I’ve never seen an episode of Jon & Kate Plus Eight, but I’m completely obsessed with the tabloid coverage of their divorce and custody proceedings.
I’ve only caught a couple short stretches of the show in the past while channel-surfing. It always struck me as creepy and uncomfortable, and as much as I like to see how things go in other people’s lives, J&K+8 always made me feel weird and gross. I also get an odd, off-putting feeling from 17 18 19??? Kids and Counting, thought that may be due to the strange religious vibe that surrounds the existence of that huge family.
Two things come to mind:
1) I hope those children come out of this mess better than I expect. I can see the heartbreaking future episode of Intervention now, and it’s not cool at all. For once, “won’t someone please think of the children” doesn’t strike me as a joke.
2) The power of editing — it’s seems now that the show was purposely edited to portray Jon as a henpecked husband and Kate as a crazy, controlling harridan. I have to wonder what landed in the digital editing trash bin, and I also have to wonder what kind of discussions and decisions took place to produce the show that people saw vs. the behaviour that is being relentlessly covered in the entertainment press. I can see a media literacy professor developing a lecture around the fallout from this show. Do they still teach media literacy anywhere?
There was a good episode of Babylon 5 (of all shows) that dealt with the power editors have over the portrayal of people and events, which worked quite well within the context of that show.
What we’re seeing is the story of a family at their worst. That’s familiar to many of us.
I’ve never been divorced but I have been through an ugly custody battle, and what strikes me is how similar their legal and personal actions against one another mirror what I and others have reportedly experienced. Part of me wonders if there’s just some universal script for how these things go in the U.S. today (everyone vying for the martyr’s position) and everyone falls in line behaving badly until they can brush themselves off and get their shit together enough to actually think of their kids.
That said, I think there is ample room for feminist analysis in the media coverage of this divorce — what auditorydamage is getting at above.
Me too, to the T. Why am I so damn interested?!!
hen the show started airing fotage of Kate physically and verbally abusing Jon I thought it as time to pull the plug then. Domestic Violence is never ok but it was a token part of every show after a while. Then there was this onderful episode for a trip to Hershey Park, Jon’s birthday and the couple’s marriage vow renewal I though things were looking up for the couple. That Kate was no longer abusive and Jon was no longer detached. Then BAM the gossip sites lit up with rumors of cheating and divorce from both sides and I completely gave up on the show and started hoping that those children come out of this with a MUCH healthier view of love, marriage and family then what they have been exposed to thus far and that Jon and Kate DO divorce and be happy with other people because they are absolutel miserable together.
I’ve thought for a while that the show’s name should be “Kate, plus the adult child and eight kids!”
I’ve watched a few episodes and had to stop quickly. I thought Kate was controlling. But with eight kids, (mostly toddlers) a house to run and manage I realized Kate couldn’t deviate from control because then everything would turn to hell in a hand basket quickly. Jon always struck me as being passive. He either reacted to Kate or he didn’t.
Then when they separated and Jon was known for hanging around with twenty-two year olds and Kate was known for filing for divorce it was clear that Jon was a playboy. Kate had to stay home with the kids. She couldn’t just drop everything and come back when she wanted. Jon lost my respect then. He further lost my respect with this latest “TLC can’t film because they’ve caught onto my bad behavior and are unwilling to pay me for it anymore” shenanigans.
I think I’m so fascinated because I think interesting things happen when people are put to the test. We can all sit here and say, “Oh I would never do that.” But would you really? How are any of us different than Jon and Kate really? So, I think that’s why I can’t pull my eyes away.
I’ve only caught a few minutes of the show—read some articles.
I always feel really sad—like, Kate and Jon probably should have never married—they should have never put 6 embryos into Kate. And then Jon turns around and says, “Oh it was out of my control.” How stupid. At least Kate takes responsiblity for her actions. Somewhat anyway.
I always feel really sad—like, Kate and Jon probably should have never married—they should have never put 6 embryos into Kate.
They used fertility drugs, not in vitro.
I’ve only seen a few episodes of Jon and Kate + 8 and I saw a multiple birth special they were on that aired long before they had a show. That special colored my view of them. On the special, I felt sorry for Kate. Jon would roll his eyes and he never seemed like he cared or wanted to help take care of the children he helped create. I can see how dealing with that attitude can make someone really angry and resentful especially when you desperately need a partner that helps. Plus, in the few episodes I saw, Kate looked like an incredibly stressed out person. She wasn’t nagging or controlling or abusive so I automatically thought the people criticizing Kate were sexist. But if she verbally and physically abused him on the show, that IS horrible!
