Open Mic

Jon & Kate: Feeding Kids to the Media Lions

Jonathan Reiner Posted June 23, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Tags: Jon & Kate Plus 8

I gave into the hype and finally watched Monday’s episode of TLC’s "Jon & Kate Plus 8.” I was as curious as the rest of America as to their big announcement: If they are separating, how will it be revealed? What about the kids? Why am I so invested?

The answers, in order: in separate confessional interviews; we don’t know yet; because I like good TV.

Tonight’s episode was satisfying on many levels -- compelling story structure, surprisingly good production values, semi-seamless product integration and deep-ish character development.

But I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.

I saw Jon and Kate talk a lot about how their relationship has deteriorated, but almost no mention of what derailed their relationship in the first place or whether this marriage can be saved. I don’t care who’s wrong and who’s right, but I do care about those eight kids. Divorce is indescribably rough on a child, and I’m a little disturbed that (and curious about) Jon and Kate are so public with their problems without offering any reason or solution. Instead, we heard about their separate schedules and how “tough” it’s going to be on the family.

Uhm -- maybe ya shoulda thought about that before you signed on to do a TV show, or at least before you decided to broadcast your separation on your highly rated show!

By being so public -- and yet so coy -- Jon and Kate are feeding the media monster that is devouring their lives. I’d rather see them pull the plug on their show, or at least make some attempt to solve their problems without exposing the kids to the ravages of this horrible publicity storm.

By nature, reality fans want more, more, more of their favorite characters and shows. Well, to me, Jon and Kate’s behavior feels like parents feeding their kids to the lions.