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Monday, May 18, 2009

Jon and Kate plus backlash

Back when I lived at 480 with the girls, watching Jon and Kate plus 8 every week was an exciting house ritual. As a bunch of cute baby loving ladies, we could all get together and enjoy bonding over these adorable little toddlers. The parenting advice that Kate would dole out seemed practical and pretty cool, and the relationship dynamic between husband and wife was strained at times, but the stress was always treated in a light-hearted manner in retrospect. It seemed like a nice show about a nice family with nice little kids.

Recently though, there's been a huge backlash against the Goesslin family. Magazine covers, accusations of cheating flying on both sides, and scores of people demonizing the anal-retentive tv mom. I don't have television, so I haven't really been able to keep up with watching the show. So I found this recent episode on YouTube, and decided to see for myself if the allegations of the show "changing" rang true.

I'm kind of sad to say it, but the show is different, and kind of painful to watch. Here's what I noticed:

- Jon is hardly says 5 words the interview portion, and instead sits dumbly staring at the camera, looking exhausted and sad. Maybe he learned his lesson after this incident? Other than that, the only other time we see him in the episode is when he's bent over his computer, schilling for an insurance company, stopping only briefly to go to the top of the stairs and shout at his children. charming.

-Instead of being framed around the daily activities of the home, the show is now framed around a series of progressively grander vacations and events. In this episode, the children get to tape a segment for Oprah, and then spend the night back stage with the Harlem Globe Trotters. This shows no sign of changing, as the next two episode feature Emeril Lagasse and the dude from Ace of Cakes (PS: note how these promos are ALL focused on Kate). This really supports the argument that these kids are child actors, and should be allowed to fall under the child labor laws as such...

Plastic Surgery Much?

-The charm of this show used to partially lie in the stuff they would do to make ends meet. Like that episode where they bought the whole cow wholesale to save money. It's fairly clear now that money is no longer an issue. They live in a gigantic mansion, j and k both have gotten cosmetic surgery and day-glo tans, and half the episode was centered around kate going to an upscale store to buy clothing for the kids and herself.

-Gone are the days that Aunt Jodi came over to help out the kids. Now they have a "helper" *coughnannycough* that comes in. There's an interesting blog post from Jodi's sister on the motivation behind this here.

-Kate spends so much time talking about how "annoying" her kids are 1. for not wanting to wear the matching outfits that she picks out for them and 2. "being in her face all the time". She then proceeds to talk about how they should do an episode about her style choices through the years. Sounds like somebody wishes the show was called "kate".

-The show has totally succumbed to the fate of most reality television shows, and has become a place where scripted situations are simply acted out. By that same token, the kids have become "characters" and deviating from their set archetypes is highly frowned upon. Getting haircuts, Leah is the one with short hair, Alexis has medium hair, and Hannah has long hair, and that's just the way it is. Cara is the sporty one who gets to go on court during the basketball show, Mady is the bratty one who has to stay in her seat and pout at the attention her sister gets. Anything else wouldn't make sense, right?

I don't plan on getting TV in the future, and even if I did I wouldn't start watching this show again. It's gotten a little too "Truman Show" for me. I guess I feel like these poor kids are going to be screwed up by being celebrities before they even understood the ramifications of it. How much longer will this go on? Will we get to watch Cara and Mady go to college? Will we be peeking over the back seat during Joel's first date? It just seems so weird and self-serving. Jon and Kate clearly no longer need this show to pay the bills. They get $75,000 per episode, plus the residuals from re-runs. I hope all of that is going right into trust funds for the little people who earned it with their cuteness and potty training exploits. But I doubt it, especially after getting a glimpse at Jon's new ride.

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