Coke or Pepsi? Democratic or Republican? Jon or Kate? Rhetorical questions, of course, but nonetheless very important. And if you do not know who Jon or Kate Gosselin are, what rock were you under and for how long? Luckily, I am obsessed enough with the family and show to offer a quick summary. Jon and Kate Gosselin were a married couple and became the parents of eight children (one set of twins and one set of sextuplets) through fertility treatments. After their short documentary based on their day to day tribulations on raising such a harrowing number of children aired, they were given their own television show on The Learning Channel (TLC). In the beginning, everything was peachy and wonderful as the audience was treated to fun-filled episodes of the picture-perfect family. Unfortunately, five seasons later, the family is now facing their own harsh reality which is far from their popular reality show.
First of all, I would like to point out that I was there from the beginning and that I did not crawl into the bandwagon when the whole hot mess occurred. Although I was not exactly in the operating room, holding Kate’s hand, telling her to push with all her godly-might, I was there on my living room couch watching the dynamics between the eight children and their two frazzled but loving parents. I was there when they drove to Disney World, when they went to the dentist, and when they started school. I agree that yes, these events may seem very ordinary and boring (I swear there’s one episode dedicated only to them watching a movie!) and the only thing really separating the Gosselin family with any other household is the sheer number of members. However, I guess the reason why I followed the show was because of the lethal combination of curiosity (how in the world does a family of ten work), loyalty (I can’t wait to see adorable little Aaden goes to the zoo) and yearning (I did not grow up with any siblings). Indeed, Jon and Kate Plus 8 is like a drug and I, like many other viewers, am a full-blown junkie.
But like with every drug, there comes the risk of substance abuse, and the American public is on the verge of overdosing. With the recent controversies, the family has gone through so much in such little time. It all started with Jon who was seen with other women and partying at inappropriate hours of the night. The tabloids went rabid with this news. Rumors viciously spread as Jon started to spend time with Deanna Hummel, a local elementary teacher and now Hailey Glassman (the daughter of the plastic surgeon who gave Kate her tummy-tuck). Accusations flew of Kate having an affair with her bodyguard Steve Neild (she began to travel quite a bit on book tours and stated that she needed the extra protection) and her seemingly money-grubbing attitude. Although the gossip was obviously detrimental to the family, the ratings soared as public tuned in to see the shattering of the all-American family. Eventually, Jon and Kate sat down and addressed the controversies in a politically ambiguous manner, which only left the public starving for more. Instead of listening to the protestors who advocated for cancelling the show, they kept trudging through turmoil until finally Jon and Kate filed for divorce on June 22, 2009.
It seemed as if the apocalypse had occurred on that day as I sat in denial at the news. It seemed as if my own family had been broken up and I could not help but feel sorry for the children who probably could not understand the life-changing decision or the festering surge of the paparazzi stalking them. The focus switched from the adorable children to the immature parents going through a hateful divorce and their own respective mid-life crises. Jon became a messy playboy who lives in Ed Hardy shirts and Kate became a rabid attention-seeker with a questionable hair-cut. It seems as if the parents decided to completely disregard their children’s feelings (although they say that they are both there for them no matter what) and trying way too hard to reinstate their lives and to show the watching audience that they are better now without the other.
It is a colossal train-wreck that we cannot take our eyes away from and it plays to our selfish and disturbing desire to see people fail. However, it takes two to tango—if Jon and Kate decided to stop the show, spend time with the children, and refrained from such publicity stunts, and then maybe things would stop escalating to such a level. Although I still guiltily watch the show on occasion, I would be more than happy to adopt all the children and shield them from their parents until they got their acts together. I hope that when they look back on their choices, that the children grow up to be good people without any weird or disturbing complexes. I think that all a good parent really wants for their children is to have them grow up happy. I think that it is about time for Jon and Kate to be good responsible people and really evaluate what they are doing to the children and if it all is really worth it.
So in the end, the question is Team Jon or Team Kate? I pick Team Cara, Mady, Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah, and Joel.