Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon & Kate: Outside Looking In

I'm sure the net-world is swarming with the buzz of "Jon and Kate will separate" this morning, and while part of me hates to jump into the Gosselin-gate saga, the whole situation bothers me too much for me to keep my mouth shut. When we first saw the Gosselin family on tv, C and I couldn't get enough. They seemed just like us: Kate has PCOS; Kate hates germs and loves control (in a funny way, initially); Jon is laid-back and finds the humor in Kate's craziness. Of course parts of the show were obviously orchestrated in advance, but the family at the center of it all seemed so real. We turned to each other and said, "Look, honey, it's a Christian infertile couple just like us - and they survived!"

We thought Jon and Kate were a success story, in so many ways. They dealt with the heartbreak of infertility, not to mention the frightening realities of a high-order multiple pregnancy. Yet they seemed to come through everything with their love for each other and their faith in God intact. Watching their lives unfold on tv, I felt hope for our own situation. Infertility is a subject rarely broached on prime-time tv - much less in a positive and realistic way - and I was excited to see proof that there is life after PCOS.

Then, I went into my "black hole" phase, and chose to distance myself from anything involving kids for a while. We stopped watching Jon and Kate, and were truly shocked when their tabloid nightmare unfolded recently. I've tuned in for a few minutes here and there this season, and the changes in each of them are truly unsettling.

It's so easy to judge other people's lives. From the outside looking in, everything looks so simple, so cut and dried. And while it's wrong for me to judge them, I can't seem to avoid it. Part of me staunchly believes that when the Gosselins opened their home to the TLC cameras, they invited the American public into every part of their lives, private or not. They aren't actors in a summer blockbuster, they are a family at the crux of a reality tv show. This is what they signed up for: to broadcast the ins and outs of their daily lives to millions of viewers. And while a small part of me does cry out for grace for them, my heart truly breaks for their children.

I so badly wanted Jon and Kate to announce that they would be cancelling their tv show, and taking some time away from their public lives to focus on rebuilding their marriage and their family. Or, at the very least, announce that they would be cancelling their tv show in order to allow the kids time to grieve and adjust to the changes in their family structure privately. Instead, I feel like they are exploiting their children's pain all for the sake of money.

I can appreciate that the expenses involved in caring for a family of eight children must be overwhelming (not to mention, planning for their future). But at this point, it doesn't seem like Jon and Kate have financial "needs" - they are certainly not experiencing the current economic crisis in the same way most families are. Worst case scenario, they could probably reduce their standard of living and still more than manage to make ends meet.

So I'm left this morning scratching my head...Jon and Kate said numerous times last night that they're doing this for their children. They want "peace" for their children. My question is, what kind of peace is brought by watching your parents divorce on a national stage?


Kristin said...

I actually have never watched the show so I can't offer an educated opinion. However, I am deeply disturbed that they plan on divorcing in the spotlight. It seems that lately they have been giving lip service to their faith and not much more.


Katie said...

Very well said without being overly judgemental. Relationships displayed on reality show stages rarely make it, and that is very very sad.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched Jon and Kate since the first season, but I am so sad to see what they are going through now. I, like you, had hoped that they would cancel the show for their children.


Joy said...

You said that very, very well! Better than I've been able to articulate. It feels like child abuse to put those kids through this.

Michelle said...

Amen Sister! I couldn't agree more. I have watched the show since the beginning and towards the middle of last season, I told my friends something had changed. Kate's whole being changed. It wasn't so much about the kids anymore and I was noticing her (and him) losing weight, pampering herself, spending lots of money on things. I HATE that they both say they are doing it for the kids. Let's be real, they are doing it because they get money and free things for exploiting their kids on national tv. Ugh, sorry, this just infuriates me!
~Michelle (ICLW)

Hillary said...

I totally agree!! Wonderful post that addresses all the nuances of the situation.


WiseGuy said...

Nopes, like Kristin, I have been not following it at all! I do know about the couple, and I have caught possibly 30 minutes of all the episodes they have ever done, but I still think that they are exploiting / milking their children fame. Really sick.

If we stop watching them, the ratings fall, the sponsors go away, and they get booted from the channel. Maybe then, they may decide to look at themselves and their kids.


daega99 said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!!!

I very randomly caught the show. While I understood why they decided to do it, I really felt that it could cause problems. I did watch the last two episodes out of curosity. I too wished they would cancel the show and go into counseling. I was so disappointed that they decided to do what they're doing. I feel so bad for the kids...

ICLW #31

finding_ac said...

i actually was going to write a blog about them cause it makes me so bitterly sad... i feel like they are just like my husband and i as well, and i just cant believe it. i feel like i know them intimately- i am almost in tears just thinking about it cause it is so sad..maybe i will save all the emotional talk for my blog...lol

♥ ac


Kim H. said...

I've never seen the show, but they are truly kidding themselves if they think that divorce is a good thing for their children. What is actually good for their children would be to see their parents step up and take responsibility for their actions... and work on their marriage!