Jon & Kate: Feeding Kids to the Media Lions

Jun 23, 2009

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.



  1. Last night’s show was eye opening in that it just really showed how selfish and immature Jon is. How can you think of getting a divorce with six 5 -year olds and two 8 year-olds??
    Jon even said last night “Well, who knows what the schedule will be, this is all so fresh — I MEAN, I COULD GET OFFERED A JOB.” What?!? So he is moving to NYC and he might get offered a job — but he is going to continue to be in his childrens’ lives in Reading, PA?? Puhleaze.
    Also, the fact that he felt it necessary to point out top viewers that he was “only 32” –well, by golly, he’s got his whole life ahead of him!! Except, wait a sec Jon … that’s usually the kind of sentiment you hear from a single college grad who is embarking upon a new adventure. NOT a father of 8 who is an adult with adult responsibilities (whether he likes it or not). Jon wants to have fun. He wants to party. He wants to act like a teenager or kid in their early 20’s — diamond stud earrings and motorcyle and all! He may love his kids, but his actions will harm them.

  2. I hope this starts to shine a light on the exploitive nature of reality shows, and how they can easily ruin lives. Look at how they exploited Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent, and the shattering effect it had on her life. Even Simon Cowell admitted to her poor treatment by the show.
    Let’s get back to real TV programming and not prying into the real lives of people in an attempt to rip their lives apart for ratings, only because it’s cheaper than paying writers and actors.

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