids a childhood and give them privacy.

Pamela Jaye said...

Did anyone notice that this episode pulled in HUGE ratings, drawing 9.8 million viewers or more than double the previous high (4.6 mil)..

Well, there's less competition from the main networks now... (and, of course, other things) but no, I hadn't heard. thanks.

Kate should get her own talk show. If, in return, she stopped *this* show. She's the one who wants to be famous (but not deal with the downside) so let her.
Of course, then she would outstrip Martha Stewart in the Most Hated Talk Show Host.
(maybe it's just me, but I've always found Martha to be great as a domestic, but sorely lacking on the wife and mom side - which is the role she's trying to portray,(you know - the house is perfect, but you dare not spill anything) isn't it?)
Anyway, now she'd have competition.

I'm not sure on that, I only watch her when she has a guest I want to see.

One thing I find odd - how did Kate end up such a selfish brat, when she had 5 siblings? It's usually us "onlies" who have that problem (your mileage may vary (I was an "only" till I was 6)

Oh, and the Duggars used to annoy me (*too* perfect) but then I noticed - Michelle's OB likes JimBob cause he "listens to his wife" (but he's not hen-pecked); they aren't in debt; and while they are a little more sheltered than is probably healthy (you should *see* the world, even if you don't live like it does) there was a quote from Michelle about how she tries to say more good things about her kids *to* her kids than bad things - like 10 to 1 or something. Everyone respects everyone else.

I figure they are doing like the Osmonds (who went on tour, singing rather than on Mission as Mormons do) they are trying to spread their POV, but they don't ram it down your throat, and they show the fruits of it.
(I wouldn't rush off and join the Quiverfull movement, but I don't mind watching them now and then)

Nomad said...

i think Kate Gosselin does a good job pulling off her own hair, but not very many other people should try this for themselves

Tim said...

Imagine being that guy and having every single man you meet -- away from the earshot of a woman -- ask you, "How do you put up with her?!"

That had to be that Jon's life.

Pamela Jaye said...

Honestly, if we weren't asking it aloud, a lot of us women were wondering that too.

I've never been an angel, but I don't remember ever telling my husband he didn't *breathe* right. (I love that he mentiond that.)

It makes me long for the good old days - like the time he told her to "pull the tick out." (was that bad for a family site?) At least he was still showing backbone.
I wonder if he just gave up, or the producers told him to not fight back.

Apparently there's this contract he signed that says he can e with whoever he wants as long as he shows up to shoot? It's a rumor I heard.

I think Kate should go on her book tours, get her talk show (that I won't watch), leave the kids to Jon (and the house - since it's "all for them" anyway, and go get herself an apartment to sleep in between trips. It would be less for her to clean up. (she did spend 4 hours cleaning out the old fridge in her new house, complaining all the while, before she got a shiny new one.)

I'm guessing Jon ain't perfect, but he's the lesser of two evils in this case.

Screw the College Fund. They should just set up a therapy fund for the kids. Lots of us have been... damaged by our parents, but most of us have't had it air on TV every week.

jodifur said...

they need to give up the show and focus on the family. but she is too much of fame whore to do that.

Great post.

kswk said...

this show has gone to their heads. the only reason there ever was to watch the show was the kids. J+K do not have the charisma to be on TV. they are boring. but they seem to think people watch the show for them. it is beyond absurd