Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus 8: Season 5 To Air in May

photo courtesy: Gosselin family for TLC

So Jon & Kate Plus 8 is returning for a fifth season. Um....yay?

At TLC upfront, held April 2, the parents were on hand to offer generic platitudes about the upcoming season. Jon said to "expect the unexpected," and Kate added that "[the family will] be taking a very exciting trip in the near future. Not to give it away, but it'll take us back to our roots." Oh man, I hate "trip" episodes. Wonder if it is going to be "Korea", for baby Gosselin 9? Oh please, say it ain't so..... Maybe a trip to "Europe" to retrace Jon's footsteps after he dropped out of college to backpack across the country? Or maybe Kate is just going back to her original hair color, hence the "roots" reference. As of late, is is hard to tell exactly what color her hair actually is.

I'm not sure that I even want another season with the Gosselins, and not just because they often seem, oh ~ completely miserable. Also, because what I used to like about the show has diminished in recent seasons: I liked the documentary vibe back in the day, when the show felt like it was capturing an unusual family doing ordinary things. Now, so much of the show is about the show itself -- there's a meta element here that's just not my style.

Here is a family that has made profit by (after the first two specials), exploitation of their children. I ask, would you document for America your three year old's constipation. A private matter for most was made public by the show, not only the tot's constipation, but his father's "impaction retraction", right there in the back of the family van, in the parking lot of Ikea. All the while, Kate was choosing just the right "functional furniture" and toddler beds. She's the self proclaimed nurse, why did she not take on this motherly action? Being a nurse myself, I have had to help my daughters through a similar situation when they were younger, but all in the privacy of our own home. Keep in mind, the young Gosselin was complaining before the shopping trip. How humiliating this will be to him when he is older. Forever on film, and the internet. Once on the internet, always on the internet.

Also irritating, while the majority of American families are being hit, and some hit harder than others, during this time of economic distress, these families happen to be the specific demographic for viewers of this TLC show. The same show with two stay at home parents, traveling to beaches and resorts, not once but at times, twice or more a year. These days, it is difficult for at least one parent to find a job, much less, take a vacation. Oh, and let's not forget the new mini mansion, the children paid for and Jon and Kate moved into last fall. It also came complete with a new array of perfectly product placed appliances (Whirlpool/GE) and furniture (Lane). Don't believe me? Check the Lane website.

I know some of you are saying I am jealous. Actually, on the contrary. I love my home. I love my neighborhood. I don't feel the need to hide from the world. I love my neighbors, I do not covet them, nor Jon and Kate for that matter. I do, however, pray for the Gosselins. Kate wants her children to have "a normal childhood" What is normal about having tv cameras following them around. What normal child goes to Disney twice before the age of 8.~ A child not from the immediate Orlando area. What normal child goes on another vacation and witnesses their own mother have a major meltdown due to an in-air delay, and then end up at a beautiful winter lodge "mini mansion" at Park City, Utah. The lodge donated generously to the family. I actually felt sorry for the children on their first day, when filled with excitement to hit the slopes, Kate was "sick" and did not watch her brood ski the bunny slopes until the very last day of a five day stay. (However, Kate was able to keep her spa appointment the first day, when she was supposedly "sick".) Then there is San Diego, followed by Hawaii, and a wedding renewal, all before the smaller kids are five years old.

I take into consideration someone who is just as loving to their children, tuning in to watch,~ if they have been able to keep their cable on for the month, ~ seeing all the grandeur this family is provided by exploiting their children. God has blessed the Gosselins with healthy children, yes, but He is not providing the "show". TLC and Figure 8 are providing the show. I wonder, how do these struggling parents feel? How do their children feel seeing the Gosselin brood at home with mom and dad and traveling "hither, thither and yon", as Kate would say.

I am blessed to be a stay at home mom and am thankful for each day that I have with my children. My children are older, but I still relish each morning that I get to make breakfast for my daughters and drive them to school. I look forward to that time together with them, not having to rush around and knowing that I will be the one, to pick them up from school each afternoon and discuss their day with them. All the while, as some of you know, battling cancer and also a widow of 6 years. I am thankful for my family and would not trade one hour with Kate Gosselin.

And then there's Mady. Oh, what great therapist would not love to get their mits on this child. Mady is the perfect example of sitcom trauma. And what do Jon and Kate do? Berate and belittle Mady even more on the episodes by mocking her tirades and as punishment for her temper tantrums, they prevent Mady from joining her siblings in making cookies with the resort chefs and bakers, who have apparently went out of their way to accommodate the children with a fun activity. Mady was also prevented from going skiing with her father and got to hear all the praise that Cara received by being "just like Dad on the slopes".

Don't get me wrong. Mady has issues. I feel a lot of it is jealousy, and what child does not go through that phase, however, Mady's issues are deep seeded and she seems to be a ticking time bomb. There is not an episode in recent memory she has not had some type of tantrum. Even during the "Puppies!" episode, Mady proclaims she wants a puppy "that only loves me!". Neglect, no. Abuse, no. But in my own opinion, Mady does need someone to talk to. Keep in mind, she and Cara both were at their most vulnerable age, when mother-child bonding is at it's height when Kate was pregnant with the sextuplets. Cara was somehow able to deal with the changes and not having Kate around, but Mady somehow fell to the way side.

So get ready, come May, we get another full dose of Gosselin. We have all heard the rumors about Jon and I will not repeat them here, but how ironic that during their wedding renewal, they proclaimed that it was to show their children "publicly" that they will be together forever. Together in love and in God, or just "together"? Only God will know. I hope for the children Kate and Jon do prevail and make their marriage work.

This year would mark my 16th anniversary, I would give anything to be able to renew vows with my husband, who passed suddenly at the age of 45.

Are you all still into 8? Or have you had enough?


starfish said...

Hi smom!
Well I have to admit I do look foward to watching the new episodes, I have watched 8 since the begining.
I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments though.
I feel sorry for all of the kids, but I do see the favoritism that goes on. Yes Madi seems like a brat but they make it very obvious that cara is the "athlete" the "brave one" the one "like her father".
One of these days they are going to wish that Madi would pay attention to them and she will be long gone getting attention from someone else.

Anonymous said...

hi smom

I stopped watching the Kate+$$$$ show a while back.. While I adored the 6 pack & their constant banter & grasp of language skills I detested the way Kate was constantly picking them up by the hand & letting them hang while she yanked them into the car.. As a mom & Grandma that drove me up a wall.. I was always waiting for one of those poor children to get a dislocated shoulder.. And I agree Mady has some deep seated problems & I don't want to be around when they finally erupt.. I find it sad the way they berate her not only in public but in front of her siblings which makes it worse.. She is a troubled child & I wonder what avenue it will eventually take.. Kate & Jon I suspect have used these beautiful children to gain gifts both monetary & materialistic to enhance their lifestyle & boy have they gotten them.. I found Kate to be so annoying that at times it was like chalk grating against a blackboard.. I feel sorry for Jon but they say marriages that have multiples don't last.. How sad for all.. And let's not forget the books she wrote (?) another self centered gain.. Boy I guess she sure did irritate me but I sure do love those kids she was blessed with..

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