Last night I watched the season premier episode of my favorite reality television show, Jon and Kate Plus 8, and I actually shed a tear. I didn’t realize how attached I had become to that family until I saw them on what appeared to be the verge of their demise. I used to marvel at how Jon and Kate appeared to be this united front, beating the odds and raising 8 happy kids together. They had become my symbol of hope that the family can survive even in these crazy times. For those who don’t know, Jon and Kate Plus 8 is one of several reality shows on TLC showcasing the miracle of raising an enormous brood of offspring without killing anybody. The couple got pregnant with sextuplets after already having twins, giving them a total of 8 kids.
In seasons past, the Gosselins appear to be just as much superparents as they were flawed and real individuals. They had all the normal challenges of parenthood multiplied by eight yet they seemed to always work it out. Despite all the stresses of raising 8 kids Kate managed to find the time to make them heart shaped pancakes from scratch on valentines day. I can barely find the energy to toss a pop tart in the toaster some days and I don’t even have any kids.
Yeah Kate came across as a little bossy at times, but she had to run a tight ship just to keep her sanity with so many kids to take care of. Jon had a slightly more laisez faire approach to parenting. But this seemed to bring some balance to the household. I watched them renew their vows in Hawaii just a month ago and all was good with the world. But thanks to the magic of television last night I saw the once happy couple sitting 12 feet apart on a 2 foot couch* barely acknowledging each others existence. How could what seemed to be such perfect family be falling apart literally right before my eyes???
Okay I have to admit there were some signs. Last season I saw the annoyed glances from Jon that made it clear that Kate bossing him around was getting kind of old. And raising 8 kids has to take it’s toll on any human being. But I never expected to see him on the cover of a tabloid doing who knows what with who knows who. Now the rumors are flying. Kate’s crying on national television. And my favorite reality television family could be coming apart at the seams.
And its stressing me out! After watching the show I actually had a dream that I set out to help them save their marriage. Unfortunately I woke up before I ever managed to do that. I barely ever watch television with the exception of this show and Jon Stewart, but I might have to take a break from watching them because I have apparently internalized their pain. This is why I don’t watch television. Either it sucks royally or it stresses me out.
Maybe the blogosphere is right about their allegations that this whole drama is just a ploy to rake in higher ratings. Higher ratings = more episodes = more money. And $75,000 an episode is nothing to sneeze at. They could certainly use the money to help fund 8 college educations. So I would totally understand if that was the case. But something tells me the tension I saw on that couch was real. Hopefully for the sake of their kids and the sanctity of my sleep they’ll go to marriage counseling and work it out.
* Thanks to my friend Cam for pointing this out.