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Jon and Kate Make Me Sad

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Diane Mizota: "Jon & Kate Plus 8" premiered its fifth season last night to what will undoubtedly be monster ratings for TLC, but all I could think was ... AWKWARD!

jon and kte gosselin premiere

You'd have to be living under a rock to not see the marital strife engulfing this couple, and it was clear and present in the episode. Kudos to TLC for showing the truthful discomfort of a TV couple at a crossroads, but in the end, their pain was obvious and honest, and it just made me feel sad.

I watched the episode with my husband, and I found that when it was over, I just wanted to hug my son a little tighter and work harder on my own marriage. I felt guilty for being a welcome voyeur into this family's pain. I also managed to make a mental note to avoid being on a reality TV show at any cost. (With the possible exception of "Rock of Love" ... I kid!)

It's easy to demonize Kate -- after all, that's what sells tabloids -- but anyone who's been in a marriage stressed to its limit recognizes the uncertainty and pain looming divorce can bring. We don't all have reality TV shows and book tours in addition to raising multiple kids stressing our marriages, but for the moment, I felt compassion for Jon and Kate.

The masterminds at TLC did the impossible: humanizing the tabloid monster. Who knows if her tears were real, an onion could have been just slightly off-camera, but I actually felt bad for her, fame-whoring tendencies and all. Kate seems so alone. It seems like the TV crew has become her social circle; she tries to make them laugh, she confides in them, she references the show again and again.

She may get her own show, with her white teeth, her spray tan, her bodyguard, and her piles of money in her big house with all her kids -- and it may be a crazy life, but it seems like an empty life. A life I won't be watching.

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20 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ann May 26, 2009, 12:45 PM

You couldn’t have said this any better. This is exactly what I felt watching it.

Anonymous May 26, 2009, 12:55 PM

the parents of this show are now reaping what they have sown, more fame than they could imagine, numerous free items with product placement in the show, free trips to keep their show relevent on TLC, extensive media coverage, and tabloid headlines. I feel sorry for the eight children that had cameras shoved in their faces since birth

Belinda May 26, 2009, 1:11 PM

Well said. I feel sorry for their children who only want their mommy and daddy. I will not be watching this show. I think we should let TLC know how we feel. This family is more important than that show.

Jenny May 26, 2009, 1:11 PM

I don’t understand why they don’t stop the show and work on their marriage…oh yeah, greed. Too bad the kids have to pay the price when they have no say in it.

Lisa May 26, 2009, 1:18 PM

They are kidding themselves if they think that those kids could survive a divorce without any scars. If they truly have only their children in mind then they need to do whatever it takes to make that marriage work.

Deb May 26, 2009, 1:21 PM

I’m sorry, but I can’t believe Kate! If she wants it to work out so bad, why doesn’t she have Jon’s back? She acts like she is not at fault for anything! Jon was himself last night…she wasn’t. Seems like she was just trying to justify her behavior all night. Well, I really don’t want to watch anymore. I can’t watch one more episode with Kate acting like she’s such a saint in all this.

mommymichelle6 May 26, 2009, 1:29 PM

I think it is all sad and I agree on the points you’ve made.

I watched the show every so often, but I really don’t care to see this “drama” unfold. I wonder too if it is for “real” or if it’s just a big publicity stunt.

Having lived in the area where they make their living, I know the huge stigma that divorce carries socially. It’s a very conservative area. I guess for that reason, I wonder if it’s all “for real”.

Anonymous May 26, 2009, 2:07 PM

I watched the first show of the 5th season. The kids were adorable as usual and even Maddy seemed willing to help out. I would advise Kate to quit the show and really give the marriage a chance. I got the impression that Jon does not want to continue on with the show but Kate is not willing to give up the money and her “star” image. If that continues, it will not work. The show is not the same if we know that they are pretending.

MP May 26, 2009, 2:31 PM

Amen sister…I totally agree with your article. I feel really bad for the kids and shame on them for making their lives a reality show. These kids will be in therapy for years to come.

Renee May 26, 2009, 3:23 PM

Don’t people realize that it isn’t so easy to walk away from the show? They don’t have any other means of supporting their family. The show and the tours and such are their careers.

jenny May 26, 2009, 3:48 PM


Here is a thought, sell the 1.1 million dollar house and all the goodies and extras, buy something more modest, I agree their family is large but they don’t NEED a 1.1 million dollar house. They would have to be insane to not have some of the loot they are making in the bank. I’m sure that if they really wanted to Renee, they could get out of their show.


Renee May 26, 2009, 5:01 PM

I’m not saying they SHOULDN’T get out of the show. I’m saying that maybe when it is your whole life that it may not be as easy to walk away as it seems. We only know small parts of the overall pictures, you know?

Jenny May 26, 2009, 5:43 PM

I agree that they may be so caught up in it that it would be hard to walk away but they need to sit down and figure out their priorities. What is their top priority , their kids and their marriage or the show? I’m not convinced that the kids are the priority seeing as they have had a camera shoved in their face for their whole lives which seems quite like exploitation to me. Maybe that is why they don’t walk away because they care more about the attention and the lime light.


Leeza May 26, 2009, 7:42 PM

Add it up- $50,000.00 a show, Kate’s pricey fee for speaking engagements,book sales from Kate’s books,all the “freebies” that most people have to save and pay for, etc.That comes to millions of dollars at least. Kate is extremely cheap,most of that money is most likely invested and saved,with large dividends!The 1.1 million dollar house is an asset which can be sold at any time.If Jon and Kate divorce, they already have plenty of assets to divide,and each of them will be able to buy a beautiful house that each of them can have for raising their children in. Jon and Kate can even afford to buy a business (separately).Jon can even stay home and hire others to run his business. Kate likes to be in charge, so she can run her business, hands on.If they do divorce, they are still much better off financially than when they first got married, before fame and fortune.Those children will be happier when their parents are happier! Kids sense tension, and always blame themselves.Jon and Kate are miserable together. Divorce can be a new beginning, not just an end.It’s time for Kate and Jon to stop pretending for the cameras and start living a real and unrehearsed life, free of cameras and fame.They really don’t know what they are missing!

Jessi May 26, 2009, 9:02 PM

Hello… they are locked in contractually. That isn’t something you can just walk away from. Quit judging her for still being out there, work more on compassion.

Jenny May 26, 2009, 9:53 PM


Sorry but I find it quite difficult to be compassionate towards two people who are exploiting their children. They are making a profit off of other human beings who have absolutely no say in the matter.


Jen May 26, 2009, 10:01 PM

This is all a load of BS. Look at the ratings. This is publicity and nothing more.

GBW May 28, 2009, 5:05 PM

Whether it is publicity, acting or truly an OCD effected woman, it certainly was not entertaining. Compassion? Why? Does she really deserve that? I cannot believe that trash was aired. Cancel it and let them fight it out from the outside. Not on the TV set.

D.R. May 31, 2009, 10:27 AM

No matter what your stance is, the issue that deserves empathy is that a marriage and family are crumbling. Jon and Kate need to talk to each other honestly, try to reconnect, and care about each other. If they can do that, they have a good chance. If it means giving up the things that force them apart, then they need to do it to keep all of them as a family. “I” has no room for others.

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