Why Haven't They Realized It Yet?

There's no doubt that the Gosselin children are being exploited, if you take dictionary.com's definition, which says exploited means "to make use of selfishly or unethically."

But what about Jon and Kate themselves?

I don't think Jon and Kate realize they are exploiting themselves. If the Gosselins could stop, for one moment, to think about their own roles in this one-time-realistic-and-enjoyable, now grating-and-screechy show, they might not be as thrilled to continue the farce. Jon and Kate's entire life is being played out, not only on air, but also behind the scenes via the Internet, on multiple sites that blog about the horrific, car-wreck-scene millions of viewers witness each day. (Yes, that's each day. The Gosselins are on several times a day, usually.) I don't think this couple realizes that they have not only sold out their kids, which is painfully obvious, but sold out themselves, which might not, at first glance, be quite as clear.

The Gosselins' first special was poignant. You felt how difficult things were. Kate certainly wasn't made up or glamorous in the least. In fact, she was just the opposite, with her unstyled hair and t-shirts and sweat pants.

The second hour-long episode made me squirm. I thought taking advantage of a free tummy tuck -- though yes, her "belly-after-babies" was pretty unattractive -- was strange. I thought it was strange that a viewer offered it and strange that Kate accepted it and especially strange that she also wanted her breasts done and lived with the plastic surgeon and his wife for a week afterwards.

Like other "real families on tv," Kate and Jon have gradually given up more of themselves to make more money. I know people here have unfavorably compared them to the Roloffs of LPBW, but there isn't much difference, except in LPBW, the kids are older and can say no, to some degree. Like LPBW, J&K Plus 8 has gradually turned into a show that focuses not specifically on the unusual challenges of the particular family, but the perks they receive for allowing people to film them. Both families have enjoyed expensive, atypical vacations, extensive home renovations and now, apparently, J&K are rumored to be receiving a new home.

But all this comes at such a high cost that, to most people, the whole thing seems unfathomable. One difference is that the Roloffs seem to take a more relaxed attitude toward their filming. Jon and Kate appear to have completely forgotten their life from even three quarters of a year ago, when, at the time, they still seemed to be striving for a balance between filming, Jon's job, the twins' schooling, and raising their family.

I expect that with forty or fifty episodes in a "season," TLC will experience quicker viewer burnout than if the new episodes are spaced out a little. Yes, right now ratings are unbelievably strong. But how many times can we watch the same family doing the same things over and over? And I'm sure TLC loves the controversy -- none of these anti-Gosselin sites are going to stop the madness or, of course, the check-cashing of millions of dollars in ad revenue. In time, viewers will turn to the next big family or idea de jour and all of the money TLC has dumped into the Jon-and-Kate machine will disappear. Of course, then this family will more than likely be shattered, if not physically, then emotionally.

Yet Jon and Kate don't appear to register any of this.

I imagine all the money, especially after what appears to be some amount of deprivation in their earlier married years, must feel heady. And yes, I'm sure some people are jealous of their current, very cushy lifestyle. But at what sacrifice? I would guess that between product endorsements, speaking engagements, and actual shows, the Gosselins are raking in over a million a year, maybe more. It must be exciting to suddenly see your bank account grow plump, to be able to buy, for the first time in your lives, anything you want. It must be wild to live with nearly twenty-four-hour-a-day help, getting ready to build a free house that most Americans can never imagine living in, and the satisfaction that you've achieved a level of "income" you could never have imagined just a few years earlier.

But Jon and Kate can't see what they've sold away -- not only all of their privacy, but also all of their dignity, all of their future, for the sake of money -- money that, if they are not extremely careful, will disappear a whole lot more quickly than they know right now. I just have to wonder why they don't see what they've sold and how much more that's going to cost them in the end. Jon and Kate, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Truly.

Submitted for publication via email from Anonymous.

Give J&K Enough Rope, They'll Hang Themselves

I think this post explains the title of this blog entry with no additional commentary from GWoP required.

"This show has become a sham and I'm not talkin' pillows."

People in this area aren't happy the Gosselins are moving. We're better than that. What's upsetting is that after all this time and all the people, businesses, and cash, we've given to help, they don't seem to be very thankful for how well they have it.

This is a family with eight children that has been on more vacations than most families take their entire lives. This is a family of ten that has never had to fret about feeding, diapering, clothing, or caring for the kids. This is a family with eight kids that has never had to say "no" to an event or trip because of a sick child (think about that). There has always been an answer to their needs and it's not God. It's the community. It's the generosity of the state of Pennsylvania.

How many dollars did this family of eight pay for the births of their children? Nothing. Despite the extended hospitalization and NICU care. Nothing. I have premature singletons and we almost went broke paying the hospital bills. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have been paid. But, where is the appreciation for what they have? When they got a remodel, Kate started complaining before the paint was dry. After a weekend of intense labor and freebies, this is the woman who couldn't see that a community did everything in their power to help. She saw "a disaster." After getting a new house, she could only see the rooms she didn't have.

Despite the fact that most families who choose to have eight children live in much less, Kate doesn't enjoy; she covets. She wanted an easy life and she found a way to get it. Unfortunately, it was on the backs of her eight children. Remember, this isn't a family who took a bit of time off to deal with the multiples and then went back to work. Jon was raised in a well-off home and never knew what it meant to need. Kate was raised in a family that treated her like the beautiful queen bee. I've heard some people speculate about her childhood. They want to know if they had needs met by the church because she's a PK. The answer is not as often as needed to create these sort of entitlement issues. Her dad and mom are better people than to demand things they want over what they need. Her parents are decent people. This can be seen in her brother Kevin and the other siblings.

People are tired. We've been lied to so many times that it's hard not to be cynical. Kate said Jon would go back to work as soon as they got past this tough phase of infancy. The state gave him a job. He quit. He doesn't work in any capacity other than doing appearances. Some might say that was just a change of plans... but, it's hard to believe they ever meant to work after the way things have gone down. Kate said she'd give all the freebies to charity. Well, that never happened. Everything went to consignment or was sold in yard sales. She was even approached by a friend who knew a person in our community who was about to have twins and wasn't financially able to pull everything together. Did Kate donate to the cause or pass along the generosity? Nope.

Kate and Jon said in an early interview that they wouldn't make a spectacle of the children. HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAAHA!! Yeah. I'll let you all finish laughing. They played the poor card and then had the audacity to tell people that used items weren't what they had in mind. So much for beggars not being choosers, eh'? Jon and Kate promised to give back to the community at some point... what they didn't mention was that they'd hang a speaking fee on it. There are other, smaller fibs, but it's trivial stuff.

The point is: E-town, Wyomissing, and surrounding areas are exhausted by the Gosselins. We got burned. Everyone here feels for the families that did nothing more than help them in their time of greatest need and expected nothing but love in return. Did Kate ever offer Jodi a spa day? Did she ever take her to lunch or give her a nice gift on mother's day for making her life easier? Nope. So... some of you will have to excuse us locals. To quote Kate: "We're exhausted." What's sad is that there are people who will think twice the next time a family with multiples needs help.

Blog entry created from a comment posted by BK.