Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is TLC Exploiting the Disintegrating Jon & Kate Marriage for Ratings?

A couple with eight children is going through an incredibly emotionally wrenching time . . . and this difficult period is being crassly exploited by a national network for ratings. I speak, of course, about Jon and Kate Gosselin, of Jon & Kate Plus 8, the parents of twins and sextuplets who star in a TLC reality show about their lives. For the past several months, the Gosselins have been besieged by paparazzi and have denied reports of marital infidelities and rumors that they're living separate lives as they teeter on the brink of divorce.

After I watched the season premiere of the fifth season of their show last night -- which garnered 9.8 million viewers, a series' high -- I felt like I needed to take a shower. I was heartsick thinking of what those eight kids will think when they grow up and realize that their parents' marriage fell apart in front of a national television audience, never mind if it gets ugly with regards to child custody issues. The premiere felt incredibly manipulative as it pushed the couple way beyond their comfort zones because, as we need to keep remembering, the TLC folks are not on the Gosselins' side. They're on the side of ratings.

I muse about the sadness that is now Jon & Kate Plus 8 in this week's Pop Culture & Politics column on Mommy Track'd.

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