Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage.
Cast in this unlikely role
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact.
Jon and Kate have a set of twins, and a set of sextuplets. The production company, Figure 8 Films, records their life as a reality. Recently controversy has erupted over Jon and a woman, and now continue like a cloud over the entire premise of the show.
I'm not surprised.
I don't care for reality TV. The biggest misnomer the TV outlets portray is reality TV. Nothing on reality television shows is real. Reality is BORING. You want to know reality? Brandt wakes up very groggy. He showers while catching up on the radio he missed yesterday. He eats Frosted Shredded Wheat with 1/2% milk and a hot cup of Choffy, and reads ESPN.com. Nobody wants to see that. I am even boring myself writing that. We should change the genre of this phenomenon to voyeuristic drama. Nobody on Survivor, the Hills, Big Brother, I Love New York, Rock of Love, or even Jon and Kate Plus 8 are showing their true colors.
That being said, here's where things went horribly wrong for the show.
First, the show was intriguing to people for a number of reasons, most notably, coping with not just twins, but sextuplets that are relatively close in age. For someone coming from a small family (such as I), this was an interesting look into how big families operate. For someone coming from a large family (such as Ashley), it was a walk down memory lane. When we first found the show, we would watch, and Ashley would comment "I remember dinners like that," or, "I remember coming home from the grocery store with enough food to feed an army," or "I always wanted my own room, but I had to share." I think this is one of the reasons why the show worked. It appealed to a large number of people. Recent parents, people from small families, people from large families, people who struggle to make the bills, people who were wondering if they were the only ones struggling to raise children.
Now it's a brag-fest of all the great things the Gosselin's lives. Free trip to Utah? Great, make a show out of it. Jon wants hair plugs? Make a show out of it. Teeth whitening? Sure! I'm not sure when dental practices became fodder for the prime-time TV spots, but apparently, like I've heard others comment, I didn't know that watching people perform tasks that others perform every day was entertainment. To quote Richard Rife, from his blog, "Another time, Jon cooked breakfast while the kids got in his way. I’ve got my fingers crossed that sometime in the future I’ll get to see Kate vacuum the carpet or Jon mow the lawn, while, of course, the kids cause irritation. "
Here's the thing that people either fail to comprehend or don't want to see: Jon and Kate are driven by ratings. This "controversy" (which I am still skeptical about) of Jon caught with another woman was the perfect thing for them. They were probably losing viewers after season 4, and now they've got the perfect draw for people to watch.
It's deplorable, yes, but it is the honest way in which viewership works. The editing of shots with both Jon and Kate are done so you see their worst sides. They have production meetings where they lay out a game plan of the questions to be asked/answers to be given. This is not "reality," any more than Obama wanting to grab a hamburger could be considered "Reality".
Jon and Kate have both mentioned that they deplore the paparazzi, and they hate the publicity. However, it's the exact opposite. Kate, you don't want the paparazzi following your kids with you into the Dollar Store? First, don't parade your kids. That wasn't safety, that was "look at us." Second, don't coordinate their dress so it's obvious they're multiples. Third, don't go to the Dollar Store in the middle of the day. Go late at night. Be smooth about this stuff. You don't hear about some celebrities because they understand the game. Jon, you don't want the tabloids commenting on your every move? GET OUT OF SHOW BUSINESS! Even I, an amateur culture critic, knows that you sign up for the good AND the bad. That trip to Disneyland was great wasn't it? It was complimentary wasn't it? That's the good. You portray yourself as a good family guy, then walk into a bar, POTENTIALLY make a mistake that is blown out of proportion? That's the bad.
Jon and Kate, you had so much potential. Now you just look like entitled sleazeballs desperate for the media spotlight not aware of the consequences. The stopwatch is ticking, and it shows your 15 minutes of fame at 14 minutes 59 seconds.
* For those of you who don't get the title, Rush was a Canadian band.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Living on a lighted stage