Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I really didn't want to

I swear I really didn't want to. I told myself that I would be strong no matter what. But, yesterday as the clock started hedging closer and closer to 9 p.m. I found my strength starting to weaken. And by 9 p.m. I had finally given into the beast that is "Jon and Kate Plus 8."

Kevin and I used to watch the show all the time. Almost like we were in the Gosselin cult. We couldn't wait to see what new animal cutie Aaden was going to pretend to be, or what older sister Maddy would pout about this week. Our DVR was pretty much a treasure trove of episodes of Jon and Kate.

But, as the seasons started to progress, we found ourselves wanting to tune in less and less. We loved to watch the family deal with everyday simple adventures like going out to pick pumpkins at a nearby farm, or visiting the dentist and we really enjoyed watching the whole brood take a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. But, when they started to get free trips to Utah, California, Hawaii and everywhere in between, we started to lose interest. No longer was this just a simple family trying to get by with eight children, it was just a promotional tool and money making scheme.

What put the proverbial nail in the coffin for us, is when Jon and Kate started hocking a V-Cast educational video game system during their show. Talk about product placement!

From then on we were done except for an occasional short visit as we were flipping through the channels, or looking at photos online of their huge new mansion. We were done. Our DVR was cleaned out, and our season pass cancelled.

I thought that might be the end of Jon and Kate and their cuties for us. But, then the firestorm started. Allegations about Jon's unfaithfulness, and then Kate's unfaithfulness. Woes of their troubles in their marriage were being splattered over every tabloid and magazine in the check-out aisle.

Since I had invested so much time in this family I wanted to know what was going on. When I heard about Jon's wild nights out at a bar in a college town I was shocked. Part of me could see why he would do this, because Kate is hard to handle at times, but he has to think about the eight children that he is a father to. With Kate running around doing book signings and promotional things for the show, I can understand how he might get lonely, but don't you think that eight children might keep you busy?

All during the media frenzy, Jon kept on saying that he wanted his privacy and just wanted to be able to go out and be a normal person. Well, I am sorry but when you sign up to have every move of you and your family broadcasted on a major television station, and when you get between $25,000 to $75,000 an episode, you give up your freedom. I do agree that sometimes the paparazzi do go a little far, and that the children shouldn't be followed all the time, but it is the sad truth that is reality television.

What is also sad, is watching Jon and Kate interact, and I use that term loosely, during the season premier episode.

When Kev and I used to watch it, we used to see a few glimmers of similarities in Jon and Kate's relationship that are in ours. The playful banter, Kate's anal organization, Jon's flippant and calm attitude when things got stressful. We would laugh and nudge each other during the episode.

Now, I don't want to see any part of ourselves in them. They have taken their marriage and turned it a very said play in which both actors really don't want to be there. Their interviews are now taped separately instead of together. Kate sits in the middle of the couch surrounded by pillows, while Jon assumes his regular seat on the left hand side of the couch, almost as if he is saving a spot for Kate.

It seems like the children are almost blissfully unaware by all that is swirling around them. During the sextuplets 5th birthday party, Alexis, I think it was her, goes over and talks to her dad. She tells him that her friend, who is a boy, came to the party. Jon goes and jokes to her that she isn't hugging or kissing him, is she? Alexis looks at him in all seriousness and says that she only hugs and kisses are parents. She then goes and gives him a great big hug, and you can tell how much Jon has missed his family. When they release from the hug, Alexis says to her dad that she misses him and that she wishes he wouldn't go away any more. Jon says to her that dad sometimes has to go away for work. She then walks off. It breaks your heart!

Toward the end of the episode, both Jon and Kate were together in an interview. Both keeping a distance between the other one. Their attitudes almost made it seem that the inevitable was going to happen, and clips of next week's episode of Kate and her daughter Cara traveling to California alone to relax while Jon stays home with the kids makes it seem like we are already watching Jon plus 8 or Kate plus 8. It is really sad to watch.

But, as everyone makes a great hoopla about Jon and Kate, we mustn't forget that these are real lives of real people. When the show is done taping for the day, the cold shoulders, grimacing smiles and glares of unresolved dislike don't go away. They just continue to fester.

It is my hopes and prayers that the children survive unscathed by all of this.

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