I have an admission to make, and I feel dirty about it. Not one to follow television controversies (though not averse to lending an ear when someone else speaks of one), I am, for better or worse, riveted by the current "Jon & Kate Plus 8" train wreck, as their marriage very publicly melts down.
I watched last night's premiere episode of the 5th season, and yes, I'll probably DVR the upcoming episodes – because I'll forget to sit down and watch it every Monday evening. Will they split? Will they seek help and stay together? If they split, how will they handle custody of eight children? How will Kate keep things together by herself (oh, let's be serious … she has help behind the scenes), and how long will the program continue if there's no more Jon?
Burning questions, all. I also, and I hate to admit this, wouldn't mind seeing a knock down, drag out fight between Jon and Kate… Actually, I think they could use a fight. The cold manner in which they acted last evening was so tense I could feel it from my sofa. It would probably do them good to haul off and slap each other, or at least to hurl a few invectives. At least that would be more emotion than they showed in last night's episode. Coldness isn't the best sign in a marriage.
Something's so strange about the age we live in. It's weird, and feels somewhat wrong, judging other people we don't actually know. Reality TV brings other people's lives, and miseries – into our living rooms. Or family rooms, in our case. We learn intimate secrets about strangers, giving us the weird feeling we do know them when we really don't.
Then again, they set themselves up for this. They're the ones who put themselves out there. When they signed a contract giving permission for film crews to come into their house, when producers threw wads of cash in their direction and gave them huge, brand new homes, cars, trips, etc., they had to expect public fascination with their every move.
Granted, the paparazzi following them like buzzing flies - which they showed for the first time last night - is obviously overwhelming. I couldn't handle that myself, and I'm sure they didn't realize beforehand how much of that came with the territory. They probably didn't think farther than "this money will help us pay the bills and put all eight kids through college …"
Still, they signed on for all of it, for better or worse.
I'm trying to imagine how my family would fare as reality show fodder. We occasionally have exciting moments: like when two of the kids get into a fight over something understood only by them, someone can't find something and is ripping the house apart looking, or we're headed somewhere and realize – ten or fifteen miles later – we forgot to bring something crucial, and have to turn around and go back home. At that point someone invariably comments, "That was a short trip!" To which the rest of us are obliged to reply with a strained, "ha ha."
Otherwise things are pretty quiet around our house. At least lately. A couple years ago? Entirely different story. They missed out. Suckers!
Now they'd find us gardening, house cleaning, internet surfing, doing homework papers and projects, or playing video games. In the evenings they'd get a lot of footage of Paul and I sleeping on the sofas, usually in front of a TV program that was really interesting, until we lost consciousness.
What passes for excitement in our house is watching me fall asleep, invariably dropping a book on my face or a highlighter onto my clothes (watching it seep into the fabric would be fascinating), or seeing Paul changing water or otherwise troubleshooting his fish tank. Then there's the occasional grunt or snort out of one of us as we're blissfully napping.
I know! Riveting! Maybe we should call TLC after all, eh? I wonder if they'd give us a new house …