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May 26, 2009

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" Must Die

Jon and Kate Plus 8 Rooting for divorce, especially when children are involved, is not something I would normally advocate. But frankly, that has long been my position regarding Jon and Kate Gosselin, stars of the Jon & Kate Plus 8, the "reality" show that follows to these parents of twins (now 8) who then had sextuplets (now 5).

My opinion, formed on the occasional episode I'd catch my daughter watching or tidbit I'd find online, was based on a simple premise:

Kate is a bossy, overbearing shrew of legendary proportion (updated with fancier clothes and a revised version of Posh Spice's old 'do) and Jon, no matter how wimpy you may think he is, didn't deserve to put up with her constant verbal abuse and on-camera humiliation. I'd have felt the same way if the roles were reversed.

After watching the premiere of Jon & Kate Plus Eight's new season Monday night, in which the two are definitely estranged and hinting at a permanent split amid a party to celebrate the sextuplets' birthday, my opinion has changed.

Contrary to show biz cliche, the show must not go on.

Then, and most importantly, the two of them need to get into counseling ASAP to see if they can pull it together for the sake of their eight kids.

It is up to us, as fellow parents, to make it happen. We must stop being their enablers.

No more tuning into watch the train wreck. No buying (or even viewing for free online) the tabloids that are following their every move and whine. Avoid all books written by or about these people (Kate is currently pushing some cheesy photo album of the kids and seems to have a cookbook on tap for October). And, for God's sake, if you see Jon hanging in a bar at 2 a.m. with some hot young thing, smack him upside the head and tell him to get back to the bed he's made at home and deal with it.

You can pick either parent's side and make a fair case for who is the cause of the marital strife, but the bottom line is that they both had a hand in it and the public and execs at TLC egged it in because it made good viewing, good money, good gossip and good fodder for jokes. Face it, we all suck.

Regardless, it is obvious Jon and Kate need to stop being the parents of the eight kids on that TV show and start being the parents of the eight kids they have in real life. Shutting down the Gosselin cottage industry of being the Gosselins is the first step. That might finally get Kate to stop yapping long enough to listen to Jon who might actually have something to say if given the chance. A dialogue could even break out, though it may require Bob Schieffer and a team of marriage counselors trained in the Dick Cheney School of Friendly Persuasion to prod it along. Having a few members of The Jerry Springer Show security team on the sidelines, ready to pounce, might also be a good idea.

After a reported $25,000 to $75,000 per ep, a $1.1 million new home, free hair plugs (Jon -- who got what he paid for) and tummy tuck (Kate), endless free vacations, royalties and so on over the past several years, Jon and Kate have made a nice living off their kids. Now, like the rest of us, they need to start living for their kids.


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