Did someone say train wreck?
Remember when "Jon and Kate Plus 8" was a cute little show that emphasized adorable sextuplets and the antics they got into as they grew up in front of TLC's cameras?
Those days are gone.
What's left is a pitiful, awful and uncomfortable train wreck of a couple who has seemingly lost sight of what they're doing on TV. And sadly, it's become television gold.
While I didn't watch Monday's premiere of the show, I've heard and read enough to wonder if I could even stomach it. After strolling through the grocery store and seeing Jon's face (plus a 23-year-old mistress, or whatever she was) or Kate's tearful doe eyes pasted on just about every cover, it seems the show has become something I may not be interested in any longer.
Everyone seems to have their opinion about the new limelight couple with comments and blogs stating everything from "Jon should leave rude, controlling Kate ... and take the kids, too. She got what she deserved" to "(Kate) is disgusting, and both of them are disgusting for selling their privacy to the highest bidder."
What I think is sometimes forgotten with these types of reality shows is that these are real people. OK, so Jon has TLC-purchased hair plugs -- and between Kate's fake tanner and "volcano" hair (coined as an "explosion in the back and lava down the front") -- these two aren't really resisting the urges of new found fame. Nor are they complaining about their $75,000 per episode paychecks. But point is, it's still a family -- or at least it used to be a family.
There are eight kids living in this mess. Eight kids that no doubt are probably already messed up from living with cameramen and who are forced to not only hear mommy and daddy bickering at each other but see it later on TV. Most of the kids are probably too young to know exactly what's going on but I'm sure the older twins can put two-and-two together when their friends tell them they saw their dad on People magazine getting into a car with someone that wasn't their mommy.
Because of this and so much more, I'm still undecided if I will tune in. The deterioration of last season and the bickering that just got worse and worse -- not to mention all the appearances, book signings and milking of the 15 minutes of fame that occurred in between -- has me deeply saddened and annoyed for what this family has become. I found that tuning in last season was more sad than anything else and as much as drama is good TV, there comes a point where it's just uncomfortable and awful.
It's like watching "The Bachelor" episode where how-could-you-be-so-heartless Jason broke up with Melissa on live TV -- except with "Jon and Kate Plus 8" its stretched out for an entire season. On-air, edited and ratings-promoting divorces are where I draw the line.
Don't confuse that for sympathy for the family -- I'm one that believes they brought this on themselves, not that they deserve what they got, but c'mon ... they signed the contract, they let the cameras into their home and they publicly talk about their failing marriage. You can't have it both ways. You can't get your pay check from book sales, magazine covers, etc., and then complain about how the media is ruining your life. It doesn't work like that.
And honestly, I hope the best for the Gosselin's. I hope they realize if they stop everything -- the cameras, the insider interviews -- they could possibly return to normal life. Sure, there won't be TLC-purchased homes, hair plugs or hairstylists but there could be a chance to actually be a family again. Or at least raise eight children in an environment that won't lead to years and years of therapy.
So did you watch? Will you watch? What's your take on the Gosselin situation?
-- Sara Boyd, firstname.lastname@example.org