I still think Jon is a world class asshole. That hasn’t changed since I first saw him on the special.
I read a really interesting article, I don’t remember where, about Jon and Kate and fertility drugs. How fertility drugs like the one they used are cheaper on the front end, and so people are under pressure to choose that rather than in vitro because they can’t really afford in vitro, but in vitro is much more controlled and fertility drugs have a high risk of multiples which can ulitmately cost more in the long run, both for the family and in term of health care since high order muliple pregnancies are so complicated and because it’s rare to get 6 completely healthy kids.
Also, I always like Jon and Kate plus 8 because I thought they were real, regular people in an extreme situation. They weren’t religious fanatics or quiverfuls, they were just people like you and me who ended up sort of intentionally and sort of accidentally with 8 kids. And, as Kate says in the intro to the show, it didn’t necessarily bring out the best in them, but they were trying and muddling through. That and the kids are freakin adorable.
I have watched a lot of the show and followed the saga of their divorce, etc. I know—I need a life! But with that said, I have always been fascinated how they organize their lives and money! Money—that says so much about this couple. They continue to live Not in the real world. Even before all the divorce drama, I thought they were pretentious to think that the public would really believe they “struggled” when it was pretty evident they were making alot of money from the show, books, etc. Much more $$ than the typical family and certainly not like most families with multiples of multiples! Even their homes prior to this new mansion were above average in size. The kids have always dressed alike and they take all these great trips, both locallay and faraway. When was the last time your average family of ten was able to take several trips and vacations to NYC, the beach in a stand- alone home?
Now, of course, we are hearing about the money Jon took from their joint account and his accusation that Kate has HER OWN money from book sales, etc. Please, give me a break. Not either one of them seems too smart at this point, though I am more of a Kate fan than Jon. I could go on, but I won’t!!
Emily, the thing is, the drugs shouldn’t lead to high-order multiples if the doctors are doing their due diligence and the couple is taking the doctor’s advice. I conceived in similar circumstances, and my ovulation was monitored to the second. We knew exactly how many follicles I had and thus exactly what the risk any given month was for multiples.
Kate admits to Jon NOT wanting more children after the twins but Kate decided to undergo fertility treatment again. It was either divorce her, remain celibate untl she changed her mind or carry on and hope against hope she didnt get pregnant. WHen they discovered six embryos he was terrified because Kate said from the jump she’s not getting an abortion. Jon’s an asshole and is not very helpful with the children but I’m nt shocked about his lack of enthusiam for children he didn’t want t create in the first place.
I wanted to like Kate and at first I did and just labeled Jon an asshole for not wanting what Kate wanted UNTIL the abuse was shown. She slapped him around on camera in public places a LOT. She called him names in front of the children and yelled and scream at times when I just couldn’t understand why she blew a fuse. I want to chalk those times up to editing.
I really really hope they split and find happiness with other people and raise their children OUT of the lime light (though I think the twins have a future with Disney- they have so much personality).
I have seen the show several times although i do not watch it regularly. Kate is a typical feminist character, whether she is that way in real life or not. It appears that Kate is constantly giving John orders and he follows them as though he is in fact her ninth child. When Kate and John are presented sitting in a couch commenting on the taping we are viewing she also does all the talking and John either utters sounds (not words) of agreement, or just looks to her for responses like a lost dog. The show may be entertaining America, yet it is a perfect presentation of what not to do as it appears their marriage is suffering and i am sure the tabloids are in no way of help.
Kate is a typical feminist character, whether she is that way in real life or not.
Azala: It was either divorce her, remain celibate untl she changed her mind or carry on and hope against hope she didnt get pregnant.
Divorce would have been a better choice, wouldn’t it? Or celibacy? I gather she wasn’t prepared to be intimate UNLESS there was a chance of her conceiving, so there was no chance of sex-while-wear-condom. His whole attitude seems to shriek, “YOU wanted them … you take care of them.”
She seems to be both controlling and abusive, and he seems to be passive at least, if not passive-aggressive. What a mess. Those poor kids.
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