Tuesday, October 7

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Equals Abuse?

I was. . . am. . . used to be . . . .still are. . . (obviously so confused), a big Jon & Kate Plus 8 fan. I have quite religiously watched the show for the past 2 years, and seen their "specials" and checked them out on Oprah. I've watched them potty train, have meltdowns on planes, give time-outs by the dozens. I've watched Kate yell at Jon and most enjoyed that, although there are many times I would perhaps like to be married to Jon, just for a little while (he seems so damn helpful to me). Most Monday nights at 9 you will find me curled up on my couch with some salty crunchy snack watching a new episode on TLC. I always enjoyed peeking into their lives, and especially coveted Kate's great organizational skills. Lately though I am becoming disenchanted, and I think the love affair is ending.

There has been A LOT of hoopla lately regarding this show. There are many, many people who are starting to question the children's actual safety and if this many hours in front of the camera can be construed as abuse. Paul Petersen of some actors children's advocacy group is all involved now, as is supposedly Pennsylvania's Department of Children and Family Services. In the episode I watched last night they were having a 2-day photo shoot with Good Housekeeping. 2 days in 90 degree weather posing for a Thanksgiving November issue wearing sweaters and turtlenecks. And the kids were, well, kind of miserable. The older twins, Cara and Mady were especially upset, and barely smiled. I kept thinking, "wow, this does seem like a lot" and a small part of my brain kept thinking that maybe these opponents of the show have a point. Perhaps it is time to pull the plug.

When the show started I enjoyed it because it was interesting to see how a family managed with that many small children. Jon would go off to work and Kate would take care of the kids. You saw her doing a lot of cooking, a lot of laundry (although she always has had some help which I never begrudged because hell, the woman has 8 kids!), playing with the kids, taking them outside. But now it is different. Jon no longer has to go to work, I assume because they are now making like a gazillion dollars or so from the show. And the people who were around before, their friend Beth and Aunt Jodi and Kate's brother, they seem to be gone. The last few episodes have had things like Jon and Kate get their teeth whitened. Jon gets hair plugs. They go to Idaho. They go to Disneyworld. They go look at a GIANT house they might buy. They go to the beach and stay in a gorgeous location. I have not seen her cooking much lately, or cleaning, or going to the grocery store. Now it is no longer at all realistic. I've heard that there is now a chef, someone who grocery shops and someone who cleans the house. Kate works out 1 hour and 15 minutes every morning on her treadmill. Hmmmm, I suppose I could do that too - if I got up at 5 am every day. But then I think, maybe she does get up to work out at 5 am. I don't know. It is just a t.v. show, there is a lot we don't see. But we sure do see a lot . . . and maybe that is becoming the problem.


Missy said...

I have noticed too that most of it seems trips and outings and special episodes on weird things lately instead of regular life but I guess with their money now they can afford all these things but I liked some of the day to day stuff too. The girls were definitely grouchy at the photo shoot - then there was the casting thing for them - I missed the teeth whitening and plugs. I'd like to see Kate sit down and do some projects with the kids like she used to and maybe start working on some skills with them (do they seem a bit behind for 4 yr olds?)

Kirsten said...

I honestly thought they were like 3, but I guess they could be a little behind being multiples. I don't know . . . maybe they are total chatterboxes to eachother when the damn cameras are off them!

Suzy said...

Having multiples myself (albeit just two - sometimes feeling like 3) I tuned in immediately when I first heard of the show. But after watching a few episodes and seeing how relatively "easy" she made it seem with 8 kids, I knew then there must have been A LOT of editing! I mean 8 kids and they all eat their meals nicely, go to bed quietly and walk to time outs like good little soldiers....something had to be misrepresented. I gave up.

PS. another friend of mine thinks there is at least one or perhaps two of the siblings that may have "syndromes" of some sort.

But as I've said before - I'm not a doctor.

Karen said...

I am a bit torn on this issues. I have been a fan for a while now, too. I don't necessarily disagree with what you (and many others) are saying, but I wonder if we are speculating a bit too much. I just don't know.

Agreed, they must have tons of money now. They are doing endorsements for Sears or Lowes or something I noticed, and that must be paying a fortune. Obviously their lives have changed tremendously since we first "met" them.

One of the twins (I think it's Mady) seems like a GIANT brat to me and clearly needs more discipline. I think they let her get away with too much back-talk and lack of respect.. I guess that is the 2nd grade teacher in me coming out but I would NOT tolerate that and they seem to chalk it up to, "Oh, poor Mady... she's emotional..."

I will stay tuned (for now)! But I am watching closely.

Karen said...

ooh... check this out...


Anonymous said...

Ok, I was just talking about this very same thing with my sister yesterday and here's my beef.

I don't personally see their show as "reality" anymore. I personally would rather my kids watch their show than much of what's on TV these days. However, real life it is not.
I think it used to be in earlier seasons but when they just seemed to be going here, there and everywhere, and I think the network pays fot that stuff to make good television.

Sure shopping for "organizational" furniture may be necessary, but I've really gotten tired of seeing them get handed everyting as if every family with 8 children do. Definitely not reality when the husband who used to go to work now doesn't have to, and don't we all want that in some way, but it was more realistic when they were in the thick of it handling their everyday lives together, changing diapers, giveing baths, letting us know how much they ate for breakfast, but not being handed new bicycles, pianos, trips EVERYWHERE, hiring housekeepers, nanny's, help with laundry and the such.

I don't think the kids are actually being "abused" but they are difinitely showing signs that maybe it's time to cut it off, go back to what used to be normal and update us now and then.

Kirsten said...

I love it, the most comments a post has ever gotten, and it is all about Jon & Kate! Ha ha. Wow, Suzy, you're not a fan of Kate???? No way! I didn't know that. ha ha I can't believe it! My other friend with twins is also NOT a fan (she would probably have commented but I suspect that she never reads my blog!). And I have checked out that truthbreedshatred website Karen mentioned. It is written by Aunt Jodi's sister, and it is actually what started me on all this hoopala in the first place. Oh well, I guess I have enough to worry about in my own life that I will either watch, or maybe I won't. It depends what else is on and how tired I am! Thanks for all the comments ladies. As you know, I LOVE comments!

Erin said...

All I really know of Jon and Kate plus 8 is that the Monkey Munch recipe they make is outstanding. I think I'll ask my sister in law, mother of 4...3 under 2, to make some again, cause, you know, She's got time on her hands ;) Anyway, she's who I watch for Jon and Kate plus 8 type entertainment. Although I did watch GMA this morning and they were on, she's got a new book out now, so she does all that she does and finds time to write a book? I need to get off my ass adn accomplish somthing! Anyway I found her a bit sharp and celebrity snobbish. But Damn that Monkey Munch is good!