Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jon and Kate plus 8 (and minus Jon)

by Shannon Mercer

To follow Gracie Remmington’s article posted yesterday I felt it appropriate to bring up another moderately intriguing television development: The Learning Channel’s cash-cow reality show “Jon and Kate plus 8”, a show that follows a family with two sets of multiples -- a pair of twins and one set of sextuplets -- has recently let go of part of its previously fruitful equation. The show experienced unprecedented levels of broadcasting tumult when Jon Gosselin, father, allegedly cheated on his wife (Kate) of ten years. Audiences have since been following the Gosselin couple through divorce proceedings, emotional upheaval and the all around unpleasant adjustment these 8 children have had to make.

After a painful few months of filming around the messy divorce, TLC has decided to put an end to ambiguity and to own up to their family’s new living arrangements. This next season will be titled, simply: “Kate plus 8” and will focus on Kate’s struggle as a single mother (“raising 5-year old sextuplets and 8-year old twins” ala CNN.com). The network also hints at the development of a special “Kate” project, shifting the emphasis off of the children and onto their mother and her new found fan base.

If you’ve never seen the show before it’d behoove you to know that the relationship dynamic between Jon and Kate was the centerpiece of every episode. While the projected arrangements are still unclear, CNN speculates that Jon will have a "reduced role” in the show, subtly changing gears on viewers and moving the focus off of the adulterous husband and back on to the adorable tots and their outspoken mother.

There are several reasons why I bring this all up:

- Under these new circumstances one finds a large opportunity to foster dialogue about the issues of living as a single mother.

- This potential could easily be wasted if this show’s producers choose to capitalize on the soap-opera set up that has miraculously fallen into their laps. This could easily morph into a tragedy that no television channel should be allowed to take advantage of.

- What about the kids? (This question is the prompt for a much longer post)

Hopefully TLC harkens back to its educational roots instead of sticking to its less-than-impressive recent repertoire, a list that includes: “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “What Not to Wear”. It may be in the better interest of this (highly unusual) family to be left alone but that is a judgment call that I am not qualified to make and the high-profile nature of this programming makes the opportunity to share in and learn from the Gosselins' life that much more tempting. There is a huge pool of emotionally invested individuals who have followed this show since its inception and if these new arrangements open the doors to talking about single parenting and relationship issues in households that would otherwise have shunned such conversation then we are better off for it! Maybe there is space for a few reality TV shows in modern educational programming.

2 Comments:

At October 1, 2009 at 5:22 PM , Anonymous constant gina said...

wow since Jon isnt having fun no one else is going to have fun...Kate Plus 8...I give it 2 seasons.

 
At November 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM , Blogger alex said...

Why would anybody say it that way, you can easily get your point across in a polite and courteous way. Lets all just get a long.
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alex
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