Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'Til Death--or Reality TV--Do Us Part

There used to be a time where I really loved watching Jon and Kate Plus 8.

Back when they lived in the normal house with the fugly green carpet and Kate wore clothes that all normal stay-at-home moms wear, I remember hoping that this show would go on forever so I could see those kids grow up.

I can remember exactly the moment I realized its metamorphosis from cute show into money-making machine--when the episode aired of them moving into their McMansion.

That episode really pissed me off.

Sure, the episode after episode of free trip here after free trip there, those were clues pointing at Money-Making Machine status. I guess I was in denial...

On the season finale a couple of weeks after the McMansion Moving In episodes, as Jon proclaimed he didn't want to do the show any more and Kate dissented that she did, I thought for sure that would be the end of it. First, I feel like it's run its course as a relevant and enjoyable show and it's time for it to go. After all, the 'tups are going to Kindergarten here soon and what in the world are those camera crews going to tape? Second, what kind of wife keeps forcing her husband along a path that he's obviously uncomfortable with?

But, back it came. And inexplicably, I continued to watch.

As the news of their rocky marriage broke a few weeks back, the show obviously displayed their inability to breathe the same air, and it has literally become painful for me to watch.

I sit there, unable to take my eyes of this train wreck, and I have a pit in my stomach. I put myself in that position as a wife in a failing marriage. I put myself in that position as a mother whose kids are about to watch their parents split up. My sympathy for her literally makes me a little sick.

There is something about them each sitting alone in that interview chair. It's so... wrong. Their banter is gone, and even if it came along with Kate's "love taps" you could tell they were a happy couple, albeit stressed from raising small children. And not to mention how annoying it is to listen to two people tell the same story at different times.

Watching her spend her birthday alone hurt my heart. Her kids are 8 and 5--they know that Daddy should be around for Mommy's birthday. I couldn't help but wonder what they were thinking.

And now, unless you live under a rock, you know they are divorcing.

To see this extremely private matter handled on television is horrific to me. To see Kate, obviously raw with the pain of her failure, and to see Jon, obviously flippant about his, makes me feel like a voyeur. This is a part of someone's life that we should not be witnessing. I feel like watching a couple go through a divorce is akin to watching pornography--it just ain't right.

After seeing all the previews, I anticipated that last night's show would be announcing their separation. I also wrongly anticipated this would be the end of the show. I am shocked--absolutely shocked--that they are going to continue on.

Kids generally don't handle divorce very well. They have eight of them, so the odds are that they are going to be dealing with at least a couple of kids reeling from the split of his or her parents. As a mother, as a parent, I cannot imagine putting my kids in front of a camera during a life changing transition like this. Really.

(As a side note, Mady is going to grow up to hate her parents. Every time we see her on the show she is an outbursting display of immature tantrums, set next to calm, cool and collected Cara. I am predicting she will end up in therapy over this.)

I think we can all agree Kate's a bit of a bitch. I don't pass judgement on her for this because I have my moments. And if you try to tell me that you don't have moments, I will call you a liar. And if anyone, even Mother Teresa, was followed 24/7 by a camera crew, I'm sure there'd be enough moments to paste together a pretty unsavory picture. I can't imagine what kind of shrew I would be if I had eight kids that age.

As for Jon, he would never be leaving his wife if they weren't loaded rich. They simply wouldn't be able to afford it. How would he pay child support for his eight children without a reality TV paycheck or his half (since they're married) of his wife's lucrative book deals? I distinctly remember a show where they said they would never get divorced. I think the topic of affording it was brought up, and that they were in it together for life. I think the judge should dig up that tape and use it as grounds to refuse their divorce.

For some insane reason, I feel sad for these people like they are my friends. I guess it's because they opened their home up to the world, and honestly because of this I know more about them that I do know about some of my friends.

I wish they would get over themselves and shut off the cameras. Get real jobs, and focus on raising your beautiful children.

At least that's what I would tell them if they were my friends.


The Manrings said...

seriously, these are my exact sentiments. i really did sit staring, like a train wreck, feeling so awfully bad as if i really knew them...and the show is now just about celebrity things like emril and their giant house and not the normal everyday things. plus that show is jon and kate and without their interviews together its just pointless and ridiculous. this whole thing is so far from how i ever pictured it going and I have NEVER gotten into a reality show like this. anyway, i read your post and thought....did i write that? ha.

Nicole S said...

Ashley I couldn't agree more with your comments on the show! Seriously! I used to LOVE the show and now . . . I just feel bad for everyone involved, especially the kids. And the worst part, I can't turn it off. The thing that I used to like the most, watching someone I could totally relate to go through life and deal with all the ups and downs, is just not there anymore. I'm so hoping the cancel the show and just deal with this privately!!!!